Softball making pitch to sponsors

With women's softball due to become a full medal event at the 1996 Summer Olympics - and with the Canadian team having won a berth in Atlanta - Softball Canada is starting to look for additional sponsors.Michael Coleman, high performance business...

With women’s softball due to become a full medal event at the 1996 Summer Olympics – and with the Canadian team having won a berth in Atlanta – Softball Canada is starting to look for additional sponsors.

Michael Coleman, high performance business manager for Softball Canada, says his organization wants ‘cash’ sponsors for its teams, events and programs.

Supply goods

Coleman says Easton, Rawlings and Spalding already supply, respectively, bats, uniforms and balls to his organization.

He says Spalding is also a Softball Canada cash sponsor, as is the Royal Bank, which funds a grassroots softball program.

Until now, he says, Softball Canada – the sport’s national body – has not done a lot of marketing, but federal cutbacks have impelled it to seek new sources of revenue.

‘Low-to-medium-level’

Coleman says Softball Canada’s immediate goal is to form sponsor partnerships that have ‘low- to medium-level costs.’

He says there is no point in asking for large sums up front until Softball Canada shows what it can do.

Also, Coleman says – and much like pro sports teams – Softball Canada has identified two or three players on the women’s team who are comfortable dealing with the public and the media.

Coleman did not say who the players were.

Last month in St. John’s, Nfld., Canada’s women’s team placed fourth in the World Softball Championships.

The four other countries that finished in the top five – the u.s., China, Australia and Taiwan – are also going to Atlanta.

Only eight teams altogether will qualify for the Summer Games.

Next year, the women’s softball team will face stiff competition – and provide national and international exposure for sponsors – at the Pan American Games in Argentina, the Canada Cup and an international invitational event in b.c.