I was in KTA last year, and I have spoken to guys that knows the ones arranging KTE and various Wave-events in kitesurfing. There is always the same problem, to find a main sponsor for the events and even more critical, the tours. As a marketer myself I am very interested in different ways of getting sponsors to events, and making sponsors gain the maximal possible value from these. So let’s look at what kind of sponsors kite-events could aim for, including the online gaming industry.
Kite competitions, as I understand it, depends a lot on volounteers, but still there are a lot of costs that needs to be covered for every event.
- Judges salary
- Rent for places?
- Price money
- Travel for key persons
- Salary for the ones keeping the event running
- Marketing costs
- Media & websites
In KTA (Kiteboard Tour Asia) last year (2013) the KiteZone were the main sponsor and Cabrinha the sponsor of the prices the winners got. In KTE (Kiteboard Tour Europe) the car-brand MINI was the main sponsor 2013 if I do not remember it too wrong. ChupaChups has also been main sponsor for some European tours.
The economical situation is not the best right now, and a lot of the big spenders are keeping their money inside the companies harder than ever. It feels like telecom, cars, computer soft- and hardware and other big money players are cutting down sponsoring everywhere. Tobacco and Alcohol-industry are quite regulated and cannot really have their names on events either. Marketing has became a lot more effecient and measurable nowdays with online winning over offline (TV, billboards, papers, sponsoring).
Where should Kiteboard- and other extremesport events try to get sponsors then?
1. Look at the ones sponsoring riders. Energy drinks? They have money. But I think it needs to be quite a big public and media spend included in the events before the big energydrinks would put their name on something. Or?
2. Look at what kind of companies are spending most money on TV. There is one niche that has rised their media-spend a lot the latest years, and that probably would fit for extremesport industry. The online gaming industry. You can not watch a single commercial break on TV without seeing at least a couple of ads promoting online poker, online casinos or bingo- and slot-sites.
Could these ones sponsort kitesurf events too?
The target group is quite right for them. They need visibility on websites and online media more than any other niche. They are often global and wants to be visible on a lot of different places in the world. I will not go in to the ethical issues of it, just look a the possibilities (and I do not hink online gaming is more unethical than tobacco-, alcohol-, and energydrink-industry anyway). Online gambling industry is spending a lot at least. And they are starting to sponsor sport athletes more and more too.
- Betsafe sponsoring extreme skier Jon Olsson and professional wakeboarder Carro Djupsjö.
- Unibet are sponsoring a lot of sports teams and has recently started sponsoring some Swedish skiers (thar are in World Cup and Olympics)
- Pokerstars sponsoring several teams, including Canadian NHL hockey team Toronto Maple Leafs
- 888 Poker sponsors the MMA in Portugal and are naming sponsor of the PGA EuroPro Tour (Golf).
Almost all online gaming companies are sponsoring athletes today. Could these be future sponsors of kiteboard events and tours too? I think it could be a good shot. By naming an kiteboard-event I think they could get visibility on a lot of websites, and that is what they need. If you as a host of an event or tour are contacting gambling & poker companies about sponsoring, try to think about making adeal where they get as much online visibility as possible and you get as much money as possible, and both will probably benefit from the deal. Maybe the sites could add possibilities to bet on kitesurfers and teams in kitesurf events too, that would definitely increase non-kiteboarders knowledge about kiteboard athletes and teams too. At least 888 already has functions where you can place your bet live in play, the kiteboard competitions are quite many hours, and odds on kiteboarders could change as the competition goes on, between single and double elimination, and so on.Could there be benefits for both kiteboarding and the sponsors in this niche? Just an idea…