Bendigo helps leading health care systems optimize their investment in sports and corporate partnerships.
Leading systems are deep into sports marketing and strategic collaborations for the same reason top consumer brands are: It delivers. Beyond the impressions, media value, engagement and “appointment viewing” - consumers trust the health care systems trusted by their favorite teams and brands - and that impacts affinity, consideration, and ultimately utilization.
We believe that health care providers are different than traditional sports advertisers or sponsors, they are true partners helping keep the team’s athletes, or their fans and community healthy. We help create partnerships that inspire the teams to speak with their fans, on their media platforms, in their voice, on behalf of our clients.
What We Do
Bendigo capabilities focus on the Convergence of Healthcare & Sports
Bendigo supports health care leaders with their Teams, Universities, Event, and Property partnerships. From negotiation to activation, we can help you build a game plan for sports supporting your brand’s Strategic Goals, Service Lines, Digital Programs, CRM & Fundraising. We bring perspective from both the sports and health care industries to help you optimize your investments.
With decades of experience navigating complex rules around the use of team marks, players, and venues, we provide a range of streamlined marketing services, driving the trust built within a team's fanbase, and transferring to your brand. Our range of services includes sports team media buying, creative services, digital, merchandising, event coordination, and CRM integration.
Teams and leagues are dedicating increasing resources to support causes that give back to their communities. Bendigo helps health care leaders connect those community goals with philanthropic and fundraising efforts for their own systems.
Each system has unique goals for their sports partnerships with unique return on investment/strategy objectives. There had been no tools for healthcare providers to specifically measure the effectiveness of sports investments, so Bendigo teamed up with Turnkey Intelligence, the sports industry’s top marketing/sponsorship research firm, and developed a proprietary research platform, STRATA, to monitor, evaluate ROI and measure brand lift of marketing partnerships between health care and sports.
Consolidating health care systems are creating new opportunities to leverage critical mass. Bendigo is helping our clients' supply chain leaders apply methodologies from Sports & Entertainment Properties - resulting in cost reduction, new revenues and marketing/philanthropic benefits, generating $millions in new benefits for their systems.
We build deep relationships with teams and leagues, inspiring teams to talk with their fans, on their media platforms, in their voice, on behalf of our clients.
Bendigo is proud to have supported the following leading healthcare institutions
"We made the right call trusting Bendigo with the critical task of leading the rebrand of Hackensack University Medical Center and its burgeoning Health Network. By 2011 we had already evolved from a respected community hospital into a world-class research and academic institution at the center of a new Health Network - but needed a new brand positioning to personify and amplify our accomplishments and trajectory. Bendigo moved their practice “in-house”, assembling and leading the strategic and creative teams and crystallizing the vision for the new identity, uniting our executive team, board members, physicians, outside agencies and business partners, delivering a bold and game-changing rebrand that put our organization on a path for unprecedented growth and brand leadership."
ROBERT C. GARRETT
Co-Chief Executive Officer
Hackensack Meridian Health Network
"In 2015, we asked Bendigo to take a fresh look at our marketing strategies, and help us build our organization’s brand through Sports Marketing and Corporate Partnerships. Jeff and his team delivered the strategy for our “Northwest Healthy” initiative, then built upon it through marketing and business alliances including the Seattle Sounders, Mariners and Coca-Cola, making a measurable impact that resonated with consumers, our partners, and our employees well beyond our traditional service areas. Bendigo also led our participation in the Seattle Seahawks 2017 “NFL Crucial Catch - Intercept Cancer” program as part of our strategic alliance with Virginia Mason, and continues to support our efforts by forging new innovative partnerships with great brands here in the Pacific Northwest."
THOMAS A. KRUSE
Senior VP / Chief Strategy Officer
CHI Franciscan Health
"The HackensackUMC Foundation had a vision to transform our fundraising partnership with the New York Giants, and we turned to Jeff and his team to help us bring it to life. Bendigo signed on as Agency of Record for the project and helped us create www.TackleKidsCancer.org, taking a leadership role with the many agencies, media partners, sponsors and partners who helped make the program a success. Bendigo was liaison between the Giants, HackensackUMC and the Foundation, and helped us create, launch and flawlessly roll-out the new cause marketing program in record time, on budget, and raising more than $1,000,000 for the campaign in our first four months. The program was built to last and will continue to generate needed funds for the Children’s Cancer Institute at HackensackUMC until we finally tackle kids’ cancer."
Former EVP & Chief Development Officer
Hackensack University Medical Center Foundation
Tackle Kids Cancer
Bendigo was named after the legendary Australian “Gold Rush” city, where the historic Bendigo Mining Company dug deep beneath the original strike to find gold hidden beneath the surface. Bendigo Agency was created to help its clients uncover and monetize their hidden assets.
Jeff Sofka, Founder & Principal
As Founder and Principal of Bendigo Co., Jeff Sofka has had the privilege of serving some of the world’s greatest companies, driving brand asset development, management and execution. Jeff has generated hundreds of $Millions in new revenue and share value as a Senior Marketing Executive for the following industry leading companies:
City of New York Marketing
Clear Channel Worldwide (Live Nation)
National Football League
Lord & Taylor
Sofka created Bendigo Co. to help organizations monetize their hidden and underutilized intellectual property assets.
Jeff enjoys spending time with his family and playing music with his 80s tribute band “Martha Quinn College.” He has created and produced many local music events including Ridgewood Unplugged, which have raised more than $75,000 for a range of charities.
Stacy Slade, VP Client Services
Stacy joined Bendigo to create our west coast office. She resides in Seattle focusing on work for CHI Franciscan Health and Cedars Sinai.
Stacy has worked in sports since 2000, most recently with Seattle Sounders FC of Major League Soccer in corporate partnerships. She excels at connecting local and national brands with best-in-class sports properties to elevate both through activation, exposure, and earned media. Stacy’s sports marketing experience includes work in Major League Soccer (Sounders FC and Columbus Crew), NCAA at the University of Washington Athletic Department and in the NBA with the Seattle Sonics.
When Stacy isn’t at a sporting event, she spends her time outdoors with her family or with her two Bernese Mountain Dogs, Tag and Chase. She shows, trains and breeds Bernese with having the success of owning the #1 Bernese Mountain Dog who won at the famous Westminster Kennel Club dog show at Madison Square Garden in New York in 2017.
Mike LaPorta, SVP Strategic Development
After honing his skills in experiential and digital marketing and brand partnerships at jobs both oversees and in NYC, Mike joined the Bendigo team in 2013, leading the charge as our clients expanded into a digital world. Mike LaPorta brings almost a decade of experiential marketing, paired with his natural high energy and “can do” outlook, he served as the lead for a number of our clients.
Prior to his time at Bendigo, Mike worked on LivingSocial’s “Experiences” team, after spending several years growing a small niche tourism concept into one of the leading youth tour operators in Europe.
Mike currently resides in Denver. When he isn’t blazing a trail in the mountains, he is overseeing development of our clients strategic relationships, including sports and entertainment sponsorships, facilities, innovative partnerships with consumer brands, and activation of these partnerships across traditional, digital, social media, and CRM integration.
Larry Pendergast, VP Innovation
Larry joins the Bendigo family, bringing with him over fifteen years of marketing and business development experience. He’s worked in collaboration and partnership with a diverse set of blue-chip companies including Amazon, American Express, National Geographic Magazine, Verizon and many more.
With an equal mix of left and right brain function, Larry brings to Bendigo an ideal blend of analytic and creative thinking. As Vice President of Business Development, Larry will be focused on developing Bendigo’s beverage, wellness, philanthropy and recycling programs.
Based in Ridgewood, NJ, Larry has struck an ideal balance of work, family and social life. When not working or spending time with his three children, Larry enjoys riding his motorcycle, entertaining audiences with his live musical performances (singing, strumming and grooving), DJing and baking bread.
Jeff Sofka joins Touch Point Media Podcast - Feb 6, 2019
Jeff Sofka joins the group at Touch Point Media (38:00) to share how health care systems can leverage sports partnerships to help with brand building and patient loyalty.
SHSMD 2018 - Seattle
At SHSMD Seattle, Bendigo joined CHI Franciscan and Seattle Sounders FC to present highlights from CHI Franciscan’s efforts to build service line volume and reputation through sports. Call to learn what we shared.
Annual Forum for Healthcare Strategists
At the 23rd Annual Forum for Healthcare Strategist in Salt Lake City, Bendigo joined colleagues from Hackensack Meridian Health and Emory Healthcare in a breakout session featuring case studies in leveraging sports partnerships to build fundraising and philanthropic programs. Call to learn about what we shared.
Bendigo in American Healthcare Leader
Bendigo saw the need for a research tool dedicated to the convergence of Sports and Healthcare, so they teamed up with Turnkey Intelligence, one of the sports industry's leading research organizations to develop, "Strata".
American Healthcare Leader, a print and digital publication for leading healthcare executives, recently ran a story on Bendigo's Strata Research platform.
Bendigo in Healthcare Strategy Alert
Bendigo had the pleasure of attending and being a product sponsor at the 2017 Healthcare Marketing and Physicians Strategy Summit, held in Austin, TX, this past May. Bendigo was not only the bag sponsor of the event, but was also asked to participate in the Forum's quarterly issue of their Healthcare Strategy Alert publication. Bendigo's CEO, Jeff Sofka, speaks to the best practices for hospitals navigating the world of sports partnerships.
Bendigo in Strategic Healthcare Marketing
Strategic Healthcare Marketing, an online and print news source for health care executives, recently featured Bendigo, CEO, Jeff Sofka, sharing how one hospital supported their community health programs through their fitness and wellness center.
New York Red Bulls Match Day
September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month and Tackle Kids Cancer partnered with the New York Red Bulls to take over the match versus Philadelphia Union on September 17, 2017. For the opening ceremony, 22 patients, their siblings and friends escorted the players onto the pitch while 3 giant gold "Tackle Kids Cancer" banners were held by patient's family members and Hackensack University Medical Center employees. Dr. Burt Appel from the children's hospital was also present to perform the opening coin toss. Throughout the match, there were gold goalie nets, gold cleats, and the players wore gold patches while stadium staff wore gold "Tackle Kids Cancer" shirts for Childhood Cancer.
Tackle Kids Cancer All Stars Event
In 2016, NY Giants QB Eli manning and Tackle Kids Cancer launched Eli's Challenge, an initiative in which Manning generously matches grassroots donations to TKC up to $100,000. Eli's Challenge energized the local community, motivating hundreds of groups to join the fight. With Manning's $100,000 match, more than $250,000 was raised to advance education, research and discovery in the search for a cure against this life-threatening disease. In 2017, Manning and Tackle Kids Cancer honored its outstanding community group partners at the TKC All Stars Awards Show. Bendigo led event production, and hundreds of TKC fundraisers joined host NBC4's Bruce Beck, Eli Manning, NY Giants Legend Shaun O'Hara, Knicks Legend John Starks, and New York Red Bulls Goalie Luis Robles to celebrate their work.
Eli Manning Co-Wins Prestigious Walter Payton Man of the Year Award
In 2016, Eli Manning became the first Giants player to be honored as the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year. He was co-awarded this honor alongside Arizona's Larry Fitzgerald. Eli's has been Tackle Kids Cancer's most valuable player form the creation of Eli's Challenge driving community support, to spending time with Hackensack Meridian Health's patients while they are in the hospital. His continued commitment helped raise over 5 million dollars for the organization.
Eli Manning Named Finalist for Walter Payton Award
On January 24th, Eli Manning was announced as a Walter Payton Man of the Year finalist during the AFC Championship game (32 rating). Eli’s involvement with the Tackle Kids Cancer program, was a key driving force for his nomination as a finalist. The announcement was re-broadcast during the NFC Championship game, exposing 99 million viewers to Tackle Kids Cancer over these two games alone. The announcement has since been picked up by the Associated Press, ESPN, NBC Sports, in additional to tens of millions of impressions on social media.
To view the full coverage-
Bendigo and Turnkey Intelligence Team Up to Create New Research Product
As the healthcare industry has been rapidly shifting marketing plans to focus on new media and larger partnerships, non-hospital focused partnerships, the existing tools to evaluate ROI and brand lift for hospitals have lacked up to date tools and metrics to calculate valuable information, like the “transfer of trust” from a pro sports team to a hospital in the mind of consumers.
Struggling to find a proper solution for our clients, we teamed up with Turnkey Intelligence, one of the industry leaders in sponsorship evaluation to develop create Bendigo Strata Powered by Turnkey Intelligence. Strata is a unique tool to evaluate hospital partnership deals. This tool will help hospitals as they emerge into the sports industry, allowing our clients, and other networks optimize and maximize the tangible and intangible assets obtained through these partnerships.
New York Giants, HackensackUMC Foundation Announce Partnership, Create Tackle Kids Cancer
The New York Giants are ready to tackle at all times, and so will the kids at the Joseph M. Sanzari building within HackensackUMC. The Giants have partnered with Tackle Kids Cancer to help raise money for pediatric cancer research.