Pat Bigold

The Way I See It

By Pat Bigold

Tuesday, June 15, 1999

Prep plan needs
pro point man

IF there's going to be a state football tournament this fall, the people putting it together had better act fast.

This is a very big undertaking, and it has the potential to produce revenue like the Hawaii High School Athletic Association has never seen.

But without immediate decisiveness about how to secure sponsorships, plan logistics and promote, it may not break even.

I sense that despite the athletic directors' recent approval of the tournament, there could be some disagreements when the HHSAA executive board meets to vote on it Thursday on Maui. Better hope the disagreements aren't serious enough to eat up another week.

If I was trying to organize Hawaii's first state prep football tournament, and I had fewer than six months to make it happen, where would I turn?

Probably to the state's most successful sports promotion duo: Bowl Games of Hawaii directors Lenny and Marcia Klompus.

If I wanted to put on a concert, I'd go to Tom Moffat, If I wanted to stage a marathon, I'd ask Jim Barahal.

This is a no-brainer.

Well, I decided to call Lenny Klompus yesterday and ask him if he had any thoughts about how he'd go about pulling off such a tournament. Just for discussion's sake.

Know what he told me? He said he's already written a letter to the HHSAA offering help.

I say accept that offer, HHSAA. Don't even think about it. Accept it.

The Klompuses would like to link Hawaii prep football's premier event to their Christmas Day doubleheader at Aloha Stadium and the Hula Bowl. It makes a lot of sense. There are only two kinds of football in this town: college and prep. Why not link them?

The prep championship could segue to the bowls. It would also give the Klompuses a vehicle to reach more local fans. They sure need that base.

LENNY Klompus said he knows there are sponsors out there who'd love to be involved with the state football tournament, but only if it's done right.

He said there are some who would spend $500 and some who might offer $25,000.

But Klompus pointed out that sponsors these days want a lot more than just a banner at War Memorial Stadium or Aloha Stadium.

They want plenty of exposure at the event and plenty of exposure leading to the event. That's how the Klompuses build for the Aloha, Oahu and Hula Bowls, and that's how they would build for the state football championship.

"Our goal is always to break even the first year when we start something, and then we're in it for the long haul," he said.

Klompus said the most important item of business right now should be to find an operations director, around whom everything will revolve.

"I would get the best director of operations I could find, start putting together logistics. I'd get with our travel people and figure out how many teams will travel to which location. I'd get a TV deal, a radio deal, put the newspaper package together and then start selling sponsors."

Sounds good to me.

And Klompus said getting the small money first would be the way to go. He said sponsors beget sponsors, and every AD could get involved in recruiting them.

Klompus said he's not sure if the HHSAA will accept his offer.

But all I know is the Klompuses know how to mobilize a football event, and logic dictates that if they want to help get this one going, the HHSAA should say, "Thanks a million - let's get to it."

Pat Bigold has covered sports for daily newspapers
in Hawaii and Massachusetts since 1978.

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