Octagon scores a sponsor for its tennis tournament

Octagon had to look for a new sponsor for the WTA event it held in Jacksonville, FL, after Bausch & Lomb bowed out after 22 years in April 2008. As of 2009, the tournament would require a new title sponsor, and Octagon, the tournament organizer, wanted to find one that would keep the tournament in Florida.

Octagon had to look for a new sponsor for the WTA event it held in Jacksonville, FL, after Bausch & Lomb bowed out after 22 years in April 2008. As of 2009, the tournament would require a new title sponsor, and Octagon, the tournament organizer, wanted to find one that would keep the tournament in Florida.

Octagon turned to AXIA, a national PR firm with strong local ties, to find a new sponsor

Strategy
“They were... helpful in terms of us understanding what key objectives were important [to potential sponsors],” says John Arrix, tournament director at Octagon.

Media outreach to nationwide outlets, such as Sports Illustrated, USA Today, and Tennis, was key to creating chatter among prospective sponsors.

“We used the media as a tool to generate our own inquiries and leads, and to give the target companies a sense of awareness and credibility for the tournament,” says Jason Mudd, CEO of AXIA.

Moreover, AXIA used its connections among the major corporate players in Jacksonville.

Tactics
In addition to media outreach, AXIA brought potential sponsors to the event, knowing that a who's who of Jacksonville would be there, giving the sponsorship credibility. However, even though the two-year, $450,000 contract was reasonable, the target market doesn't usually spend that much on marketing.

“The business climate here [is] b-to-b focused,” Mudd explains. “Traditionally, they don't spend the kind of marketing dollars that b-to-c will.”

Results
AXIA found a sponsor in another client, MPS Group. The event is now The MPS Group Championships.

Future
AXIA continues to provide PR and national media relations services to MPS Group. The firm also continues to work with Octagon and The MPS Championships.

PR team: Octagon (Norwalk, CT) and AXIA (Jacksonville, FL)

Campaign: Serving up a new sponsorship

Duration: March-August 2008

Budget: $100,000-$150,000

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