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Trying Times for Traditional Retailers Could Make Them Valuable Partners

During our TicketManager All Access Interview Series podcast conversation, Korn Ferry Tour president Alex Baldwin noted that the circuit had a number of supermarket chains, including Albertsons and Price Cutter, as tournament title sponsors.


Those partners, as well as others on the tour, are conducting vendor programs—recruiting companies that sell their products through the retailers to support the tour stops with cash sponsorships, promotions and/or contributions to charitable beneficiaries. The Albertsons Boise Open is sponsored by Mondelez, Hershey, and others, while the Price Cutter Charity Championship in Springfield, Mo. is presented by Dr Pepper and sponsored by Hiland Dairy Foods.


While a previous blog post laid out the basics of how such programs work, their popularity also reflects the need for traditional retail outlets such as supermarkets, hardware chains and even retail banks to find ways to attract shoppers as they compete with a host of other purveyors of goods—both brick-and-mortar and online.


That situation alone makes them prime candidates for sports and entertainment partnerships, as they use category exclusivity to differentiate themselves from the competition while building traffic to their stores through event-themed sales promotions and by serving as ticket outlets--in addition to leveraging other sponsorship benefits as well.


Rights holders may want to focus on the grocery sector in particular, because the retail climate has made sponsorship a more appropriate and necessary vehicle for them than ever before. Increased competition and changing consumer shopping habits have left supermarkets scrambling to retain their share of customers’ business.


One response is to create a compelling in-store experience that can’t be duplicated. An in-store happening tied to a local team or event, such as a player appearance, or entertainment preview, can fit the bill.


Properties must demonstrate that their opportunity will meet a critical need for the store, such as gaining more loyalty from their customers, creating a competitive advantage or increasing foot traffic.


What makes the traditional grocery segment especially valuable to rights holders is the considerable sway it holds over packaged goods companies and others who—despite the proliferation of alternative channels—still need to earn coveted shelf space to help get their goods in the hands of their ultimate consumers.


A sizable portion of CPG marketing spending is earmarked for programs tied to major retail accounts, meaning a retail partner is often the most efficient—if not the only—way for sports and entertainment properties to open the door to those budgets. Often the first question packaged goods companies ask about a proposed sponsorship or promotion is, “How will it impact a top account?”


Building a package of sponsorship benefits that provides value to both a retailer and its vendors is a perfect illustration of one plus one equaling three in delivering value to each stakeholder.

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