Event Marketing: Repackaging pro sports

Michael Lang is president of Lang & Associates, a Toronto-based international event marketing agency with offices in Vancouver, Montreal and Atlanta.Kirsten Armitage is an account executive with Lang & Associates, and co-ordinator for the Event Marketing column. Contributions, ideas, media releases...

Michael Lang is president of Lang & Associates, a Toronto-based international event marketing agency with offices in Vancouver, Montreal and Atlanta.

Kirsten Armitage is an account executive with Lang & Associates, and co-ordinator for the Event Marketing column. Contributions, ideas, media releases and feedback should be directed to Kirsten at (416) 229-0060 or fax (416) 229-1210.

For decades, corporations have used their sponsorship of major professional sports leagues to conduct marketing programs that reach the emotional psyche of their consumers.

Yet, have these companies fully captured the entire marketing value that the pro sport has to offer?

To benefit from the full value of a pro sports league, sponsors would have to spend a small fortune.

Only when a corporation has secured the sponsorship rights of the league, its member teams and its players (via the players’ union) can it realize the entire marketing value of the pro sport.

Currently, none of the major professional sports leagues offer an all-encompassing sponsorship package that includes league, team and player rights.

Lack of organization, on behalf of the leagues, is not the reason such a sponsorship package is not available – it’s a case of money.

The leagues (and their member teams) and the players’ unions are not about to forego their anticipated personal revenues to provide corporations with an all-encompassing sponsorship package, because such a package would likely result in less revenue for each of the separate entities.

If such a sponsorship repackaging of pro sports were to occur, the marketing opportunities available to corporations would be endless.

Think of the programs that could be developed if sports sponsors could combine the popularity of the separate entities.

The league, teams and players are all important parts of pro sports, and each have their own value, but it cannot be compared with the sum of the parts.

Only when all three entities are used in conjunction can the true value of a pro sport be realized.

The first major professional sports league to solve this ultimate of sports sponsorship issues will not only have the admiration of the event marketing industry, but will be rewarded with national corporations bidding for the right to be sponsors.

Sponsorship opportunity

1995 World Film Festival

The Montreal World Film Festival is considered to be one of Canada’s most important cultural events, and its reputation is firmly established worldwide.

In 1994, close to 300,000 viewers attended more than 650 screenings of 400 films representing more than 60 countries.

Next year marks the Cinema Centennial, and to celebrate, 10 outside screenings will be featured on a closed portion of Ste-Catherine Street from Aug. 25 to Sept. 3.

Festival sponsors include Air Canada and Rothmans.

For sponsorship information, contact Marc Trudeau at (514) 933-9699.