It is always a pleasure to welcome past alumni back to the classroom to speak to the current cohort. Recently, we were honored to welcome 2012 Alumni of the Year, Jack Tipton (SMBA ’06). Jack shared with us his experience in the SMBA program as well as his journey through the sports industry, and his current position, Associate General Manager, at Pitt IMG Sports Marketing.
With a strong background in sponsorship sales, Jack defined the seven essential elements needed for knowing and understanding the product—from creating the initial connection to the activation. The seven elements include:
- Why would the company sponsor the product/event?
- Know how to target companies
- Find the key person within the organization to speak to
- Make contact
- Revise and negotiate
- Celebrate and activate
With these seven items, Jack challenged the class to create and pitch a partnership between a sports brand and an emerging company. The class, split into groups of four or five, had a short three hours to create and propose their ideas to Jack incorporating information about the property and prospect, key contact people and illustrating the synergy for why the particular partnership would work.
Despite the time crunch, the groups got very creative with their ideas. A few groups proposed partnerships with transportation such as Uber and Zipcar with professional sports teams, as another group created a sponsorship with a construction company for building sporting facilities for universities. Although all were impressive ideas, the best proposal was awarded to the team that created a sponsorship with SiriusXM and the San Antonio Spurs. Although Jack was unsure and confused of the initial idea of the partnership, the group was convincing in their reasoning of the fit due to connecting Sirius XM’s desire to expand into international markets and the Spurs having a significant international fan base.
In the end, Jack’s sponsorship lesson and case study helped highlight the different roles and responsibilities that one can take when pursuing a career in sponsorship—activation or fulfillment—as well as what it takes to create a sponsorship.