SportsEvents Magazine

AUG 2018

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August 2018 18 t GAME Plan equation, although success can be viewed from other vantage points as well. For instance, Hendrix noted that if a team wins the national championship in football year after year, sponsors want their name attached to that success. The opportunity is not nearly as attractive if a team loses. And, the importance of return on invest- ment cannot be understated, Hendrix added. "They are not necessarily looking at how much they are paying as a sponsor but they are trying to see how much their business receives for being a sponsor," he said. "At the end of the day, it's about how easy it is for them to market themselves, how easy it is for them to gain access to their audience and how easy it is for [the relationship] to flow on a two-way street." Current Sponsorship Trends In a recent ESP article on sponsorship trends, Jeffrey Moran, vice president of influencer engagement and marketing activation services for Pernod Ricard USA, cited the use of technology to cre- ate deeper relationships. "Looking ahead at how we utilize sponsorships, it's all about the integration of technology into the consumer experience and building a deeper relationship at the point of activa- tion," he said. "On the technology front, it's all about digital: check-in capabilities, engagements that are scalable and/or 'of- fline' as we seek to learn more about who we're engaging with, when and how." Todd agreed, noting that the Omaha Sports Commission is responding in kind. "We follow trends of society so technol- ogy, digital, branding all crosses over to our events," he said. "That is what our partners and sponsors want, and sports can offer it better than any other event." Hendrix pointed to social media as a fundamental component to any spon- sorship package or strategy, noting that sponsors expect their name to be visible before and after an event. "Previously, [participants and spectators] would show up to an event and find out who the spon- sors are," he said. "Now, there is social media, there's video, there is outreach on a daily basis … there are all these digital tools." Use of digital billboards are replacing traditional banners used for sponsorship advertising, Hendrix added. "You are starting to see multi-color, interactive video playing in the background on digital media boards, where multiple sponsors are starting to get more face time," he said. "Also, you are starting to see individual sponsorships around events for individual players. Anything is up for grabs – from the underwear someone is wearing to the billboards – everything has a cost that someone is willing to pay." Best Practices for Signing & Retaining Sponsors Relational creativity is critical to securing sponsorships in today's market, Todd said, emphasizing that in the world of sports commissions (especially the non-profit ones), "contracts and trends are showing that there is no blueprint, there is no black and white. Creativity and truly partnering with sponsors is more import- ant than ever. They don't want boring just like we don't want boring." Todd suggested that a cookie-cutter approach to securing sponsorships will not fly. Event planners must consider how to build and customize contract models to be as creative as sponsors or the right's holders want. "Thinking outside of the box is key, obviously," Todd said. "Old-school methods don't get it done anymore with certain sports and events. Our answer is simple: What do your valuable sponsors want to get out of their partnership? Make it happen." In terms of retaining sponsors, Hendrix noted that a post-event wrap-up is import- ant to ensure that those who invested in the event understand how they benefitted. "If they had desires to be X, Y and Z, make sure you prove to them that they got X, Y and Z, but more important, show them how you went above and beyond," he said. n A cross country event at Apalachee Regional Park in Tallahassee, Fla. The Players Championship in Vedra Beach, Fla. held in May.

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