Building a successful event sponsorship program for large events of 10,000 or more participants differs dramatically from small- to mid-sized events. Not only does it require a higher level of sophistication on behalf of you and your team, but the sponsor is also generally much more sophisticated and truly understands that sponsorship is simply another form of advertising. As such, the sponsor’s expectations will largely revolve around return on their investment as compared to other forms of advertising their product or service.
For in-kind sponsorships pursue sponsors that not only offer budget relief but that also have the ability to write a check. Often times in the negotiating process you can offer to accept more product than cash if the in-kind product also helps your bottom line. For example, a shoe and apparel company (e.g. Brooks) might be able to supply some or all of your participant tech-T’s in addition to their cash sponsorship.
Within cash sponsorships larger events have a wider range of endemic and non-endemic companies they may pursue. Generally speaking, because of their higher level of sophistication the sponsor will also likely spend more dollars to activate the sponsorship than a sponsor of a smaller event. As such, it will be important for you and your team not only to activate the sponsorship on your end effectively but to perform a 3rd-party sponsorship valuation to show a high return on investment for they know they are getting higher return than a traditional advertising medium.
When it comes to media sponsorships not only will you want to feed your media partners stories for editorial purposes and negotiate promotional inventory to fold into your sponsorship packages, but you will want to embark on joint-selling opportunities. Joint-selling with a media partner will open the door to potential sponsors you may not otherwise be in touch with on a regular basis, whereas your television partner may speak with these companies on an on-going basis. For example, up-selling Volkswagen into an advertising package that also includes sponsorship benefits to your event could be a win-win-win for all involved!