Last Summer at the Stick Promises to be Memorable

April 7th, 2014

stick logo 2014 aaa.psdSan Francisco Recreation and Parks, the owner/operator of Candlestick Park, is planning a diverse series of events for the final months of the historic stadium this summer, with proceeds being devoted to SF youth sports and the renovation of sports facilities at the Gilman Playground in the nearby Bayview district. BSS is providing partner development support, with Comcast Sports Net and NBC Bay Area signing on as initial media partners and more to follow soon.

Event highlights include:

  • US Men’s World Cup team soccer match vs. Azerbaijan (May 27)
  • Women’s pro soccer match featuring Bay Area Breeze (June 2)
  • Mexican club soccer match (teams) (July 6)
  • Joe Montana vs Dan Marino – NFL alumni flag football game (July13)
  • Youth sports camps and flag football tournament
  • Giants/49ers community open house (July 27)
  • Major closing concert (date TBD)
  • Auction/yard sale (Sept)

Following closure of the ‘Stick this summer, Lennar, the developer of the site and a valued supporting partner for the event series, will assume responsibility and plan for demolition or deconstruction of the stadium, to take place in 2015.

We are currently seeking partners to help underwrite the events and to fund the Gilman Playground and San Francisco Recreation and Parks Youth Scholarships. Opportunities range from lead sponsorship of the entire event series to targeted donations for Gilman. Please review our presentation or summary for more information, and contact us if your company is interested in participating.

New Naming Rights Deals Show Promise: Part 2

December 9th, 2013
Photo Credit: Brant Ward/The Chronicle

Photo Credit: Brant Ward/The Chronicle

As mentioned in this blog on Friday, two major naming rights deals were announced last week in the Bay Area that could pave the way for similar deals. While both involved recently renovated civic properties whose naming sponsorships will provide much-needed funding, the deals were quite different.

On Friday, we reviewed City National’s renaming of the San Jose Civic, and how the deal may portend success for the eventual renaming of San Francisco’s Masonic Auditorium and other older urban venues undergoing renovation. Today we explore Kabam’s 15-year, $18 million naming rights deal with the University of California to name their football field Kabam Field at California Memorial Stadium.

The Kabam deal is most interesting for the fact that it names a subset of the stadium (the field) and basically asks people to flip the field name with the stadium name. Referring to it as such may occur on occasion at Cal, given the generosity of the sponsorship and the fact that so many Kabam execs and staff have Cal ties, but it won’t be referred to as “Kabam” by the average game attendee. It will likely be referenced most often on TV broadcasts, particularly on the Pac 12 Network. This exposure would appear to be the most valuable visibility feature of the sponsorship.

However, this deal is about more than the commercial naming of the field. As a Cal alum, Kabam’s CEO, Kevin Chou, wanted to make a financial commitment to the university and had great support from the numerous Cal grads on his team. That makes this a creative form of “strategic philanthropy,” providing a win for all involved. In addition to the naming deal, Kabam committed incremental funding for a scholarship program that ties back to other education-supporting elements of the arrangement.

The implications of this for other properties relate primarily to the elevation of a secondary position to that of a lead level sponsorship. It would have been politically difficult, if not impossible, to change the name of the stadium itself, especially given Cal and Berkeley’s socially progressive environment. In fact, the field re-name would likely have been passionately resisted had it gone to a traditional major corporate buyer – or to a target such as a financial institution or petroleum company. Instead, the administration took the path of least resistance and arranged a deal with an alum-led innocuous tech company with a clever name (inspired by the old Batman TV show).

For other venues that have long-established names, the deal offers a precedent for treating a high value secondary sponsor as a virtual naming partner. This will come in handy when the name of a sponsored venue is either too valuable to its constituents to change, or so locked into its stakeholders’ consciousness that no amount of money will get people to use the new name.

Such will be the case with the Santa Clara Convention Center, which we are representing for major corporate sponsorship. Changing the name of a convention center would be difficult given the range of corporate events that are held at such a facility day in and day out, and the value of having “Santa Clara” attached to the building is highly valuable to local government and businesses. It’s much more desirable to retain the municipal name but attach a strong second tier position. Hence, the highest level sponsorship at the venue will be a “presenting” level, which may be positioned as the “Santa Clara Convention Center Powered by Company.” The marketing of this name and the benefits package that comes with the deal will then be where the value has to add up for the sponsor. We see the SCCC deal as being another game changer that will serve to move the needle further on naming of existing venues. More on the SCCC opportunity soon – stay tuned!

New Naming Rights Deals Show Promise: Part 1

December 6th, 2013
Photo Credit: Vicki Thompson

Photo Credit: Vicki Thompson

Two new major naming rights deals were announced this week here in the Bay Area, each of which could create a ripple effect of other deals here and elsewhere. Each involved a financially challenged civic property whose naming sponsorships provide much-needed funding following major renovations of the venues. However, each deal was quite different in its scope, inspiration and visibility.

The two deals to which I am referring are:

  • City National Bank’s naming of the old San Jose Auditorium – now the City National Civic. The deal was announced this week in San Jose with a value of $1.2 million (gross) over a five year term.
  • Kabam’s naming of the football field at Cal’s Memorial Stadium – now Kabam Field at California Memorial Stadium, announced yesterday by Cal and Kabam execs. The terms of the deal are $18 million over 15 years, plus additional scholarship funding.

The impact of these deals should be very positive for other public or semi-public venues with naming or other major sponsorship opportunities available including the Masonic Nob Hill Auditorium in San Francisco, a jewel of a building that provides a high value naming platform; and a presenting level sponsorship position for the Santa Clara Convention Center, which happens to be a block from the 49ers new Levi’s Stadium. We’ll have more on each of these platforms later.

Taking it one deal at a time, the City National deal was very interesting for these reasons:

  • It follows another naming deal City National did in SoCal in 2011, the City National Grove of Anaheim. Evidently they saw good results from the first naming and know how to use such a sponsorship to generate a return.
  • The Civic (as most people will likely refer to it) has been renovated, so the company is not just attaching its name to an old building but an upgraded one that is poised for a solid run of more and better events.
  • The building is older and the events it hosts are an eclectic mix of concerts, family shows and private events, so it attracts a diverse array of audiences.
  • The location and connection to City government are of value to City National – having a named venue in such a strategically important spot carries high value for a financial services firm that is trying to stand out and compete with bigger companies in the space.

This deal portends well for the Masonic opportunity given some similarities and some differences that favor San Francisco’s historic Nob Hill theater. Live Nation now operates the theater and is undertaking significant renovations to modernize the building. This is the natural time to market a naming position and to make such a name change, as it is more likely to be accepted by the public and to be of greater value to the investing company.

Part 2 on Monday will explore the Cal Kabam deal and support the concept of how a second tier sponsorship can be positioned as the equivalent of a venue naming deal – if handled correctly and thoughtfully by all involved.

Announcing New BSS Corporate Consulting Packages

December 4th, 2013

We are now offering a new way for active corporate sponsors and companies considering new sponsorship actions to benefit from our 20+ years of major league sponsorship and strategic partnership experience, in time for 2014 sponsorship and budget planning. If your company has funds available for 2014 planning, we have some cost effective offerings that will provide a return on investment many times over.

Leveraging our extensive experience, skills, and relationships, BSS can help major corporations and emerging brands with a variety of specific functions to improve sponsorship returns, community positioning, and partner relationships. We’ve worked with major sports and entertainment properties, high profile sustainability and social cause programs, government agencies, media properties and a variety of other property types.

BSS President Kevin Bartram and Project Manager Naomi Schultz will be leading all work associated with these corporate consulting packages, which include:

SPONSORSHIP OPTIMIZATION PACKAGE
Improve the return on investment of your company’s sponsorships for a one-time flat fee
Whether you are just starting sponsorship activity or want to redesign existing programs, this special package will help corporate clients re-engineer their sponsorships, evaluate and assess new opportunities, develop new experiential concepts and learn best practices that will improve sponsorship marketing outcomes and ROI. Click here for more information about this package.

 SPONSORSHIP COUNSEL PACKAGE
Access veteran expertise and assistance while developing and leveraging sponsorship programs
For an affordable monthly fee, we will provide ongoing counsel to help enhance results of our corporate clients’ strategic partnership and sponsorship marketing programs. Click here for more information about this service.

Earth Day More Relevant Than Ever – As Is Sustainable Sponsorship

April 22nd, 2013

IMG_0974Yesterday, I spent the day at the SF Giants game, as BSS was again responsible for coordinating a Community Outreach day on behalf of our client PG&E. It was a beautiful, warm day in San Francisco that made it easy to note how dramatically our climate has changed over the past few decades. On Earth Day, it’s important to note how much there is to do to generate awareness and remind consumers to give their business to companies that support the environment and commit to sustainability.

Given the “green fatigue” that has developed in some quarters of the marketplace, we must remember that the sustainability movement is still advancing, with eco-friendly initiatives now commonplace and almost routine. One only needs to follow news coming from industry newsletters like SmartBrief on Sustainability, CSRwire, or Joel Makower’s blog GreenBiz to see daily reports of actions being taken by corporations to address environmental and bottom line interests through green policies.

While walking through the ballpark on a Green Ballpark Tour, I was struck by how much the Giants and their partners – most notably PG&E – do to achieve lofty sustainability goals. The Giants have won MLB’s Green Glove Award as the greenest franchise five years running now – going back to when PG&E first partnered with them to place solar on the ballpark and to obtain LEED Silver status, which they received in 2010. Hearing head groundskeeper Greg Elliot talk about the creative ways they conserve water and use organic products and natural landscaping techniques for a more conscious approach to field maintenance, one is struck by how well the greening of sports is progressing.

Still, I realized how the green messaging we heard on the tour must sound like background noise to many people, and wonder how much it really feels relevant to the average person. It seems to me that sustainability messaging is more important than ever, and that those of us in the communications space must continue to find new ways to connect with people directly in a language that will reach them.  Using sports, entertainment and other sponsorship-friendly platforms to communicate relevant sustainability messaging remains an extremely viable and powerful tool for corporations and NGOs to reach diverse audiences with both their own messaging and consumer calls-to-action. We have to keep being more creative and effective, and not give up our efforts to grab the audience’s attention.

As our work at BSS has evolved the past couple of years, we have spent a great deal of time on civic projects with inherent green strands. While not leading with sustainability messages, these projects and the organizations driving them have shown how sustainability can be a natural feature of any major event, community project or new building. We’ll review some of these projects in the days ahead and suggest ways that new properties can be thinking of sustainability through strategic partnerships of many varieties, including sponsorship.

Sustainable sponsorship is in our future to stay. Let us know how we can help your organization engage in this vital and challenging practice – just one of many ways BSS can help organizations enhance their bottom line and community connection through sponsorship and strategic partnership.

-Kevin
kevin@sponsorshipstrategies.com