Because the marketplace for public arenas and sports stadiums is now saturated with corporate namings and sponsorships, many corporations are turning increasingly to the higher education sector for naming opportunities. At the same time, many athletics departments in higher education are striving to become more entrepreneurial, particularly at institutions that have recently cut athletics budgets to preserve funding for academic programs. Yet often athletics directors focus almost solely on fundraising, neglecting the growing marketplace for athletics sponsorships.
Though sponsorships are usually far smaller in dollar amount than philanthropic naming gifts, it's important to realize that:
- Because sponsorship agreements are typically 5-10 year fixed-term agreements, rather than "in perpetuity" (like many philanthropic gifts), there will be more frequent opportunities to secure them
- The corporate sector is eager to seek out such agreements
- A sponsorship agreement, even given the relatively small dollar amount, can open the door for a long-term relationship with that corporate sponsor, leading to other and larger sponsorships or even corporate gifts later
"More corporations are seeing the value of aligning themselves with like institutions to build awareness of their brand. These opportunities deserve more than a cursory glance."
Vincent Duckworth, ViTreo
We turned to Vincent Duckworth, partner and chief marketing officer at Vitreo, to learn more about how institutions can take advantage of this changing marketplace. Duckworth offers these four tips.
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An Additional Training Resource: Nuts & Bolts of an Effective Naming Policy
Register online now to learn how to develop a naming policy appropriate for your institution. Utilizing real examples from American and Canadian institutions, participants will learn the fundamentals of:
- Differentiating among policies for different naming opportunities
- Calculating space values
- Procuring board approval
- Marketing available opportunities
- De-naming and naming length considerations