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125-year-old company has strong ties to regional, international pro sports

Sports fans attend local events like the Dow Tennis Classic, Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational, and Great Lakes Loons and Saginaw Spirit games to see professional athletes in action and to enjoy a fun atmosphere.

Midland-based materials science company Dow Inc., meanwhile, which marks 125 years this year, has its own many reasons for sponsoring these events across the Great Lakes Bay Region as well as professional auto racing around the world.

In a recent interview with the Daily News, Dow Chairman and CEO Jim Fitterling noted that company founder Herbert Henry Dow established a precedent for Dow to sponsor sports endeavors.


“Before there were the Dow GLBI and the Tennis Classic, there was the Dow Chargers softball team, there was a (Dow) company basketball team that predated the existence of the ABA (American Basketball Association),” Fitterling said. “So, yeah, I don’t think he would be surprised about any of (Dow’s current involvement in pro sports). I think he’d be happy that we’re using those platforms to get the company name out and to attract attention .”

Locally, Dow, which employs almost 36,000 people in 31 countries and produced sales of about $55 billion last year, is involved in pro sporting events throughout the year.

Naming rights to two stadiums in the region

The company owns the naming rights to The Dow Event Center in Saginaw, which for 20 years has been home to the Ontario Hockey League’s Saginaw Spirit hockey franchise, whose season runs from mid-October to mid-April.

Right around the time that the Spirit’s season wraps up, the Great Lakes Loons, the High-A minor league partner of the Los Angeles Dodgers, begin their Midwest League season at Dow Diamond, which runs through mid-September. Dow has held the naming rights to Dow Diamond since 2007, when the stadium was completed and the Loons played their first game.

Heather Gallegos, Dow’s community relations director for the Great Lakes Bay Region, said the success of organizations like the Spirit and the Loons is important to Dow and its efforts to attract good employees.

“Dow is proud to be a part of the Great Lakes Bay Region community; it’s been our home for 125 years and it’s where many of our colleagues work and live,” Gallegos said in an emailed reply to the Daily News. “That’s why we support both venues and have formed strong partnerships with the Great Lakes Loons and the Saginaw Spirit organizations — all are important to the long-term success of the region. They provide spaces for the community to gather and engage with one another. And they help attract and retain top talent by bringing world-class sports and events to the area for all to enjoy.”

Title sponsorships of major women’s golf and tennis tournaments

In the middle of the Loons’ season, the annual Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational, a $2.5 million Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) Tour team event, comes to the Midland Country Club during the second week of July.

Dow and the LPGA are in the third year of a five-year contract for Dow to be the title sponsor of the tournament, which has drawn more than 60,000 spectators in its first two years and will be televised live all four days of the competition this year.

Chris Chandler, director of Dow sports marketing and executive director of the Dow GLBI, explained that the annual event is about much more than golf and competition. It’s also about making a positive impact on the region and on charities and promoting inclusion, equity and sustainability, among other things.

“The Dow GLBI demonstrates Dow’s commitment to building an inclusive and sustainable community in the GLBR (the four-county Great Lakes Bay Region), as well as amplifies our brand ambition, and allows us to closer connect with customers, suppliers, partners and employees ,” Chandler said in an emailed reply to the Daily News.

Chandler said the Dow GLBI has so far donated more than $1 million to non-profits in the region, and last year the event brought $12.7 million into the regional economy and drew more than 1,200 volunteers.

In terms of inclusion, Chandler noted that the Dow GLBI hosts an annual forum called SOAR (Success, Opportunity, Acceleration, Resilience).

“It’s designed to create a safe space to have a courageous conversation on inclusion, diversity and equity and identify actions we can all take to drive positive change. We invite community partners, customers and suppliers to join us,” Chandler said.

And concerning environmental sustainability, the Dow GLBI in 2019 became the GEO-certified event on the LPGA Tour and earned the certification again in 2021.

“The Scotland-based GEO Foundation offers golf’s most comprehensive and widely regarded sustainability distinction,” Chandler said.

Finally, in the first week of November, female tennis pros from around the world converge on the Greater Midland Tennis Center for the Dow Tennis Classic, which awards over $100,000 in prize money, draws more than 15,000 fans each year and is heading into its 34th year.

Originally sponsored by Dow Corning for many years, the tournament changed names after Dow acquired Dow Corning a few years ago.

“Like the Dow GLBI, the real purpose and pride of the Dow Tennis Classic for Dow is the community impact,” Chandler said. “In the (34) years since the event’s founding, it has grown to be a huge part of the Midland community calendar. It supports a wide variety of educational outreach opportunities through internships and conversations about inclusion and diversity, STEM and the power of sport as the players visit local schools and connect with 4,000 students during the tournament.”

The Dow Tennis Classic is also an important venue for Dow customers and employees as well as a showcase for Dow’s sports technology, Chandler explained.

“The Dow Tennis Classic also serves as a way for Dow to provide value to both customers and employees through hospitality and engagement. It’s also an opportunity to showcase our solutions for sport, from tennis balls to court technology to stadium lighting, in a real- world environment,” Chandler said.

racing partnerships

In addition to its four regional sports sponsorships, Dow since 2021 has partnered with Jaguar TCS Racing in Formula E (electric cars) racing.

“Together with Jaguar TCS Racing, Dow is aiming to advance Dow’s ambition: sustainability through vehicle electrification and awareness and education initiatives in major cities around the world, inclusion through the global circuit footprint and elevation of women and BIPOC in STEM fields and racing, innovation through collaboration with Jaguar TCS Racing’s engineers and partners and customer centricity through engagement at race events and beyond,” Chandler said.

“The partnership is also helping forge new and strategic relationships with companies across the electric and hybrid-vehicle space,” he added.

And on the NASCAR circuit, Dow since 2014 has been an official partner of Richard Childress Racing and its No. 3 Chevrolet driven by Austin Dillon.

“This partnership is a two-way track, acting as a vehicle for collaborative innovation that not only helps advance the performance of the No.3 Chevrolet, but also Dow’s real-world, hands-on expertise in creating materials for the fast-paced and rapidly changing mobility industry through our MobilityScience platform,” Chandler said. “It also, like our partnership with Jaguar TCS Racing, helps us connect with our customers in the mobility space in an extremely relevant and exciting environment.”

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