Magazine article Parks & Recreation

Corporate Sponsorships Are Very Special Events

Magazine article Parks & Recreation

Corporate Sponsorships Are Very Special Events

Article excerpt

The popularity of televised sporting events has made everyone aware of the investments that corporations will make to promote their products to the public. The Federal Express Orange Bowl, Nike Golf Tour and Virginia Slims Women's Tennis Tour are only a few examples of corporate sponsor support.

However, event sponsorship is not limited to sporting events. Ben and Jerry's Newport Folk Festival, the Budweiser Rock Concert Series and the Continental Winterfest Boat Parade don't have the appeal of large television audiences, yet these companies have successfully associated their names with nationally or regionally popular events.

Events of any size can attract corporate sponsor support. Today, many park and recreation agencies have recognized the value of corporate sponsors in funding local programs such as the Nations Bank Starlight Musicals in FortLauderdale, Florida, or the Daily Herald Hole-In-One contest in Schaumburg, Illinois. Understanding the value that potential sponsors are seeking is an important first step in developing their support. The degree to which the sponsor's needs are met will determine the amount of financial support they contribute to the event. View sponsors as your customers and design a proposal that will meet their needs and appeal to their marketing goals.

Why Companies Sponsor Events

Events provide sponsors an opportunity to increase public awareness of their image, service or product in a method that differs from the more conventional television, radio and print advertising. The public's positive awareness of a product or service can be enhanced when it is associated with a successful event This is particularly evident in local community events, where sponsors benefit by showing support for their community; or in targeted events, such as Earth Day, where the sponsor can connect their image with a specific cause.

Event sponsorship greatly increases marketing opportunities, because events bring out very specific target markets that are not as easily identified in a mass market approach. Senior golf tournaments and college spring break games are examples of specific target marketing through events. Groups in specific demographic groups, with specific interests are readily available and on site. Smaller companies who often do not have the budget for traditional media advertising can benefit from an event's television, radio and newspaper exposure. As the main or title sponsors, companies are identified in all event-related media campaigns.

Sponsors can also use concert tickets and hospitality tents to entertain key clients or corporate executives. This is particularly important to the corporation's advertising and sales departments.

Creative merchandising techniques are almost endless when integrated with the marketing of an event or the event itself. On-site product sales and sampling of new products during the event can enhance revenue and create excitement for newly introduced products.

Pre-event promotions on retail packaging, in store displays or coupon giveaways are common methods to increase retail sales at a locations other than the event site. Event producers should consider these options from the potential sponsor's point of view. Making suggestions to promote retail sales will indicate an understanding of what the potential sponsor hopes to accomplish.

Design Events to Create Sponsorship

The number of sponsors that can be used to support an event is directly related to the number of sponsorship opportunities that are designed into the event. For example, rather than limiting a sponsor to a single game, Major League Baseball will use different sponsors for the pre and post game shows, the seventh inning stretch, home run awards, and retain the title sponsor for the actual baseball game.

Event and festival producers should have the same concept in mind during their planning process. Every opportunity to include sponsors should be considered. …

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