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A one-time incident or a sponsorship game changer?

by David Rachell
17 04 2013

If the Boston Marathon was a target for terrorists, that lone act could change the landscape of the event industry and greatly effect sponsorships associated with larger events. 


Professional sports have long put security measures in place to make it seem like those steps are enough to curtail violent acts at major sporting events.  And while this may be a one-time incident, security issues now facing larger events could put a big damper on how they’re run.


Consider all the large running events, major festivals, state fairs, semi-professional sporting events - the list of events that could be greatly impacted by this act is endless.  There’s really no way to effectively police all of these events and insure the safety of participants and guests.   And without that assurance, attendees, participants and event sponsors may depart for safer pastures.


I didn’t hear the name, but the John Hancock logo dangling from the smoke filled air isn’t what I would call a positive impression value.  An insurance company in the throws of a disaster doesn’t want to be considered the victim, rather the valiant hero helping people.  My spidey - PR radar tells me that a good PR team (that David D’Alessandro has put together there – read Brand Warfare) will react swiftly to leverage the disaster somehow.  The incident could actually prove to help John Hancock insurance agents a way to truly differentiate themselves.


So, the real issue may be cost.  It takes a lot of money to put on these large events.  Registration fees, sponsorship dollars, along with support from city and state services can help defray those costs, but when you have to add high level security to prevent future incidents – those costs almost prevent the event from happening again.    


What’s more – without showcases the high level security, the event may begin to erode its value to the city and sponsors if there’s no guarantee for safety of both participants and spectators.   The success of an event is based on its spectators and the participants – without both – there is no event.   So, without both feeling secure about their participation, it undermines the success of the event.


All this being said, our hearts go out to the victims and families of the Boston Marathon tragedy. 


What are your thoughts?

Categories:   General | industry happenings
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Destination DC's Partnership Summit Recap and Best Practices

by David Rachell
4 04 2013

Bruce Gudenberg, VP of Partnerships & Alliances, at Destination DC (Washington DC’s convention and visitors bureau) and his staff put on a half-day sponsorship seminar in D.C. last week.  There were 50 to 60 people in attendance at the event to learn about approaches to sponsorship – offering different perspectives from corporate affairs managers to regional rights holders to, well, me. 

I’ll offer information on my presentation, Sponsorship in a Lawless Landscape, in another blog. Today, I want to commend the insight that Bruce and his staff offer simply by creating a platform for groups in the region to come together and discuss the sponsorship industry.  While it sounds simple enough, it’s really quite ingenious of Destination DC on a number of levels.

By arming those individuals that produce local events and activities in the DC area with sponsorship insights, Destination DC is ensuring that the events that bring guests to the DC area have a better chance of remaining solvent.  The more people heading to DC, the greater the chance of capturing another head in another bed – which is good for Bruce and his staff who survive on the hotel tax.  So, while the purpose is very selfish – it’s one that EVERY city should embrace.  Events in the Washington DC area compete with activities in surrounding markets.  Destination DC provides the edge their event’s need to be more valuable for sponsors.

Their model also includes using staff to lure sponsors to the events – even developing relationships – solely to build a stronger event base while helping worthy organizations throughout the Washington DC area.  The model is noteworthy and should be duplicated.

I’ve worked with a number of CVB’s.  Some provide funding to local events directly through local taxes in order to help strong events remain available to local communities.  Others  offer support in the form of out-market advertising or in-kind hotel rooms for promotional use or to support the event itself.  This model, however, provides a method for all boats to rise – while providing a program that allows organizations to become better at sponsorship marketing.

As a marketing professional, or the executive director for a local CVB, wouldn’t it make sense to provide a sponsorship knowledge base for local events that surpasses surrounding communities? Would local events be more successful by being better organized and better  able to articulate their sponsorship opportunities in a meaningful way for companies?

Let us know if we can help your local CVB form a similar program to support local events in your area. Contact me at [email protected].

Categories:   General | industry happenings | Marketing | Sponsorship resources
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