Jun 23, 2009 at 12:20 AM
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Is Wimbledon Leaving Sponsor Money on the Table?

We all know that at some point the law of diminishing returns applies to sponsorship. Now you can mitigate it to a certain extent with clever activation and added experiential value, but with each new sponsor you always risk diluting the piece of consumer mindshare that your existing sponsors receive. By limiting sponsorship is it possible to enhance the value of (and your pot. revenue from) sponsor's equity or are events like Wimbledon leaving money on the table by limiting sponsorship to a handful of select partners? Jon Wertheim of Sports Illustrated offers his take here.

Here's an excerpt:

"Yes, there's money to be made from having a business sponsor your mascot or from carving out luxury suites. But there's also equity in tradition and dignity. Wimbledon "doesn't do costings" -- that is, make its financials available to gauche journalists -- but profits from 2008 exceeded $50 million. This suggests that protecting the brand, and keeping "Wimbledon, Wimbledon," has plenty of value as well. In short, a sporting event's soul is worth something, too.

--Jon Wertheim

So is the answer more or less? Wimbledon has partnered with Slazenger (ball provider) for over 100 years, (soft drink firm) Robinsons' for over 75 years, watchmaker Rolex for over 30 years, and IBM for 20 years. How many properties have that kind of sponsor history?