Star-Bulletin Sports

Monday, June 7, 1999

R A I N B O W _ S P O R T S

Sponsors want their
sales to win, too

By Al Chase


Image is not everything.

Time was, many businesses simply wanted to be associated with successful University of Hawaii athletic teams and spent liberally on sponsorships for the programs.

Not anymore.

Companies are changing their approach to sponsorships. They want specific, sales-driven numbers to come from their expenditures and they want teams that have positive name recognition.

In short, being associated with Rainbow sports is great, but the teams need to win, too.

"Three or four years ago all you had to say was get $25,000 together and let's do a tournament," said Scott Harada, former director of sports marketing at UH who now is director of football operations.

"Now, rather than just having the company name associated with an event, companies want to know how they can promote a specific idea or item."

Companies frequently trade products and services in exchange for sponsorship or advertising. Totals from UH sponsors for the 1998-99 school year include $158,980 in cash and $247,452 in trade. Much of the trade is in airline tickets.

Playing the Money Game

Maintaining sponsors and cultivating new ones is one challenge.

Deciding how to appropriate the university's advertising budget dollars is a second.

For example, during fiscal year 1997-98, UH had $96,000 to spend. That later was increased to take advantage of incremental revenue opportunities (the chance to generate more revenue from a sport than is originally projected). The budget called for $110,000 for 1998-99.

There are three major concerns UH considers when allocating advertising dollars -- the strength of each program (team), especially its perceived strength for the coming season, gender equity and the potential for a program to generate incremental income.

Football, because of its potential to generate incremental revenue, receives most of the advertising dollars. Men's basketball is next.

This holds true for the majority of Division I schools with both programs.

Yet, with constant change as players complete their eligibility and new ones enter a program, there always is an unknown element. And, a coach's perception before a season starts might change during the season.

By George F. Lee, Star-Bulletin
Fans pack the stands festooned with corporate sponsors'
signs at Stan Sheriff Center.

Before the 1997-98 basketball season, for example, there were high expectations for the UH men's team.

"We thought that was an opportunity to generate more incremental income as well as increase the season ticket base, so we allocated a lot more funds for basketball," Harada said.

"We spent a lot of money in December and then they beat Kansas so we didn't have to spend any more because they were sold out every game," associate athletic director Jim Donovan said.

Opportunity advertising also enters the picture.

A prime example occurred a couple of years ago when the Wahine volleyball team started the season undefeated and had a chance to break the national attendance record.

More advertising dollars were spent on the Wahine, attendance soared, revenue increased and the attendance record was smashed by some 40,000 fans.

"We don't hide from the fact we're a business," Donovan said.

"We tell people we are in the business of education and entertainment, so the entertainment side of it requires us to take resources that can bring in new additional income.

"A portion of our marketing funds go toward creating more funds. We have to to survive."


Title sponsors


Hawaiian Airlines
$29,250 trade in airline tickets to fly visiting teams (Ohio State, Florida, UCLA) from the west coast to Hawaii. Trade is used in lieu of a cash guarantee.
$4,200 additional trade used for athletic department purposes (last year, trade used to fly the Wahine volleyball team to Maui for preseason training).

Aston Hotels & Resorts
$21,152 trade in hotel rooms to house visiting teams (Arizona State, Bradley, Baylor). Trade is used in lieu of a cash guarantee.
$10,000 cash. Approximately 60 percent is used for the tournament (hospitality reception for 200 people, polo shirt apparel, caps, advertising) and 20 percent for promotional purposes (last year the department purchased approximately 2,000 each "Back to School" Wahine volleyball folders and megaphones). The final 20 percent is used to cultivate future sponsorships or for other promotional activities (expenses for the sponsorship luncheon or summer blast golf tournament).


Delta Air Lines
Approximately $37,500 in airline tickets used by the athletic department to supplement travel costs.
Some money is used from other sponsorships to cultivate this revenue intake. Approximately $4,000 is spent to provide a return for this sponsor in the form of a hospitality reception and polo apparel bearing the name "Delta Air Lines Kickoff."

Hawaiian Airlines
$15,000 cash. Approximately 60 percent is used to provide promotional support for the game (last year the department purchased 10,000 megaphones, provided a hospitality reception for 100 of their guests and polo apparel). Twenty percent is used to cultivate future sponsorships and the final 20 percent is for other promotional activities (the prize money for the Fred vonAppen "look-alike contest").

$10,000 trade used by the athletic department to supplement travel costs.


Voicestream Wireless
$20,000 cash.
$5,000 trade, digital telephones for men's basketball coaches.

$27,750 trade used by the UH trainers to supplement the student-athletes' nutritional needs.
$3,000 cash to support the athletic trainers symposium.
$2,000 cash to support the PowerBar Invitational (T-shirts for visiting teams, awards, player hospitality).

$55,000 trade used to supplement the men's basketball program's athletic apparel needs and the basketball camp/clinic programs.

United Airlines
Approximately $25,000 trade used to supplement the athletic department's needs.

Outrigger Hotels & Resorts
$100,000 cash. Forty-seven percent to support the tournament (includes merchandise, catering, gifts to teams/coaches, supplies and equipment). Sixteen percent to the new Letterwinners' Club. Nine percent to cultivate and retain sponsors. Thirteen percent for athletic department travel (to attend seminars, etc). Nine percent for other athletic department business, supplies and equipment. Two percent each to the Circle of Honor, the UH Foundation overhead charge and balance on account.


Hawaiian Regent
$17,600 trade used by the athletic department to supplement needs (rooms for visiting teams in lieu of guarantees).
$4,980 cash to support the tournament through hospitality functions, T-shirts, trophies, postseason team banquet.

Ala Moana Hotel
$18,000 trade for visiting teams (rooms) in lieu of guarantee money.
$2,000 additional trade for athletic department usage.


Outrigger Hotels & Resorts
$7,200 trade used for tournament teams.
$9,300 trade used for athletic department needs (visiting teams in lieu of guarantees).
$3,500 trade used to support the UH Sponsor's Appreciation Luncheon.
$20,000 cash. Sixty percent used to support the tournament through hospitality receptions, polo shirts apparel, T-shirts for visiting teams, player food hospitality reception, gifts for visiting coaches, additional advertising of the tournament. Twenty percent used to support additional promotional activities throughout the season (advertising, direct mailers). Twenty percent used to cultivate future sponsors and pay for other athletic department needs.


Outrigger Hotels & Resorts
Approximately $22,000 in trade used for visiting tournament teams.


Bank of Hawaii
$5,000 cash. Sixty percent used to support the tournament (player food, awards, T-shirts). Twenty percent used for promotional support (tournament program). Twenty percent used for cultivation of future sponsors.


One event still in need of a title sponsor is the annual Rainbow Easter Baseball tournament. Bank of America last sponsored the event in 1997, but has since stopped doing business in Hawaii.

"That was worth about $77,000, but we haven't found a new title sponsor yet," said Jim Donovan, UH associate athletic director.

However, the baseball program did benefit from a $100,000 donation from GTE Hawaiian Tel last year that included both cash and trade.

"GTE is a big supporter of Rainbow baseball," UH athletic director Hugh Yoshida said. "It (the money) went toward equipment, supplies and program needs which is a direct benefit to the kids."

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