The FUTURES Golf Tour Case Study: Sponsorship Sales and Eduselling

Elizabeth Jowdy
Mark McDonald

As the number of sport leagues and events continues to increase, so does the amount of sponsorship dollars required for each to survive. Sport properties/organizers are not only charged with producing unique products for consumers, they must offer unique marketing platforms that attract corporate sponsors. Although sponsorship spending in North America has steadily risen, from $5.9 billion in 1997 to $9.5 billion in 2001 (International Events Group Sponsorship Report 2001), corporations increasingly command managers to thoroughly justify sponsorship investments, due to a struggling economy and tight marketing budgets. Subsequently, the competition for retaining and securing sponsors among sport properties has intensified. No matter its type or size, each sport property competes for the same pool of sponsorship dollars. Even for well-established properties, it is common for a key partner to change marketing directions and discontinue sponsorship. For example, Daytona International Speedway and Haas-Carter Motorsports are currently scrambling to find a new corporate partner after the Kmart Corporation, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, pulled its sponsorship of the Daytona 500 and its two-car race team (King, 2002). Major leagues and large events, such as the National Basketball Association (NBA), the National Football League (NFL) and the Olympics, regularly compete against minor and less established properties in sponsorship negotiations. While minor leagues and small-scale events generally compete on the same level in terms of retaining sponsors, they experience greater difficulties with securing new sponsors, given the lack of exposure and awareness of these properties. In order to successfully compete for sponsorships, new and minor leagues and small scale events must focus sales strategies on building relationships and educating corporate partners on product/sponsorship attributes through the “eduselling?process (Sutton, Lachowetz & Clark, 2000).