Indians hit home run with sponsors

July 24, 2008
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indyindlogoAt a time when many professional sports teams and properties are seeing their revenue drop in the wake of a rocky economy, the Indianapolis Indians this year have seen a nearly 18 percent increase in its sponsorship income.

The Indians, a AAA farm team of Major League Baseball’s Pittsburgh Pirates, have signed new or expanded deals this year with Cardinal Fitness, Coors Brewing Co., Ivy Tech Community College, Pepsi, Qdoba Mexican Grill, Toyota and Vincennes University among others.

The Indians have brought in $1.62 million in sponsorship sales this year, up from $1.37 million last year. Team officials said this year’s sponsorship revenue could go slightly higher.

Cal Burleson, Indians vice president and general manager, said the cost of team sponsorship for the Indians relative to other professional teams during this soft economy could be one reason why sponsorship revenue is growing.

“Our attendance is up 1 percent from this same time a year ago, and last year was a very good year in terms of attendance,” Burleson said. “We are becoming more professional in the way we approach sponsors, and we feel we’ve created a framework for sponsors to succeed.”
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  • Good for the Tribe! That organization continues to be Indy's homerun.
  • This franchise is a steady .375 hitter financially. Not all that fancy, but very solid, very consistent. Some would like to see more zany marketing for a minor league team, but their approach has proven to be very reliable for this market.
  • I enjoy the facility each time I go there. I love that it is one of few minor league programs thats profitable, and they maintain a first class facility. When I was sitting there thinking about it. I couldn't believe that the place was over 10 years old!
  • I go to games on the weekends and the place is completely packed. Why wouldn't companies want that kind of exposure? Go Indians!
  • Even though this was a basketball town and now a football town, I have seen the victory Field pretty packed every time that I have gone in the past several years. Even durring the day games (when most people are suppose to be at work), there is a big croud. But ofcourse, any group of people would be bigger than the pacers croud for the 2007-2008 season.

    If advertisers are smart investors, they would flock to Baseball, Motor-Racing, and Football in Indiana (for the 2008 through 2009 years if not longer). That was odd for me to say since we (Indiana and Indianapolis) has always been known as Basketball state/city for decades. But to put it simple, to do good investing with sponsorships, one must tap into where the solid crouds are going and what is in the pop culture.
  • I'm not sure a more aggressive or zany marketing approach would fly in this market. It will be interesting to see how the Indians grow the pie from here.
  • I agree. As someone who used to work in minor league ball (not with Indy) I appreciate the lack of gimmicks. They do it old school.

    Although that logo could use a workover, which would help increase merchandise sales.

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