SBJ/June 18 - 24, 2001/Marketingsponsorship

Inside the Deal

THE DEAL:

Supermarket chain Rainbow Foods signs sponsorship deal with the WNBA Minnesota Lynx.


ESTIMATED VALUE:

$85,000-$100,000


LENGTH:

One year


DEAL MAKERS:

Pat Liska, president, Rainbow Foods; Chris Wright, senior vice president-chief marketing officer, Minnesota Lynx


KEY ELEMENTS:

 Category exclusivity

  Sponsorship of bobblehead doll giveaway at two games

  Sponsorship of Rainbow Foods Fun Pack

  In-store appearances (12) of Lynx players

  Rotational and fixed signs at Target Center for Lynx games

  Two 30-second radio commercials plus in-game feature on all Lynx broadcasts

  Two 30-second television commercials plus in-game feature on all Lynx broadcasts

  Title sponsorship of Fan Appreciation Night

  Co-title sponsorship of "Sea of Green" promotion to encourage fans to dress in green for nationally televised game in July


BACKGROUND:

To receive one of the bobblehead dolls, fans will need to buy a Rainbow Foods Bobblehead Fun Pack. This $30 package includes a bobblehead doll voucher, four $10 general admission tickets to a selected Lynx game and one $5 Rainbow Foods gift certificate. The package can be bought only at Ticketmaster locations inside Rainbow Foods.

Rainbow, based in Hopkins, Minn., has been a multiyear sponsor of the Minnesota Timberwolves. Wright, who also heads marketing for the Timberwolves, is negotiating with Rainbow for a renewal of its package.


ANALYSIS:

WNBA teams aren't given much territory by the league for sponsorship sales. The grocery store category is available to local teams, but the league requires that only one-year deals can be signed. This category has the potential to be one of the biggest opportunities for WNBA teams given the predominantly female fan base (72 percent of the fans at Lynx games are women). Few major sponsors, however, want one-year deals, especially in a competitive category like grocery stores. The deal with the Lynx has extra value for Rainbow as it gives the company a year-round promotional platform, assuming a renewal deal is struck with the Timberwolves. This is a bargain for Rainbow, especially if it can defer some cost to its vendors. Rainbow gets a great promotion to drive store traffic plus some strong additional visibility elements.

Alan Friedman (alanf100@excite.com) is founder of Team Marketing Report.

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