Executives recall sale that started it all
Co-founder | 16W Marketing
In the spring of 1973, I’m a freshman in high school and along with some of my friends we decided to enter a softball team in the Bayonne (N.J.) Rec League. I assembled a target list of local businesses that may have had interest in sponsoring our team to pay for both our uniforms and entry fee. I was in search of $150 to cover EVERYTHING.
Not only did the owner agree to sponsor our team, but we also became the only team in the league with names on the back of the jerseys. Their sponsorship received lots of exposure since we eventually won the league championship and garnered constant headlines throughout the spring in the Bayonne Times sports section.
Senior vice president of business intelligence | rEvolution
My first sponsorship sale came after a vivid dream. Early in my career, while working as a consumer electronics manufacturer’s rep in Denver, I knew there had to be more that I could accomplish career-wise. I needed to be involved with my passion, sports.
One day, I was introduced to Bob Lazier, a former Indy driver from Vail. Bob had two sons, Buddy and Jaques, who were up-and-coming in the racing ranks. The older brother, Buddy, was on the verge of making it big and needed a sponsorship to find a steady, competitive IndyCar ride.
In 1992, when I was just 29 years old, I proposed a completely custom marketing campaign built around a sponsorship idea, to Viper Auto Security’s founder, Darrell Issa (now a member of the U.S. House of Representatives). The deal was secured for $3 million. I had landed the first sponsorship deal I had ever pitched, and was hooked forever on the chase for sponsorship dollars.
Founder and CEO | Pivot Marketing Agency
My first sponsorship sale was when I was a ticket sales manager at the Golden State Warriors. A fan approached me at a marketing table during a game and was interested in purchasing floor seats. After closing that deal, I realized that he valued using his floor seat access to take his clients and guests into the VIP Courtside Club.
At only 26 years old, it was a thrilling challenge finding a creative solution that matched a client’s objectives. … This led me to eventually lead the sponsorship division at the Warriors, and more importantly start my own company. … I think it’s fair to say I caught the bug!
Director of sales | Raycom Sports
I started my career in minor league baseball as an intern with the Palm Springs Angels, the Class A affiliate of the then California Angels in the California League. I was hired in the fall of 1989 at the MLB winter meetings in Atlanta by GM Marshall Stone as part of the Job Seekers Seminar.
My first sale was to the Westin Palm Springs Mission Hills Resort. I was able to structure a deal that included radio ads on our flagship station, an outfield fence sign for the season, a ticket package for the hotel/resort guests as well as discount golf rounds at the resort for our players and staff during off time. I was elated and euphoric after closing the first sale. The feeling never gets old.
Vice president of advertising | OneUp Sports
I will never forget my first sponsorship campaign — huge win for the company but even more so, my confidence.
That was a lesson I have taken with me throughout my career.
Vice president of partnership development | Speedway Motorsports Inc.
My first job out of college was working for a small AM radio station in Wilson, N.C., in 1985 called WVOT. I was an account representative, and our flagship sports properties were the North Carolina State football and basketball games we aired.
That was years ago, and I have sold a lot of different sports along the way, but the lessons learned there have stuck with me and are still relevant. Sports sponsorship in any fashion is about leveraging a fan’s affinity for their sport to benefit a brand or business.