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posted: 2/13/2019 5:03 AM

Report: Elk Grove sees 40-to-1 return on bowl game investment

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  • Elk Grove Village Mayor Craig Johnson, who flipped the coin before the start of the 2018 Makers Wanted Bahamas Bowl, is pushing to have the village sponsor the game again in 2019.

    Elk Grove Village Mayor Craig Johnson, who flipped the coin before the start of the 2018 Makers Wanted Bahamas Bowl, is pushing to have the village sponsor the game again in 2019.
    Courtesy of Ben Solomon/ESPN Images

 
 

Elk Grove Village officials said Tuesday the village received a 40:1 return on investment from its sponsorship of the Makers Wanted Bahamas Bowl last year, as trustees prepare to make a decision on whether to re-up for this year.

For the $300,000 the village paid ESPN Productions Inc. to sponsor the Dec. 21 college football game in Nassau, Bahamas, it got back nearly $12 million in marketing value, according to 4FRONT, the Chicago-based sports marketing firm that helped broker the sponsorship deal for Elk Grove.

That value takes into account the amount of time the village or its "Makers Wanted" business marketing tagline was on the ESPN broadcast (including how long on-field village logos were shown), the commercials aired during the game, and the amount of news coverage about the unconventional municipal sponsorship.

The 40:1 ratio is 10 times the industry standard, 4FRONT told Elk Grove officials.

"That is basically unprecedented in the world of sports marketing," said Mayor Craig Johnson, who presented a report on marketing results from the bowl sponsorship at a village board meeting Tuesday night.

The report comes two weeks before the board is expected to vote on whether to renew the sponsorship deal at the same $300,000 price. The original agreement with ESPN provides that one-year option, with a decision required by March 1.

Johnson on Tuesday put the greatest value of the sponsorship into media coverage received in the lead-up to the game, noting that it got mentions in newspapers as far as India. The goal all along, he says, was to promote the village's business park, which he labeled an "international destination for businesses."

"We were trying to get brand identification out there," Johnson said. "We were trying to get 'Makers Wanted' throughout the world."

It's clear what Johnson thinks about the prospect of another sponsorship, touting the endorsement of Chicago Blackhawks President John McDonough. The two friends spoke about Elk Grove's sponsorship after it was announced last July and again after Johnson returned from the Bahamas.

"The premier sports marketing expert in the country is saying go ahead and do it," Johnson said.

But it's ultimately up to the entire seven-member village board. Trustees didn't weigh in on the proposal Tuesday night. A vote is scheduled for Feb. 26.