SBD/July 23, 2013/Events and Attractions

Detroit Says Bankruptcy Will Not Impact City's Committment To Big Sporting Events

Even during "a few years of bankruptcy" that Detroit will be facing, city officials said that most major sporting events "will go on, as usual, likely with few complications," according to Gregg Krupa of the DETROIT NEWS. But attracting new events "may be difficult." Detroit Sports Commission Exec Dir Dave Beachnau said of the bankruptcy, "As it relates to Detroit, in our opinion, it is more perception than reality. They think Detroit is closed for business, but nothing could be farther from the truth" (DETROIT NEWS, 7/22).

LUCKY CHARM: In Baltimore, Chris Korman writes competition in the market for corporate sponsors who "underwrite sporting events and venues is intense, and some worry that supply is outpacing demand." Grand Prix of Baltimore organizers last week said that they "won't be able to land a title sponsor" for the '13 event. The Leffler Agency President & Owner Bob Leffler said that sponsorships "can be a difficult sell" in Baltimore. Leffler said, "It's a back-office town. There are very few people here these days with the authority to decide their company is going to spend six figures on a sponsorship deal. And if they're having to run to New York or somewhere to pitch the idea, it's not going to resonate as strongly with the people there." Korman noted local government and business leaders "envision Baltimore as a destination for more large-scale sporting events, such as the Grand Prix, NCAA lacrosse games and possibly even Olympic events." But decision-makers at those organizations "may be reluctant to choose Baltimore if the market for sponsorship dollars becomes oversaturated." Maryland Office of Sports Marketing Exec Dir Terry Hasseltine said, "It's a tight, tight market, for sure. So that's one of our challenges, bringing people together and making sure the money is there. But it's something we've been doing and will need to continue to do." Sources said that marketing budgets "were cut during the recession and have yet to see a major rebound." Meanwhile, the "number of sports entities seeking support has grown" (Baltimore SUN, 7/21).

MY KIND OF TOWN: In Chicago, Engage Marketing President & Chief Solutions Officer Kevin Adler in a special wrote under the header, "Despite Loss Of X Games, Chicago Is In Good Shape." Austin last week was awarded the X Games from '14-17 over bids from Charlotte, Detroit and Chicago, and Adler wrote, "Pessimists on Twitter didn't hesitate to link Chicago's defeat to our failed 2016 Olympic bid." But the newly-formed Chicago Sports Commission and Exec Dir Sam Stark are "off to a good start," as the commission recently "captured the hosting of the World Triathlon Series." The hosting of a championship "is offered to a city on these terms: You pay to play." So Chicago "must be willing to pay" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 7/21).
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