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:
Free caps — with a twist
As part of its sponsorship deal, the Rays would:
Under its sponsorship deal with the Rays, AFS' name would be featured on three signs:
Scott Barancik can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 893-8751.