Tournament Marketing...Greed is Good
was a young boy who decided one day to open a lemonade stand.
Like sot kids, he had h mother mix the leonade, he buil the stand,
bought out a chair pitcher, cups and l the equipment he'd need
to sell lemonade. When he made the sign, he wrote...
mother asked him, “ Junior, are your sure your want to sell lemonade
for that much? I
don’t think you’ll sell much at all.
boy replied, “But all I have to sell is one!”
Sponsorships can be very similar to selling lemonade.
You can either sell lots of minor sponsorships at reduced
rates and make a small amount of money, or go for a large group
or company that can spend significant money to become the Super
Sponsor. The Super
Sponsor can be the name sponsor, or one of several companies who
want particular attention paid to them by your golfers or the
you are currently filling your sponsorship sales of tee-signs,
pin-flags and the basics, it may be time to consider selling the
tournament to a Super Sponsor.
A Super Sponsor is a company or organization who would
be able to commit to and write a check for at least 50% of what
you currently make on your golf tournaments in sponsorships.
numbers work like this.
Typically, your expenses for a tournament should be no
more than one-third of your budget.
(If you are spending more than a third of your income on
expenses, you have to increase your fees or become a better negotiator.)
With that in mind, if your tournament currently clears
$10,000, a Super Sponsor is that company or group that for an
additional $5,000 net, or $7500 gross will want to have their
name as the Title Sponsor or co-sponsor of the event.
Signing one title sponsor grows your net from $10,000 to
$15,000, a huge increase for your charity.
the sponsor is the single most important task you have as a planner.
A key strategy in getting the support needed is selecting
the right Sponsorship Committee.
To make the $10,000
discussed above, you need to gross $15,000; if you have
5 members on the Sponsorship Committee, each member should be
able to generate $3000 in sponsorship sales.
That becomes your baseline budget and goal.
addition to the Sponsorship Committee, the high-priced sales should
be left to the Sponosrship Committee Chairman.
In sales, the ability of selling to the president is a
developed attribute, either by a salesperson with no reluctance
to call a top executive, or by a committee chair who is a top
way, the Committee chairman should approach the Super Sponsor
the way a high-ticket sale would be conducted in the corporate
that you have recruited a Sponsorship Committee and a chairman,
it’s time to design the Super Sponsor program.
For each level of pricing, your sponsors should receive
a corresponding amount of access to your golfers.
Some items might include a display booth at the tournament,
their name on arrival signs, a brief speech at the awards presentation,
a list of the golfers to receive thank-you cards, an invitation
for the following year and other items.
Be sure to add the “Super Sponsor” items and costs on a
clearly-written sponsorship agreement that the sponsoring company
good first step for a Super Sponsor effort, if you are running
a fund-raising tournament, is to check to see if you can qualify
as a 501 (c) 3 non-profit charity.
If you prefer, you might join forces with a national fund-raising
effort that already has exempt status to increase sponsorships
overall, save on sales taxes in many states and offer a tax-deduction
to your sponsors. Be
sure to check with an accountant for the tax rules in your state.
best part of a Super Sponsor sale is that many times, you can
double your money by asking two companies to share top billing
over the name of the tournament.
As long as the two companies are comparable in size and
non-competitive in the market, you can sometimes sell the name
sponsorship twice. A
regular stop on the southeast fundraising schedule is the Hyatt/
Delta Invitational in Greenville, and the Westin/ Valero Texas
Open in San Antonio.
Many times, a Super Sponsor will even ask you to book another
company as a co-sponsor and may have a contact at that company.
that you have a committee, a chairman and a sponsor program underway,
selling the Super Sponsor is easy, and you might organize it similar
to the parts of a golf swing:
The Grip, The Stance, The Swing and The Follow-through.
Grip: The Grip, as in golf, is the foundation for a good swing.
In sponsorship sales, this step is how you locate companies
or groups who can sponsor your event.
The best place to start is by asking your current sponsors
if they’d like to increase their sponsorship.
To find good sponsoring companies, you might ask the pro
at the golf course for a recommendation.
Try calling a local non-competitive charity to see who
they’ve had success with.
Also, a good source of area contacts is on www.bizjournals.com,
in the Book of Lists section, that lists the top companies, with
the name of their executives, in every industry in your market.
The Stance: The stance is
how you approach the sponsor.
It’s important to treat the meeting like your most important
client, because it is!
to set an in-person office appointment with the Sponsor. In all
likelihood, you won’t get through on the first try and you will
be intercepted by The Gatekeeper, whose job it is to prevent you
from getting through. Be
sure to get his or her name, and set a time when you might have
a call or personal appointment with the executive.
Sometimes they will ask for an introduction letter—be sure
to send that out immediately, and you’ll be far ahead of other
groups looking for support from this executive.
The Swing: This part
of the sale occurs when you actually speak with the executive
about sponsoring your event.
This part can be done over the phone, or ideally in person,
and rarely over e-mail or letters.
The Sponsor sales person should focus on the features and
benefits of sponsoring a tournament, and be sure to ask for a
The Follow-Through: Again,
as in golf, good follow-through is critical.
Make sure you deliver everything you promise to your
sponsors. From the
tee-signs, to presenting a check to a representative of the charity,
be sure to under-promise and over-deliver value to your sponsors.
You want other companies to vie for the Super Sponsorship
and for your current sponsor to value their sponsorship and return
for a multi-year commitment.
the Super Sponsor is very similar to any high-ticket, relationship-building
sale. For the Super
Sponsor, you’re asking for a major financial and corporate commitment,
ideally one that benefits both the sponsor and your charity. Adding
a Super Sponsor sales program might be the next step to taking
your tournament to the next level.
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