SBJ/October 1 - 7, 2001/Marketingsponsorship

INSIDE THE DEAL

THE DEAL:

EA Sports signs as the title sponsor of the Maui Invitational.


ESTIMATED VALUE:

$750,000 a year in total value


LENGTH:

Three years


DEAL MAKERS:

Carolyn Feinstein, VP, marketing/communications, EA Sports; Brian Movalson, brand manager, EA Sports; Nick Paul, executive VP, sports and event marketing, KemperLesnik Sports Marketing Group; T.J. Nolan, KemperLesnik Sports Marketing Group


KEY ELEMENTS:

24 30-second commercials on ESPN during game broadcasts

140 promotional spots on ESPN in the two weeks before the tournament

Opening and closing billboards and voice-overs during the tournament broadcast

Center-court floor logo plus two smaller floor logos

Advertising on chairbacks

Courtside signs (rotating)

Sponsorship of online sweepstakes event on Yahoo! EA will receive database of names of entrants.


BACKGROUND:

Electronic Arts is the top independent developer and publisher of interactive entertainment software for personal computers and entertainment systems. The company, based in Redwood City, Calif., posted revenue of $1.3 billion for fiscal 2001. Its basketball games include NBA Live, NCAA March Madness and NBA Street. EA Sports sponsors the EA Sports All-Stars, a college exhibition basketball team that plays against NCAA basketball teams. EA is the title sponsor of the EA Sports Roundball Classic, a high school All-American basketball game.

The Maui Invitational is produced by KemperLesnik Communications' Sports & Events Marketing Group for Chaminade University. It's the first title sponsorship in the history of the 18-year event. This year's tournament is scheduled for Nov. 19-21 at the Lahaina Civic Center in Maui, Hawaii. Teams scheduled to play are Duke, UCLA, Kansas, Ball State, Houston, Seton Hall, South Carolina and Chaminade.


ANALYSIS:

The biggest appeal of this deal to EA Sports isn't a boondoggle trip to Hawaii. Rather, it's a high-profile sponsorship that hits at the peak of sales for electronic games. EA Sports already planned on a heavy advertising schedule in the fourth quarter, but this sponsorship brings the company to another level of awareness, because at least six games will be broadcast live on the ESPN networks. However, this deal isn't all about television visibility. EA will leverage the deal through its college rep program that operates on many campuses. There will be Maui-themed viewing events on campus that will help the company reach a prime target audience of 18- to 24-year-olds. It's further proof that strong activation is what distinguishes the most effective sponsorship programs.

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

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