Opportunity to Sponsor Accomplishments

After reading about Dallas Braden’s perfect game, which was also the 2nd no-hitter in Major League Baseball this year, I realized that this type of accomplishment could easily be associated with a sponsor in a positive way for the sponsor, the sport and the player involved. Think about it for a moment – we already have presenting/naming sponsors for several major awards (NBA MVP presented by Kia, the Rolaids Relief Man of the Year, etc.), but there are so many great individual accomplishments beyond awards that brands would benefit from associating with. Here are a few quick examples that I thought of:

  • Baseball:  No-hitters, hitting for the cycle, triple plays
  • Basketball:  Triple-doubles, 40/50 point games
  • Hockey:  Hat tricks
  • Football:  Kickoff return TDs, 200 yards rushing/receiving, perfect passer rating

I think my baseball examples probably work the best for this idea. I know some people may feel that this tarnishes the purity of the game, but sponsors have been such a present part of the game for so long now, I believe that argument has lost it’s merit. Take Braden’s performance yesterday – how damaging would it be for the media broadcast to congratulate Braden on behalf of a premium brand like Lexus. Then in his next game, Lexus could present him with a brand new car to congratulate him for his “perfection”, an idea that Lexus would happily associate with their brand. Or at the end of the season, there could be a special event or ceremony hosted by Lexus to recognize all players that achieved the accomplishment. The sponsorship would be at a league level, and trickle down to all the teams. Since these events are rare, I’m sure other elements could be incorporated to provide more value in both directions.

So what do you think of my idea?

5 thoughts on “Opportunity to Sponsor Accomplishments

  • May 10, 2010 at 11:38 am
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    Russell,

    I think of it as a great way to link an athlete´s achievement with a brand´s attribute (p.e excellence, performance, reliability) and could probably picture it better as a season-long ranking or category with periodical recognition.

    I´m not that sure on game´s recognition, since achievments of this kind usually imply being game´s MVP, the Top Play or other mention already sponsored (leading to a somewhat award cannibalization). Additional commercial impact might overwhelm the viewer and provoke the opposite reaction on the sponsor´s behalf -in my opinion much targeted already-.

    Despite this specification, I do agree there are plenty or opportunities for a sponsor to associate with a game, team or community through one or many of its core values, as you pointed out.

    Jorge.-
    http://hoopsandrhymes.blogspot.com/

  • May 10, 2010 at 1:40 pm
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    The potential problem I see is that there is no guarantee these events will happen. Unlike an MVP award which is guaranteed to be awarded each season, a perfect game may happen once every few seasons. That being said, the sponsorship could be structured on a per-accomplishment basis, so Lexus donates a car and spend X amount of money each perfect game. Interesting idea!

  • May 11, 2010 at 9:34 am
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    Yes, it’s nice for a brand to be associated with someone’s great accomplishment, but when you only have a finite amount of resources and can’t predict the outcomes, it becomes difficult. You can limit your impact with insurance policies that cover special promotions, but they can be expensive and limiting as well.

    Let’s take your example of someone throwing a perfect game. You get an insurance policy that covers the first perfect game thrown in a one-year period. You have to limit that policy’s pay-out to say, the first perfect game thrown on the season, because if you go beyond that, the policy becomes much more costly. So then what happens if someone throws a perfect game the next week? And the next? The sponsor has egg on their face because either A) they have to come out of their pocket for another prize (money they may have earmarked for something else), or B) takes a media hit for not delivering on their promotion (which would be perfectly legitimate, but not necessarily seen that way). I know that this will likely never happen, but it can. And therein lies the problem…it’s too hard to predict these instances.

    Plus, good luck with starting at a league level and pushing it down to the teams – that’ll float over like a fart in church when a Lexus is given to a player in a non-league-driven event (i.e. All Star Game) and the team’s sponsor is Chevy.

  • May 11, 2010 at 9:40 am
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    JW – love your comments! Thank you so much for sharing them. I agree that there are a lot of details for something like this that I didn’t even try to work out. I was just trying to identify a potential opportunity. Before it could become a reality, all of those details (pricing, terms, insurance, fulfillment, etc) would need to be thoroughly reviewed.

    My suggestion for starting at a league level is based on the idea that there’s a higher likelihood of the events occurring. A single team trying to use a potential no-hitter as an inventory item would be a really tough sell, but at a league level, it is more likely to occur, and could have more value to the brand. Of course, as you’ve pointed out, this has its own complications in how the deal affects existing relationships with team-level partners.

    Thanks again JW!

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