After two World Series trips, the Kansas City Royals cost too much for Hy-Vee.
The Iowa-based grocery chain has ended its 15-year marketing partnership after weeks of negotiations failed to find a deal it could afford. It means the grocer will no longer sell Royals tickets.
Royals spokesman Toby Cook said the team was grateful for Hy-Vee’s partnership and appreciated its support over the years. He had no new sponsorship announcement.
The grocery made clear that price was the obstacle.
“While we are disappointed to end our long-standing relationship, we couldn’t justify spending the amount that was being asked without out it impacting our customers in the long run,” a statement from the company said. “We have to be fiscally responsible when evaluating our sponsorships and this offer simply didn’t fit that criteria.”
Since 2009, Hy-Vee has had a marketing deal with the Kansas City Chiefs, which it has extended through 2023. It had supplanted Price Chopper, which became the grocery sponsor for Sporting KC in 2014.
Hy-Vee’s marketing partnership with the Royals began in 2001, and the team proceeded to lose 100 or more games in four of the next six seasons. Hy-Vee, of course, was still there when the team played in the 2014 World Series and won the 2015 fall classic.
The partnership has meant Hy-Vee produced commercials, hosted events for baseball fans and advertised with in-stadium and outdoor signs and in-store promotions.
Hy-Vee is an employee-owned chain of more than 240 supermarkets located throughout the Midwestern United States in Iowa, Illinois, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, South Dakota and Wisconsin.
The largest Hy-Vee stores are full-service supermarkets with bakeries, delicatessens, floral departments, dine-in and carryout food service, wine and spirits, pharmacies, HealthMarkets (natural and organic products) and coffee kiosks (Caribou Coffee and Starbucks). Hy-Vee has also added fuel stations with convenience stores, fitness centers, and full service restaurants to some of its properties. Hy-Vee has a rewards program called Fuel Saver + Perks, which gives customers a discount on gas for buying special items each week in their ad.
Hy-Vee was founded in 1930 by Charles Hyde and David Vredenburg in Beaconsfield, Iowa, in a small brick building known as the Beaconsfield Supply Store, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Hy-Vee’s longtime advertising slogan, “Where there’s a helpful smile in every aisle,” was adopted for the chain’s first television commercial in 1963. The slogan became a jingle in the 1990s with music by Annie Meacham and James Poulsen.
Hy-Vee’s largest store opened March 10, 2015, in Bloomington, Illinois, with 108,000 square feet (10,000 m2) of retail space