Seneca Gaming Corp. on Thursday announced a plan to spend $3 million over a year marketing Buffalo’s attractions.
The agreement with Visit Buffalo Niagara aims to fulfill the terms of a 2006 agreement between the City of Buffalo and the casino corporation. That agreement called for the corporation to spend at least $1.7 million on promoting Buffalo attractions in other markets and to certify that spending with the Common Council.
The marketing program announced Thursday includes print, television, radio and digital advertising in Ontario, Pennsylvania and Ohio. Among the targeted markets are Toronto, Cleveland and Pittsburgh.
Seneca Nation President Barry E. Snyder Sr. said the Senecas have a deep connection to the land where the Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino was built, referring to it as their “homeland.”
“Tourism is a central building block for a new Buffalo, and we want everyone to know what we already know,” Snyder said. “Buffalo is a great place to be.”
At the announcement in front of Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino, which opened last year in the Cobblestone District, Mayor Byron W. Brown said he was proud of his relationship with the Seneca Nation.
“We should all be proud of what we’ve accomplished here today,” Brown said.
The new funding from the casino corporation will significantly increase the marketing efforts of Visit Buffalo Niagara, said Patrick J. Kaler, president and CEO of the tourism promotion organization. Its existing advertising budget is between $750,000 and $1 million, Kaler said.
The agreement calls for TV ads featuring the Seneca Nation’s three casinos – the Seneca Niagara Casino & Hotel in Niagara Falls, the Seneca Allegany Casino & Hotel in Salamanca, and the Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino in Buffalo – as well as footage of Western New York attractions such as Niagara Falls and downtown Buffalo. Branded messaging by Visit Buffalo Niagara also will appear in the ads, Kaler said.
The value of the TV ads to the tourism organization is $1.2 million, he said.
The casino corporation will also advertise in newspapers in Ontario, as well as in New York, Pennsylvania and Ohio, of which Visit Buffalo Niagara will get 50 percent of the space, for a value of $825,000.
Meanwhile, other advertising will not include references to the casino, such as $75,000 for video ads in hotel rooms and on websites. Visit Buffalo Niagara will also have 100 percent of the ad and editorial content space in magazine ads, which include publications aimed at affluent readers in key markets, as well as space in Seneca Today, a magazine owned by the Seneca Nation, for a total value of $444,000.
The agreement also calls for inclusion of Visit Buffalo Niagara ads in the casino corporation’s emails, weekly posts on the corporation’s Facebook page and on the Buffalo Creek casino’s mobile application.
Visit Buffalo Niagara will design the advertisements, which will market attractions other than the casino, Kaler said. The Buffalo News in March reported on the 2006 agreement between the city and the corporation, and found that the corporation had fulfilled some hiring goals and capital investments, while other provisions, including certain infrastructure improvements and marketing commitments, had not been fulfilled.