IBJNews

Indianapolis Indians scoring sponsorship, attendance increases

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

Late last September, the Indianapolis Indians stared down the barrel of financial disaster.

Following the 2009 season, three-fourths of the team’s sponsorship deals expired, giving the Indians a tough challenge in an economic climate that’s enough to make just about any sports business administrator hit the panic button.

But Indians officials stood in the batter’s box, dug in their cleats, and didn’t blink. Instead, the team’s front office rolled up their sleeves and went to work.

The Indians re-signed the vast majority of those sponsors and enough new ones to increase sponsorship sales $200,000 over last year, an increase of more than 10 percent. New sponsors include Firestone, Mike’s Express Car Wash, Buffalo Wings & Rings, Frito-Lay and Sharp Business Solutions.

Indianapolis Indians With a string of home games coming up in August, the Indianapolis Indians could push their total attendance to 600,000 for the season. (IBJ file photo)

One of the driving forces in sponsorship sales has been a $600,000 video board the Indians installed on the left-field wall, said Indians General Manager Cal Burleson.

“The video board is so eye-catching,” Burleson said. “It gives sponsors another way to reach out to our fans, and it’s given us another element in our advertising packages to sell.”

The video board, which is 120 feet long and 6-1/2 feet tall, also has been a big hit with fans. The video board carries static and moving video messages.

“We put a lot of information on that board as well as sponsorship messages, and the people attending our games have really enjoyed it,” Burleson said. “There’s definitely an entertainment component to it. The positive feedback has been overwhelming.”

At this rate, the video board will pay for itself in three years.

“That’s smart business,” said Rick Horrow, president of Horrow Sports Ventures, a Miami-based sports marketing consultancy. “That’s how smart sports business operators are making it in this economy. Not only making cuts where needed, but making strategic investments that will pay real dividends.”

Attendance also is on the rise for the local AAA minor-league baseball team, up nearly 30,000 through July 20 compared with the same period last year. In 2009, the Indians drew 549,522, down slightly from the near-record 606,166 in 2008.

With total attendance at 348,339 through July 20 and with 25 home games remaining, Burleson thinks the team has a shot at hitting 600,000 visitors this year.

“We have a stretch of good home games coming up, and we have a history of doing very well in late July and August,” Burleson said.

The Indians raised their ticket prices $1 this season—the first increase in three years—which should mean a sizable bump in ticket revenue. The franchise, which has a decades-long profitability streak, should be in the black again this fiscal year.

 Indians profit declined from $1.23 million in 2008 to $459,603 in 2009, but sports business experts expect profitability to be above $1 million again this year.

Indianapolis IndiansBurleson said a better year weather-wise, a more competitive team and a lengthy list of weekly and special promotions has helped keep the turnstile whirling. He said many of the Indians promotions revolve around offering fans a “special value.” Such deals include Monday games where many concession items are $1, and Fazoli’s restaurant coupons on tickets for Tuesday games.

Larry DeGaris, director of academic sports marketing programs at the University of Indianapolis, isn’t surprised by the Indians’ success.

“The Indians are at the right price point, like Target and Wal-Mart, and they offer exceptional value,” DeGaris said. “That applies to their sponsors, ticket sales and group sales. I’m sure right now, corporate entertaining at the picnic area at Victory Field is pretty attractive.”

DeGaris also gives the team’s front office a high grade.

“They’ve chosen to emphasize the right things,” DeGaris said. “They’ve done a great job of creating an inventory that sells.”

The Indians are riding a high tide for minor-league baseball nationwide.

Minor-league baseball set an attendance record in 2008 of 43.2 million fans, and brought in nearly 42 million fans last season. Minor League Baseball President Pat O’Conner said he is expecting near-record attendance this season.

According to a Minor League Baseball survey, nationally it costs an average of $57.70 to take a family of four to a minor-league ballgame. The average price to take a family of four to a Major League Baseball game is $194.98, according to Team Marketing Report.

“As long as they continue to offer the sort of value that they do and fans can enjoy the setting of Victory Field,” DeGaris said, “I’m sure they’ll continue to do more than fine.”•

ADVERTISEMENT

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
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
ADVERTISEMENT

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
 
Subscribe to IBJ
  1. Good Day I am Mr (Victoria Wright) from United state of America, i stayed in NEW YORK, and i have a broke up business, until i found this company email who help me to gain a loan for business,, and now i want to used this short medium to congratulate the below company for the fast and safe money they loan to me without any form of collateral, i loan 500,000USD from the company to save my business and lots more, i saw their mail on the internet, everyone always give testimony for what they did, so i quickly contacted them and they all did everything for me without stress and my money was sent to my account just 3 days later, i was surprise and i feel so glad, now i have a standard business control agent who help me, now i will advice those who need urgent loan to contact him at the bellow email:zenithfirm12@gmail.com

  2. NOTICE:This is to inform the general public that Vampires are real. My name is James Franklyn.,am an agent of vampire,am here to introduce our new world trend to you,a world of vampire where life get easier,we have made so many persons vampires and have turned them rich,you will be assured long life and prosperity,you shall be made to be very sensitive to mental alertness,stronger and also very fast,you will not be restricted to walking at night only even at the very middle of broad day light you will be made to walk.In case you are wildly oppressed by some unscrupulous persons we can still help you fight them.Your protection is assured immediately you join.Just contact the bellow email if you are interested we are here to attend to you anytime you want us. Contact the bellow email for more details. Email:vampirescreed@hotmail.com Sincerely: James Franklyn.

  3. Bravo! Someone else that is willing to speak the truth! Bravo!_____NBCSN is available in almost 2 MILLION more homes than just a few years ago, but Indycar STILL gets less total viewers than it did just a few years ago when NBC took over Versus. Attendance and ratings cratered with the end of season races (just when the title battle got "interesting" HAH!__________And now...new race in Basilia, where Miles celebrated the "rich history" of Indycar racing there. Rich history? What, 7 events in the 100 years of AOW? Yep, some history. Well, at least its an oval. It's not??? Are you kidding me??? Gosh darn road racin furriners.

  4. PURITY RAY LOAN OFFER........ Have you been denied by your banks,or are you in need of of an urgent loan to pay of your bills we are capable of giving loans @ cheaper rate to interested individuals, student, companies and members of the public in need of finance to settle bills, we do offer considerable loans which you can count on. For more information on our various types of loan,then you will have to contact PURITY RAY LOAN FIRM, to help you achieve your desire LOAN APPLICATION FORM TO BE FILLED BORROWERS INFORMATION * Full name:………………………. * SEX * ……………………………. * Country………………………….. * State:……………………………. * Land:…………………………….. * Occupation:…………………….. * phone number:…………………. * Telephone: ………………………….. * Age:………………………………. * Amount needed as loan:……… * Loan Duration:………………….. * Propose of Loan:……………….. * Annual revenue:………………… * Monthly Income:……………….. * Guarantee:………………………. * Payment: monthly or annually Email.....purityrayloanfirm@gmail.com Thank you and God bless Mr Purity Ray PURITY RAY LOAN FIRM we tend to serve you better

  5. Problem: most of the people responding to this article don't know about this service AT ALL! Why? Lack of awareness. This isn't IndyGo. This is CIRTA: might as well be the mattress company because they are asleep at the wheel - something like 3 directors over the last year? Playing with federal grant money is great! This "region" wants commuter rail service, has spent MILLIONS on Transportation studies yet can't even support a commuter bus line? This is largely for suburban riders to get to downtown - not for "service people to work in our hotels and restaurants" ! Get your head out of your backside!! These are professionals, students etc. that don't want to fight traffic, save some money on parking, gas, stress.... if CIRTA would put their federal money into widely promoting the sevive to Greenwood, Fishers & Carmel instead of finding directors and studies - this would be a successful service. Our family uses(d) it daily for the last several years - but the recent uncertainty & now unreliability due to cuts from Carmel has been a problem. Now, costs us an additional $350/month for gas & parking ( $4200/year) plus vehicle wear, service, environmental impact ... YES - this REGION needs this this type of service in order to keep growing and getting the people it needs to fill skilled positions in downtown Indianapolis. Think outside of your own car !!!

ADVERTISEMENT