Two years after making a splash in the Bahamas with the unconventional sponsorship of a college football bowl game, Elk Grove Village officials said Tuesday they have decided not to re-up for a third year.
"Like any marketing plan, it evolves, it changes," said Mayor Craig Johnson, whose brainchild it was in 2018 to sponsor the bowl game as a way to market Elk Grove's massive industrial park. "The feeling of the (village) board was it's time to look for another way to promote this community beyond the Makers Wanted Bahamas Bowl."
Johnson made the public announcement in his mayor's report during a village board meeting Tuesday night, which followed a March 1 deadline from ESPN Productions on whether to do the sponsorship again.
Johnson believes the initial $300,000 deal to sponsor the December 2018 game -- upon which the village got to affix its business marketing tagline -- served the intended goal of gaining worldwide exposure for the village and its industrial park. Then came news that a Love's gas station was coming to town because a company representative was watching the game and heard all the hubbub about Elk Grove.
So Elk Grove trustees decided to exercise a one-year option to sponsor the December 2019 game at the same price.
But Johnson said he's been having one-on-one conversations with the other six board members for some time about whether to continue the sponsorship long term. The general feeling was that this particular marketing campaign "ran its course," he said.
When trustees approved the sponsorship for the second year, ESPN added a third-year option, but at $315,000. Johnson said the higher price didn't have anything to do with their decision about the December 2020 game.
In fact, he says the village is still budgeting up to a half-million dollars on overall marketing efforts this year, which is consistent with what's been spent in the past.
That includes TV commercials and trade publication advertisements touting the business park.
But the mayor admitted Tuesday he's already thinking about another unconventional sponsorship of some kind. He says he hasn't yet proposed anything to the board.
"We're always looking for innovative ways to market our community," Johnson said.