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. Irish 31 brings flair, flavor to Wiregrass

      Business

      WESLEY CHAPEL — Irish 31 Pub House & Eatery opened its fifth location at The Shops at Wiregrass earlier this month.

      hillsevbiz072117: Irish 31 has opened at the Shops at Wiregrass with a warm, wood decor. Photo courtesy of Irish 31.
    2. Family fun featured at Lutz-area ice cream shop

      Business

      LUTZ — For Joe Schembri, ice cream reminds him of fun times he spent with his family as a child.

      hillsevbiz072117: Joe Schembri has opened the Ice Dreamery in Lutz. Photo courtesy of Joe Schembri.
    3. Clean Eatz offers low-cal options in South Tampa

      Business

      Inside Clean Eatz, almost everything is under 500 calories.

      Clean Eatz will offer healthy dining options in South Tampa. Photo courtesy of Clean Eatz.
    4. Salon brings a Parisian experience to Tampa

      Business

      A new salon in International Plaza, opened by French women Geraldine Jousseau and Estelle Mattingly, takes clients on a trip to Paris.

      Le Studio Paris offers a variety of salon services in International Plaza. Photo courtesy of Le Studio Paris.
    5. Ratings service Nielsen begins tracking live TV consumption on Hulu, YouTube

      Retail

      TV ratings service Nielsen will begin tracking how many people watch network TV on YouTube and Hulu to gauge how many viewers broadcast networks have through streaming, the company announced Tuesday.

      Nielsen, a ratings company, is monitoring how many viewers watch live TV on Hulu and YouTube to get a better sense of overall viewership. | [AP]