SBJ/Jan. 27-Feb. 2, 2014/Marketing and Sponsorship

Taking the bait: Toyota renews sponsorship with BASS in deal running through 2017

Toyota has renewed its sponsorship of BASS with a deal running through 2017 and extending across the individual tournaments that make up the organizing group’s annual calendar.

Financial terms of the deal were not available.

Toyota has been a BASS sponsor since 2004. Its most recent deal dated to 2011.

Dionne Colvin-Lovely, national media marketing manager for Toyota Motor Sales USA Inc., cited the dynamic of the sport and its audience as a reason for the continued relationship.

“We’ve learned that there’s a family aspect to the sport,” she said, noting how BASS provides Toyota with a platform to showcase not only its full-sized pickups like the Tundra, but also its sedans, such as the Camry. “It’s a true example of a 360-[degree] approach.”

The renewal includes a prize money increase for the Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year purse, which is allocated based on points at season’s end among the top 50 anglers in the Bassmaster Elite Series. The purse last year was $685,000. It increases to $900,000 this year and $1 million in 2015.

Toyota’s sponsorship additionally covers the Bonus Bucks team tournament, which targets amateur anglers.

“We’re always looking for ways to be innovative in the space, and this is one way we’re able to do that,” said Jim Baudino, engagement marketing manager at Toyota.

BASS CEO Bruce Akin said his sport’s “brand-loyal fans” were a factor in the renewal. “[Toyota] is at every event,” he said. “They leave a big footprint, and the Bassmaster fan has really taken to the partnership.”

The BASS deal is part of a deep sponsorship roster for Toyota that includes facility naming rights; individual clubs across both major and minor leagues in team sports; and college athletic programs. Additionally, among its other niche partnerships, Toyota this year is unveiling a program called the Toyota Triple Challenge with its sponsorship of supercross. The program calls for the packaging of three races — in Anaheim, Dallas and New York — and if one rider wins all three races, that person will win $250,000 and a Tundra.

Similar to BASS, the supercross relationship “is relevant for our truck, youth and family target,” Baudino said.

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