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Brewers, Northwestern Mutual partnership expands with jersey patch, cancer initiative

The Northwestern Mutual patches as they'll appear on Brewers jerseys going forward.
Brett Krzykowski
The Northwestern Mutual patches as they'll appear on Brewers jerseys going forward.

At a press conference around (and on top of) the home-team dugout, leadership from the Milwaukee Brewers and Northwestern Mutual announced a deepening of the organizations’ partnership, most visibly represented by the team’s first-ever jersey patch.

The sartorial addition appears on the right sleeve of all five uniform sets, with two variations based on whether the team’s wearing light or dark jerseys. The new look will debut tonight, when the Brewers host the Washington Nationals.

Brewers president of business operations Rick Schlesinger led off the press conference, noting, “We wanted an iconic brand associated with our brand. We wanted a hometown organization that cares about the community. We wanted someone best in class in their industry, someone who cares for their employees. Northwestern Mutual checked all the boxes.

“It took a lot of work to come together and an extraordinary effort from both organizations. This may be known as a jersey-patch sponsorship, but it’s a lot more.”

Along those lines, Northwestern Mutual is now the team’s official financial planning partner, dialing up the association the organizations have built over their seven-year relationship. Of course, Northwestern Mutual’s ties to Milwaukee go back exponentially further than that, having moved its operations to the city in 1859.

Much more recently, the company has made several visible commitments, none bigger than the 32-story tower that opened in 2017. In February of this year, Northwestern Mutual unveiled plans to further enhance the area via a $500 million project that will overhaul the company’s North Office Building at 818 E. Mason St.

“We’ve been working on this for quite some time, and I can’t tell you how excited I am to be here today, right in the middle of the playoff stretch run,” Northwestern Mutual CEO John Schlifske said at the press conference. “We’ve been in Milwaukee for 150 years. We love Milwaukee. We’re all in on Milwaukee. We’re committed in terms of physical presence. We know for Milwaukee to be a place people want to live and work, they also need to want to play there.”

Both Schlifske and Schlesinger noted the work that went into expanding the partnership — so much so that Schlesinger singled out Brewers equipment manager Jason Shawger for sticking around late last night to apply the patches in time for Friday’s game once the go-ahead was given.

Friday’s announcement also included a philanthropic element via Northwestern Mutual’s standing relationship with Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation, which has raised money to fight childhood cancer for more than two decades.

Northwestern Mutual Foundation president Steve Radke was on hand to announce the most immediate representation of that facet of the partnership: an in-game experience that will allow fans to raise money for childhood cancer research.

The Lemon Top Challenge will invite fans at American Family Field to snap a photo while balancing a lemon on their head, and post the photo to social media using #LemonTopChallenge while talking @alexslemonade and @northwesternmutual. For every photo posted, the company will donate $10 (up to $500,000 total) to ALSF. Radke also noted that people at home are welcome to participate as well, with their efforts counting toward the overall donation.

In addition, the organizations announced that their fundraising will extend to the 2024 season, when the Brewers will donate $1 from every ticket sold for a to-be-determined home series. They’ll also have a season-long in-game donation delivering up to $25,000 to ALSF, as well as additional programs to raise money and awareness that’ll be announced at a later date.