HSBC to underwrite SPAC season
Classical shows get title sponsor
Saturday, January 16, 2010
By Tatiana Zarnowski (Contact)
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SARATOGA SPRINGS — For the first time ever, the Saratoga Performing Arts Center’s entire classical season will be named for a corporate sponsor.
HSBC Bank USA is the title sponsor for the summer season, and SPAC is the recipient of the global banking company’s largest arts sponsorship this year in the U.S.
Never mind that HSBC has no branches in Saratoga Springs — the closest location is at Target on Route 50 in Wilton. HSBC calls itself “the world’s local bank” and has more than 470 bank branches in the U.S., including over 370 in New York state.
The bank has offered to pay SPAC an undisclosed amount to have its name appear on all materials associated with the season. “The HSBC Classical Season at Saratoga Performing Arts Center” will bring artists to SPAC including the return of the Philadelphia Orchestra and the New York City Ballet.
“This sponsorship represents an opportunity for HSBC to expand its commitment to the Capital Region and to celebrate the classical season and artistic excellence of SPAC with our customers, employees and the rest of the community,” said Andrew Ireland, executive vice president and regional president for upstate retail banking.
The banking company approached SPAC about being a title sponsor, said Marcia White, SPAC president and executive director.
“I think they identified with us because they have a world-class identity and global vision,” she said.
SPAC officials are clearly thrilled about the sponsorship, especially as donors cut back on their support of the arts nationwide.
“People may feel that they’re not in a position to personally support the arts to the extent they want to,” White said.
HSBC asked SPAC not to divulge how much the bank is paying for the sponsorship. Overall, SPAC earned $561,000 from corporate sponsorships last year and aims to hit $625,000 this year.
A company that wants to sponsor one night pays $8,500, White said. “We have an array of different kinds of sponsorships,” she added.
Board chairman William Dake noted that SPAC is faring better than many arts organizations during the economic slump.
“It is the old story of people seeking association with success,” Dake said.
He said HSBC wanted to sponsor more arts events after being affiliated more prominently with sports.
“I think we offer both a strong image in the greater Capital District but also in the city [New York] as well.”
Corporate sponsors help cover the cost of classical performances, since ticket sales cover only half of the cost of bringing the acts to SPAC.
Dake said SPAC creates a world-class atmosphere that draws people to move their businesses here, retire here or have a summer home.
“The psychological impact of having a cultural center instead of a cultural wasteland has a tremendous amount to do with the success of the area,” he said.
Programming for the HSBC Classical Season at Saratoga Performing Arts Center will be announced in the coming weeks. Updates will be available at www.spac.org.