Make us your home page
Instagram

Inside a Rays sponsorship deal: What $1-million buys

Sports teams aren't very chatty about their corporate-sponsorship deals. There's little upside to publicly disclosing dollar amounts or other confidential details. But a rare window into such arrangements opened in January when the Tampa Bay Rays sued Academic Financial Services Inc. and attached a copy of the parties' three-year, $1-million sponsorship contract. The pact with AFS, a Tampa issuer of student loans, is kaput after just one year. AFS blew it by bouncing a $220,000 check to the Rays last year and breaking a promise to fund a $10,000 scholarship contest, which forced the baseball franchise to pull out its own wallet. AFS is no longer in business. Still, the 2007-09 contract remains an epiphany. How else would we know that the Rays dole out signage in half-inning increments, or that personal data the team captures during some fan contests are turned over to the sponsor?

Parties, beer cups and contests

College students were a key market for AFS. What better way to raise its profile among them than with cold, subsidized beer? Under this promotion, AFS would:

  • Host "College Night" at every Friday home game — 12 per season — on the left-field party deck. Admission: $5 with student ID. Special "welcome" message shown on scoreboard.
  • Distribute loan information to students and register them for a $500 weekly scholarship contest, paid for by AFS.
  • Sell $1 beers in one of 10,000 cups cobranded with the AFS and Rays logos.
  • Host a grand-prize contest among the 12 weekly winners on the last Friday of the season. Winning team splits $10,000, provided by AFS.
  • Free caps — with a twist

    As part of its sponsorship deal, the Rays would:

  • Give away AFS/Rays hats to the first 15,000 fans on College Alumni Night.
  • Promote the giveaway in TV, radio and print ads.
  • Include a five-digit code with each hat. Fans who entered the code on a special Web page would be eligible for prizes, including the chance to toss a ball around with a Rays player. Rays would forward all consumer data captured through the contest to AFS.
  • Three signs

    Under its sponsorship deal with the Rays, AFS' name would be featured on three signs:

  • A large sign beneath the left-field party deck. Visible from roughly three-quarters of the seats inside Tropicana Field, the sign would display AFS' name for half an inning per game.
  • A small sign behind home plate, aimed primarily at TV viewers. AFS' name would appear for half an inning per game.
  • Two panels on the marquee sign outside Tropicana Field and along Interstate 275. Target: commuters.
  • Radio feature

  • A Rays' radio announcer would announce the AFS "Getting Schooled Moment of the Game." Frequency: all 162 games.
  • Scott Barancik can be reached at barancik@sptimes.com or (727) 893-8751.

    Inside a Rays sponsorship deal: What $1-million buys 03/14/08 [Last modified: Monday, March 17, 2008 11:17am]
    Photo reprints | Article reprints

    © 2017 Tampa Bay Times

        

    Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

    Loading...
    1. No toll lanes north of downtown Tampa in three of four interstate proposals

      Transportation

      TAMPA — Express lanes may not be coming to downtown Tampa after all. Or at least not to the stretch of Interstate 275 that goes north through Bearss Avenue.

      Seminole Heights resident Kimberly Overman discusses the new interstate options with V.M. Ybor resident Chris Vela (left), Hillsborough County Commissioner Pat Kemp and HNTB consultant Chloe Coney during a Tampa Bay Express meeting Monday night at the Barrymore Hotel. [CAITLIN JOHNSTON  |  Times]
    2. Pinellas grants St. Pete's request to add millions to pier budget

      Local Government

      Times Staff Writer

      The Pinellas County Commission has granted St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman's request to dedicate millions more toward the city's new pier.

      The St. Petersburg City Council on Thursday  voted 7-1 to appropriate $17.6 million for the over-water portion of the Pier District. This is a rendering of what the new Pier District could look like. [Courtesy of St. Petersburg]
    3. Pinellas licensing board loses support for staying independent

      Local Government

      CLEARWATER –– The Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board on Monday lost its strongest supporter for staying independent.

      State Sen. Jack Latvala, a Clearwater Republican running for governor, said Monday that he will no longer support any legislation to keep the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board independent. This photo was taken in August. [SCOTT KEELER | Tampa Bay Times]
    4. Triad Retail Media names Sherry Smith as CEO

      Corporate

      ST. PETERSBURG — Triad Retail Media, a St. Petersburg-based digital ads company, said CEO Roger Berdusco is "leaving the company to pursue new opportunities" and a member of the executive team, Sherry Smith, is taking over.

      Sherry Smith is taking over as CEO at Triad Retail Media, the company announced Monday. | [Courtesy of Triad Retail Media]
    5. Two new condo projects for same street in downtown St. Pete

      Real Estate

      ST. PETERSBURG — It lacks the panache and name recognition of Beach Drive, but 4th Avenue N in downtown St. Petersburg is becoming a condo row in its own right.

      Bezu, a condo project planned at 100 4th Ave. N in downtown St. Petersburg, will have 24 units including a three-level penthouse with infinity pool.
[Courtesy of Clear ph Design]