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.
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
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
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
“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,”
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?
* 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.
The Yara Bangkok Challenge 2007
Yara Thailand, The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration
and Active Management Asia Co., Ltd. will sponsor the next Bangkok
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
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.”