SBD/October 27, 2011/Marketing and Sponsorship

NBA Lockout Watch, Day 119: Kings Talking To Sponsors About Refunds, Concessions

Kings sponsors have not yet asked for their money back
The NBA lockout has "complicated the Kings' relationship with their corporate patrons, particularly those that responded to Mayor Kevin Johnson's frenzied appeal last spring, to keep the team" in Sacramento, according to a front-page piece by Dale Kasler of the SACRAMENTO BEE. With two weeks of games "already canceled, and much of the rest of the season in jeopardy, the team is talking to sponsors about refunds, 'make-goods' and other concessions." Kings PR Dir Chris Clark said that so far "nobody has asked for their money back, and the discussions 'have been positive.'" Thunder Valley Casino's deal with the team is worth $1M and is "among the team's largest" sponsorship agreements. But Thunder Valley spokesperson Doug Elmets said as games are canceled, "the sponsorship becomes questionable." Elmets: "We're now reassessing how we want to move forward." Clark said that sponsorships are "being treated with the same 'worry-free guarantee' applied to season ticket purchases." Kasler reports while refunds are available, the Kings are "trying to persuade corporations to accept other benefits instead, including sponsorships of other events and community outreach programs." But for many sponsors, "the problem is it's hard to replicate the marketing buzz generated by an actual Kings game." Thunder Valley's deal includes signage at Power Balance Pavilion, but Elmets said that those signs are "barely visible when the arena lights are dimmed for a concert." Kasler notes because it is a casino, Thunder Valley "gets little benefit from having its name displayed at an ice show or some other event geared toward children." Brown Construction Co. President & CEO Ron Brown said, "The investment was good will, to support good faith to the NBA." However, Brown "still wants value for his company's sponsorship" (SACRAMENTO BEE ,10/27).
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