Vol. VI No. 34 - Tuesday
October 16, - October 22, 2007



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by Saichon Paewsoongnern


SPORTS
HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Big business in sports sponsorship

The Yara Bangkok Challenge 2007

Big business in sports sponsorship

Property developers Raimon Land are one of the biggest sponsors of sporting events in the kingdom. Pictured here is the yacht “Magic Roundabout” flying the company’s Northpoint colors at last year’s Top of The Gulf Regatta.

Alan Parkhouse
Sponsors are sometimes considered a necessary evil by some of the people staging sporting events, and in the past little consideration was given to the people who were putting up the money needed to hold a sporting competition.
A few signs around the venue bearing the sponsor’s name or a logo on a T-shirt used to be considered enough of a payback to a sponsor who stumped up the money needed to run the event.
But things are changing. Almost US$40 billion will be spent worldwide this year by the sponsors of sporting events, making it one of the world’s biggest businesses.
For the organizers of both large and small tournaments, finding the right sponsors can sometimes be a nightmare. That’s where the marketing consultants become invaluable.
In Thailand, which stages more big international sporting events than any other South East Asian country, there is now a growing need for marketing consultants to help find sponsors for the many tournaments on the ever-growing annual sporting calendar.
Event organizers in Thailand have always found it difficult to convince potential sponsors of the benefits of backing their events, and quite often in the past sponsors received little value for their money.
But as the events have slowly become more professionally run over the years, so too has their marketing.
One of this new breed of professional marketing consultants who have set up shop in Bangkok in the past few years is Paul Poole, managing director of Paul Poole (South East Asia) Co, Ltd, who has worked for some of the biggest and highest profile brand name companies in the world before moving to Thailand and setting up his own business.
Englishman Poole held senior marketing positions at such high profile companies as Wrangler, Levi Strauss & Co, Polo Ralph Lauren and Diesel over a 15-year period before moving to Thailand.
A good example of the success of a well thought out marketing and sponsorship campaign by Poole was seen at the annual Koh Samui Regatta over the past two years with motoring giant Land Rover.
Land Rover not only became a regatta sponsor, but also sent a fleet of their four-wheel drive vehicles and a team of expert drivers to regatta headquarters on Samui. On the regatta’s lay-day, when there was no racing, Land Rover offered a driving experience with their vehicles over the rugged mountainous terrain in the middle of the island, and many skippers, crew and media took part.
The end result was a number of sales, which more than covered the cost of the company’s sponsorship investment.
“That was a good example of putting the right brand with the right event and maximizing their opportunities and benefits,” said Poole. “At the end of the day the regatta organizers had more funds to stage their event and put on a better show and the sponsor increased its brand profile across the region and made quite a number of sales that wouldn’t have been made otherwise. Everyone was happy.”
Another good example of marketing the right sponsors with the right events is Thailand-based property developers Raimon Land, who sponsor almost all of the country’s five annual sailing regattas.
“We are major sponsors of the Phuket King’s Cup Regatta, the biggest sailing event in Asia, and we also sponsor the Koh Samui Regatta, Evason Phuket RaceWeek and the Top of the Gulf Regatta,” says Henry Young, Raimon Land’s Marketing Manager.
“We also have big property developments in all the places the regattas are held – Phuket, Pattaya and Koh Samui – and at each regatta we sell more than enough property to cover the costs of the sponsorship,” added Young.
“We love sailing and being involved in all the regattas in Thailand, but it’s also good business for us.”
Poole and his team are also involved in other big events in Thailand such as PIMEX, the country’s annual boat show in Phuket, and the Phuket Invitational Superyacht Rendezvous, which attracts some of the biggest and best superyachts from around the world.
The key to finding sponsors for an event and matching the right corporate backing to events that suit a company’s profile is no easy task.
With the print media, particularly newspapers, seeing a big drop in advertising globally and television stations around the world struggling to attract viewers and sponsors as the internet becomes more popular and widely used, niche or specialty advertising is becoming more and more attractive.
That’s where specialists like Poole come into their own. One of the organizations Poole has been closely working with since setting up his business in Bangkok in the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT).
“There are big international music festivals, sailing and powerboat events, marathons, triathlons and many other international sporting events being held in Thailand each year, and these events only add to the Kingdom’s popularity and reputation overseas, so it makes sense to be associated with the TAT, as it is their job to promote tourism and the country in general,” said Poole.
The TAT reports that the country’s tourism industry will generate almost 100 billion baht in revenue next year, or almost US$3.5 billion, and a good percentage of that revenue is expected to come from the many “sports tourists” coming to the country.
The future looks good for Poole and the many organizers of sporting events in Thailand, and with more and more events being added to the calendar each year the future looks good for Thailand as well.
And the media are happy too. After all, where else can a struggling journalist get to drive a new top of the line Range Rover flat out over a mountain on a tropical island?

Reference:
* Alan Parkhouse is the former Sports Editor of The Nation newspaper in Bangkok and has written about sport in Thailand and the region for more than 20 years.
* Paul Poole (South East Asia) Co., Ltd is an independent marketing consultancy based in Bangkok specialising in commercial sponsorship & partnership marketing, and working with many of the world’s leading brands. www.paulpoole.co.th


The Yara Bangkok Challenge 2007

Yara Thailand, The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration and Active Management Asia Co., Ltd. will sponsor the next Bangkok Challenge.
Scheduled for Saturday, November 10, this four to eight hour wilderness adventure race, will take teams of two through a 60+ km unmarked course of running, mountain biking, swimming and paddling.
“Nong Chok is an ideal location for this type of event,” said Serge Henkens, The Amazing Thailand Adventure Race Series Manager.” It is very surprising how beautiful and interesting the countryside is at only a one hour drive from central Bangkok”. “There is a lot of fun to be had out there!”
The Race will take the teams of two competitors through time in rural Thailand.
Paddy fields, lakes, canals, temples, buffaloes and more are on the menu.
The Bangkok Challenge was introduced last year as a fun, yet challenging way to enjoy adventure racing. The race is open to anyone 16 years of age or older and each team must consist of two athletes with a cost per team of 4,500 Thai baht.
Each team will have two racers and events include mountain biking, running, swimming, and kayaking.
Categories include: Men, women, mixed, masters (80 years combined) and seniors (100 years combined).
For more details: website http://www.event-1.active-asia.com/
“In the last few years we have seen adventure racing grow in popularity, with more and more people looking to get into the sport,” said Henkens.
“This race was designed for those people who are looking for that introduction into adventure racing, as well as those who are looking for some training experience before entering a longer race.”



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