Use Sports to Take a Client Past Spots
A Special Article from Revenue Results, Inc.

About the Author:
Krista Elliott Riley founded Elliott Marketing Group in order to develop and implement sales, public relations and marketing systems for innovative companies and their clients.

RRI and Radio Sales Today thank Krista for providing the sample promotion at the end of this article. For more information on these programs or on the Elliott Marketing Group, call (317) 733-0319.

Use Sports to Take a Client Past Spots
A Special Article from Revenue Results, Inc.
By Krista Elliott Riley of Elliott Marketing Group

Even if your station or system doesn’t carry sports programming, you can capitalize on a popular sport in your region and among your listeners to put together a non-traditional revenue program that works.

Remember, the non-traditional game is not about moving spots, it’s about answering needs. Often, the reason the client buys into your program has very little to do with the product you think you are selling. Whether you are selling a third party tie-in to a Radio promotion or a $5 million sponsorship program for signage on the side pods of an Indy Racing League race car, the client is really buying the fact that the program is going to answer identified marketing or sales goals.

Here’s how you can pull a sports sponsorship program together:

It All Starts and Stays With You
Your belief in the program will make things happen. Design the concept, confirm the sports partner, add other media to act as support partners, and find the sales partner who will fund the program. Then, it’s time for you to implement all the details. You will be everything from negotiator to sales manager to promotional assistant.

Start With Promotions and Programming
Begin by identifying what gets your audience excited and involved. Is it auto racing, or is golf more their speed? You definitely don’t want to spend six months designing a program that interests none of your audience.

Lock In a Sports Entity
You want to work with the marketing or promotions manager. A strong sports partner will give you additional merchandising tools — tickets, products, dinners with fans — in exchange for being mentioned on-air. Spend some time talking to them about the essence of their sport and what turns their fans on. This could lead to a great grand-prize idea — "You Are a Member of the Race Team for a Day!" Strive to surpass just the ticket giveaway angle. People are more motivated by prizes they can’t get any other way.

Nail Down the Specifics
It’s important to get the details right when it comes to promotional information. Make sure you understand how the sports entity wants to be identified in promotional and point-of-sale materials. Include this information in your sales material and give them a right to approve the copy before the promotion begins.

Get a Great Theme
Sports promotions are a lot of fun to work with. They tie your loyal audience base in with the sport’s loyal fan base. Sporting events generate a lot of emotion — dreams come true, you make it happen!

Think Outside the Box
When developing a hit list of sales targets, remember that unconventional sponsors may want to tie in for a variety of reasons. For example, the key decision maker may like the sport, the sport may be part of the company’s corporate culture already, or competitors may be involved in the sport nationally.

Work Well In Advance
As with any non-traditional revenue program, the earlier you begin the better. Usually, at least six months of preparation is needed. The most important thing you want to do is to make this time invested pay off in the future. Pick a program that is exciting enough that it can be repeated. This year, you may work six months on something, but next year it may only take two months.

Wrap-Up Reports Are Essential
Document everything and run off several copies. This is the perfect close to sign participants up to repeat the promotion next year. In addition, your sports and sales partners may have higher-ups who, when brought into the loop, may think of other opportunities for you this year.

A Sample Promotion
Here is a sample promotion to illustrate the principles that we’ve been talking about:

"Tee Time for Dad" Golf Tournament

Client: Jiffy Lube and Pennzoil in Central Florida.

Primary Objective: To create an exciting, fun event to increase traffic to 10 Jiffy Lube stores while supporting Pennzoil’s national association with golf pro Arnold Palmer.

Secondary Objective: To create a store manager incentive program while providing Pennzoil management an entertainment vehicle for its largest franchisee.

Mechanics: Father’s Day themed in-store sweepstakes supported by Radio, promotional materials and the Disney "name."

Event: Consumers registered their fathers to win the chance to be one of 144 people to participate in the "Tee Time for Dad" scramble golf tournament at Walt Disney World’s Osprey Ridge. Winners competed for prizes and trophies, including a new Oldsmobile and a golf umbrella signed by Palmer. The day included breakfast, on-course beverages, snacks and an awards banquet.

Merchandising: Pennzoil was provided with 24 places in the tournament to entertain store managers and franchisees.


  • Increased traffic and sales at 10 Jiffy Lube locations over four weeks.
  • Developed annual event for Jiffy Lube, Pennzoil and the Radio group.
  • Secured $53,000 in sponsorship fees at8% cost of sale.