Aug 07, 2009 at 12:03 PM
written by Jim Loria

How to Package a Win-Win Sponsorship Deal

One of the best sponsorship ideas I've ever created involved Kraft Foods in Kansas City, MO years ago. Their goal was to sell product. Mine was to sell tickets. My young daughter, bless her heart, one day, spilled a box of Macaroni & Cheese out of our kitchen cupboard and out of that we created a "Noisemaker Night" promotion!

The innert elements to the sponsorship worked this way: We brought in the Food Bank as the outlet to receive all donations after finding out from my research that this group worked very closely with Kraft in their community initiatives. We secured the retail partners for shelf space and media partners for supplying free promotional advertising. Each element was included into the package. The event SOLD a "Semi Trailer" load of Macaroni & Cheese boxes over a two week period, so Kraft & the retailer were thrilled to say the least!

The fans were told upon arrival at the arena to mark their Section/Seat/Row numbers on each of their Macaroni & Cheese boxes. The fans kept the boxes with them (or at least a few in hand). They SHOOK the boxes to create a whopping Noisemaker effect when we scored goals. To take away any potential "fan tossing incident", we made the fans deposit their boxes at the designated Food Bank Barrel locations once the second period in the hockey game came to an end.

The Food Bank operation's crew had donation barrels placed at each arena entrance and throughout the concourse. Volunteers were staffed everywhere with plenty of writing pens on hand to assist the fans. What sold this event to the public was the prizes!

During the game, we randomly chose one Macaroni & Cheese box from each portal entrance & concourse (10 total) and announced our prize winners (from the markings of Sec/Row/Seat numbers on the packages). The prizes were:

>>> 10 Pair of Season Tickets x 2 per winner given away at this game. So, the club sold "20 packages" through the sponsorship package! Key: DO THE EVENT EARLY IN THE SEASON, AT LEAST BY THE FIRST WEEK OF NOVEMBER! With a schedule that plays in/over the Thanksgiving Holiday, this is a great wrap around for the Food Bank as they are always in big need to stock their pantries during the holidays! Plus, more mind awareness for the consumer to want to reach out and contribute! Media loved the event - it was unique and every fan in the audience could participate, which we all know, those events are the crown jewels for any sports game entertainment!

END RESULT: Because of the retail opportunity and community goodwill, Kraft Foods invested in our club quite nicely - and it was signed off in just one meeting!! The area manager at that time was recognized for sales promotional efforts from this event! The next year, my rep had Maxwell Coffee Brand dollars given to him if we could develop a similar retail idea ... that's another success story for another day!"

Jim Loria has over 30 years of sports management experience and for the past 10 years as served as President of the USHL's Sioux Falls Stampede. Jim can be reached at Be sure to check out all of Jim's past posts, too.