Final Four corporate hospitality spending on the rise

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

In a year in which the corporate hospitality industry is still struggling to rebound, NCAA officials and their partners expect a big bounce from the business-to-business atmosphere surrounding the men’s Final Four coming to Indianapolis April 3-5.

Overall, spending on corporate hospitality at major sporting events is expected to increase only by about 3 percent in 2010, according to sports economists. But action at the upcoming Final Four should be much stronger.

California-based RazorGator, which signed a deal in 2007 to handle corporate hospitality packages for the Final Four in conjunction with the NCAA, is reporting a 60-percent increase in demand for corporate tickets at this year’s event compared to last year's tournament in Detroit.

RazorGator’s average corporate-order value, including tickets, hotel accommodations and travel packages, is up 121 percent over 2009, company officials said. The average number of tickets requested per order is up 25 percent.

“Right now, the Final Four is trending a bit better for us than the Super Bowl or the Masters, and those are traditionally two of our strongest events,” said Sam Soni, RazorGator vice president for procurement. “People are definitely ordering in higher quantities.”

There are several reasons why the Final Four is doing so well, Soni said.

“We’ve always done well, above average, in Indianapolis,” Soni said. “It’s centrally located and it’s a basketball hotbed. The atmosphere is one of the best in sports, and the city is easy to get to. People who have gone to Indianapolis for the Final Four simply love to go back.”

Soni said the bottom dropped out of corporate hospitality business in 2008 with a double-digit decrease in sales. Last year was static to slightly down. Soni is confident that this year’s Final Four sales will at least equal 2007, when the business-to-business climate was still strong.

The Masters is getting a slight boost from the announcement that Tiger Woods will return to the tournament, but Soni still expects the Final Four to be a hotter spot for corporate entertaining.

“The Final Four has become an ideal event for corporate entertaining,” Soni said. “The NCAA has done a great job of setting this event up, with multiple days and multiple events. The Final Four has become a proven corporate entertaining tool.”

Larry DeGaris, director of academic sports marketing programs at the University of Indianapolis, thinks there’s another reason why corporate hospitality is running so strong at this year’s Final Four.

“The NCAA has been more aggressive and more successful than most sports properties recently at bringing on new sponsors,” DeGaris said. “Whenever you bring on new sponsors, those are some of the most eager and active in the corporate hospitality realm.”

New NCAA sponsors like UPS, Kraft, and Capitol One, DeGaris said, will be eager to network with other new and existing NCAA sponsors such as Coke, AT&T, LG, Lowe’s, Hershey’s and The Hartford.

“Corporate hospitality is one of the best ways to put corporate executives together,” DeGaris said. “The value of these types of networking opportunities—to have the synergies of having all these businesses in one place at one time—is invaluable.”

Even though UPS just signed its deal to be the exclusive logistics provider for the NCAA earlier this month, company officials have planned a major presence in Indianapolis for the Final Four, with dozens of company executives and employees planning to attend.

“Corporate hospitality is a major component to our overall sponsorship strategy,” said UPS spokesman Mark Dickens. “College sports provides such a tremendous atmosphere that people are just so passionate about. We feel this Final Four and other NCAA events are a great way to deepen our relationship with existing customers and cultivate new customers in a very fun, relaxed environment.”

UPS will devote about half of its corporate hospitality package to entertaining its own employees.

“It’s a great way to recognize and reward the employees who are really helping our business,” Dickens said.

The healthy corporate environment is also good news for city leaders here, said a Richard Sheehan, University of Notre Dame economist and author of “Keeping Score: The Economics of Big-Time Sports.”

“The more corporate executives that have exposure to Indianapolis, the better for the city,” Sheehan said. “That gives Indianapolis city leaders the opportunity to meet and greet corporate decision makers face-to-face and allows company executives the opportunity to see up close what this city might have to offer them. It clearly gives the city a chance to sell itself in a unique way.”

UPS is a perfect example, DeGaris said.

“UPS is now the official logistics provider of the NCAA; they’ll be here in Indianapolis, and we have vacant space at the airport,” DeGaris said. “It could be the perfect time to talk to UPS about moving some of their business up here from their Louisville hub.”


Post a comment to this story

We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
Subscribe to IBJ
  1. The Affordable Care Act is not the reason for the slow recovery and lack of high paying jobs for low skill workers. This is a trend that has been going since the early 80's. The recovery is real in the sense that GDP has been growing steadily at a rate of roughly 2.5% since the recession ended in late 2009 (newsflash, the stimulus worked) and the unemployment has been steadily dropping. The reason issue we are facing deals with a skills gap (not enough workers with the right credentials / experience) and wage stagnation due to corporate America being focused solely on maximizing profits for shareholders and not caring about the American middle class. Why should they? Multi-billion dollar mutlinational companies keep offshoring their profits in order to avoid paying taxes (which makes our deficit worse) they convince Americans to fight amongst themselves. If you want to create jobs and reduce the deficit, raise the minimum wage and change corporate tax laws. Of course, if you want to continue to belive that tax cuts for wealthy create jobs (which they don't) and allow corporations and the wealthy to continue to make you cover more and more of the costs of maintaining infrastructure, funding the military and other government services, then keep voting Republican. Hopefully someday you wake up and realize what's been going on since Reagan took office.

  2. Helloooooo, my name is Kate. I am so joyous to share this wonderful testimony about what Dr. Osoijiakhena, a great spell caster, did for me and my family. I wedded a year and 6 months ago, we were very happy during this whole period, i really love my husband so so much. I started noticing changes when he started coming home late at night, he stop paying attention to me, i later found out that he was having an affair with another lady, i dont know what she did to get to him but she really got a hold on him. He started spending weekends with her, and threaten for divorce. I was so heart broken and devastated, i spent many night thinking on how to get my husband back. A friend took it upon herself to to introduce me to one Dr. Osoijiakhena, a great spell caster, who once helped her with a spell that reunited her family and helped her husband secure a very prolific job. Though i had my doubts and never believed, but i decided to give it a try because i was helpless. I contacted Dr. Osoijiakhena, the Spell caster, to help me reunite my family by bringing back my husband from that other woman and break whatever hold she had on him. He only just told me that it's a minor issue, once i provide and do everything he will ask me to do, then i will have my family back again. I did everything he required. And he did it!!!!! My husband returned back to me and pleaded for forgiveness, and i also secured a well paid job in a big company, just as the great spell caster, Dr. Osoijiakhena said. I am so so happy to share my testimony on this wall. I am using this medium to tell every one that has same or similar problem to try the great Dr. Osoijiakhena through his mail: drosoijiakhenaspell@gmail.com......he is so real!!!!! He can also help you with: (1) IF YOU WANT YOUR EX GIRL/BOYFRIEND TO RETURN BACK TO YOU (2) IF YOU WANT YOUR HUSBAND/WIFE BACK (3) IF YOU WANT TO BE PROMOTED IN YOUR OFFICE (4) IF YOU WANT YOUR MAN OR WOMAN TO LOVE YOU (5) IF YOU WANT A CHILD (BARREN) (6) IF YOU WANT TO BE RICH/WEALTHY (7) IF YOU WANT YOUR HUSBAND/WIFE TO BE YOURS FOREVER (8) IF YOU'VE BEEN SCAMMED AND WANT YOUR MONEY BACK (9) IF YOU ARE HAVING DELAY IN GETTING MARRIED (10) IF YOU HAVE A COURT CASE AND WANT TO WIN (11) IF YOU'RE A DRUG ADDICT AND YOU WANT TO REALLY STOP (12) IF YOU CANNOT IMPREGNATE A WOMAN (STERILE) (13) ALL TYPES OF DISEASES I advise you to contact the great Dr. Osoijiakhena, the spiritualist for solutions via his email: drosoijiakhenaspell@gmail.com

  3. Sergeant McNally is buried in Cathcart Cemetery on a hill known as McNally%u2019 Hill. The Cemetery is in a natural bushland setting and is very well maintained.The emergency department at Ararat Hospital is known as the John McNally Emergency Department. Cathcart is approx. 4.6 km from Ararat and is approx. 345 m above sea level.

  4. My spring chicken of a Mom is turning 75 years young. She is a big fan of Frankie and I think she would get a big kick out of the film. I wanted to take her to the Broadway play but am priced out. Thanks for your time and consideration. Oh yea, Wildwood! Joie

  5. I thought this company would go bankrupt in 2013/2014. I predicted that four years ago. I was wrong. It will take another couple of years, but they will get there.