Sunday, November 29, 2009

MS Looking For A Sugar Daddy

The Millennium kids may not know when or where one (or two) events will be most years until the season is underway but they know what they want in sponsorship cheese and we're not talking wedges or sampler packs either--strictly wheels o' cheese and the larger the better.

But first, where are my manners? Here's hoping you all enjoyed a happy thanksgiving with family and friends. I went to visit my Dad for the holiday and came down with a mysterious strain of the turkey flu which is apparently not contagious and can only be caught when consuming excessive amounts of, who woulda guessed, turkey. (The big dumb bird for those who weren't sure.) By now y'all ought to know my middle name is wretched excess--it used to be danger but I had it legally changed--so I was a prime if unwitting candidate. But never again. I have sworn off turkey for the next 364 days.

So during the holiday what should come over the transom than the 2010 Millennium sponsorship kit and its quite an impressive package. VFTD covered the 09 version last year here and here. (These are actually only related posts. I couldn't find the ones I was looking for. Again. And, you know this story all too well, I got bored and quit looking.) Given that this year's pack is chocked full of Millennium goodness I'm going to try and limit my comments to some of the highlights. Up first is a list of Millennium firsts and highlights that bears a resemblance to reality. That's followed by an incomplete schedule for 2010 though it does include dates and countries this year so that's a plus. Next comes the justification for asking for wheels of cheese as the MS proudly announces the massive media blitz that will accompany this season's events and how that translates into buckets full of exposure for prospective sponsors. And just so you're clear on how massive that media blitz will be the MS goes into great detail on 2009's media blitz. And the list is impressive. Except it's unclear to me how some of the numbers correspond to promotion of sponsors and others are highly questionable. For example there's the generic reach numbers of the TV network but no actual viewer numbers from last season. There's a list of magazines MS reporting or ads appeared in for a total number of MS-related pages in print (and discounting the mags no longer printing and the always inflated claims mags make over readership) the question remains how does that translate into a benefit to the sponsor(s)? Same for the list of other media coverage as well as the exclusive list of internet media outlets covering the Millennium. (And apparently one of us--me or the MS--doesn't understand the meaning of "exclusive.") Then there's the MS website claims. 90K hits a day. Every day of the year. 2.7 million a month and approx. 32.5 million a year. Of course a hit isn't a unique visitor or a page view or a click through on a sponsor's link even so even if the claim is legit (and it isn't) what does it really amount to? But everyone expects the MS (or anybody else) to put the happiest possible face on stuff like this so it isn't a big deal even if it isn't clear what real benefit it provides league sponsors.

The fun news though is the new sponsorship options; the title sponsor or the kryptonite sponsor--take that Superman. (No, I have no idea why they called it a kryptonite sponsorship.) For a mere 150K Euros one lucky sponsor can make this year's series the One Lucky Sponsor Millennium Series in all official publicity. In addition the title sponsor gets all the benefits of the kryptonite sponsorship (100K) including prop colors and logos on the central field and lots of assorted banners, logos and links as well as priority placement in the vendor village blah blah blah. (The kryptonite sponsorship is only available if there is no title sponsor.) My logo is bigger than yours. Now this is actually an interesting idea and pretty common in real sports. How it will translate to the MS is something else again.

Another interesting change is a trader's ghetto for the non-sponsor and one time vendor. The catch is that the trader's products for sale must be covered by a seasonal sponsor and also be vetted by that sponsor in order to have permission to pay through the nose for a spot in the ghetto. For example, Bob's Gun Emporium can only sell markers made by a seasonal gun sponsor and only if the sponsor/maker agrees.

And there is a laundry list of other sponsor options as well. Everything from Arena sponsorship (5K) to SPL field sponsor (15K), field sponsor (7.5K), ref sponsor (7.5K plus 100 goggles, lenses, pants and 200 custom jerseys), field tents, VIP, press, scoreboard/scoresheet, gun rack, field drum and trash can sponsors. All of these are predicated on TV coverage that may or may not actually ever appear on a Eurosport broadcast. My favorites are field tents and trash cans. For 5K you are allowed to provide 200 trash cans to the MS for each event. (Probably like the GIMilsim trash cans at Campaign.) When you think garbage think (your logo here.) And for 5K you get to provide the MS with 50 3 meter square tents that become the property of the MS. But best of all "No charge will be incurred for setting up the tent, cleaning and maintenance and no shipping charges between the events of 2010. No hidden charges and no extra charges will be billed to “Your Company.”

The Millennium may not know where their events will be held yet but they know what they want industry to pay to be a part of them. Even more interesting will be how much sponsors will actually end up paying in order to be an MS sponsor. Finally somebody has figured out how to make TV pay real dividends.


Anonymous said...

sorry, but the millennium series is getting to a big joke. i'll rather spending my money playing golf.

teams get less for their money - less teams attend at the millennium.
sponsors should pay more - for less teams/players and 0 promotion?
honestly... just talking about the great TV deal: how many SOP TV coverages where on 2009? how many times did eurosport show up and how many times did it came on TV?

honestly - don't put any money anymore in the millennium series pockets.

i'll rather go and play national leagues or a single tournament, or even fly out to asia or US.

just my 2 cents

anonachris said...

The Millennium is going to kill itself if it continues to operate under the dellusion that what it is offering has real value.

I predict that after the Millennium commits suicide the various owners and stakeholders will come out and blame the players for not supporting the league more. The fact that the Millennium completely overvalued their product from a sponsorship stand point won't enter into the calculus.

For some reason the marketing yocals at the Mill. don't understand that you don't get to charge for "pie in the sky" numbers, but should isntead try to base your rates of of potential and actual exposure.

anonachris said...

How many people will use a trash can at an event? 500? 800? 1000? What kind of prominent placement will the trash can get in magazine and TV spots? (none, marginal at best).

What crazy sponsor is going to pay $8-10 per trash can user (5k + cost of cans with logos/banners)? Even if you inflate the numbers and say 3000 people will walk by your trash cans, that's $3 per person just to get a logo impression on a garbage can.

It doesn't really surprise me though because most people have no sense of what exposure is actually worth, particularly, and unfortunately, many Europeans (ouch, but don't worry Europeans, many Americans are on the other end of the spectrum and couldn't even define exposure, unless you count what they pay girls at the nudy bar to do for them)

Baca Loco said...

I can tell you GI Milsim had some very attractive trash cans at Campaign.

I think you're being a bit harsh, Anonachris. If somebody is willing to pay why shouldn't the MS try to collect? Like you I have a hard time coming up with a calculus that strikes me as a worthwhile risk/reward proposition. One thing they have going for them is the fact there are limited ways of connecting with the marketplace and a distinct lack of imagination in much of paintball.

Reiner Schafer said...

Charge what the market will bear. If someone wants to pay them, why not take their money? I don't see the problem. If no one sees the value of their rates, then they won't take part (or maybe they will negotiate for a lower rate).

Anonymous said...


Just a FYI, but the companies that support the MS and are not tied to one of the MS owners are: Procaps, Dye, Activision, Kingman, Kee, CP, Tippmann (Gun Sponsor?!), MacDev (I think they still had to pay for some stuff even though they're distributed by Maxs), Carnage, WDP and Regency (Gun Sponsorship)...

The only 3 european companies in that list are:
Regency - Makers of the Chrome, used by Stockholm Ignition;
WDP - Angels, Joy Division.
Carnage - French paintball brand.

So... You were saying something about us Europeans having no sense of what exposure is actually worth? I think we do know what it's worth, that's why there's more noneuropeans sponsoring the MS.

Anonymous said...

Maybe because there really arent many European brands to start with?

Missy Q said...

now that you have to pay 10g just to have your gun used at the event by your teams, people will reconsider euro-sponsorships. if a US firm wants 1 Euro team to represent them in the MS, it would cost them the sponsorship for the team, plus 10g. Is it still worth it?
Do the sales of that marker at that series, for the year, equate to a profit exceeding $25g? Thats pprobeably, on avarage, 100 guns total, so 20 guns per event). Because if not, its not going to be worth it.

Missy Q said...

No idea what happened to my spelling there for a moment...

Baca Loco said...

Excellent point, Missy. (Good to get all those mistakes out of the way in one comment.)

Anonymous said...

agree missy. totaly agree missy.
i do not understand why the sponsors just refuse to the millennium. they should come together for a meeting. i think if the sponsors go against the millennium it might work. otherwise the mill is going to play arround with us again, again and again however they want

anonachris said...

The sponsors need the Millennium in the long run.

The Millennium needs the sponsors money in the short and long run.

Figure out the appropriate strategy for each!

Missy Q said...

the sponsors need a platform to showcase their product that will afford them exposure, they don't necessarily need the MS for that.

What Europe needs is a National Championship Tour, unrelated to the MS. Get the Euro's to each put on a national championship, which also allows guests. Link them into a loose series. Think tennis: Wimbledon, the French Open etc. Thats actually how the MS started, by linking the Toulouse World Cup, Campaign and the Estratego Cup with other events. I believe a key issue is that the Euro events have lost their national identity. Foreign teams should be the icing, not the actual cake.

Anonymous said...

i don't think so. the sponsors can sponsor national leagues cheaper and put their teams in that league. and then send them overseas to compete with the big teams. it still becomes cheaper for the sponsors.
and if the sponsors quit the mill, the teams have to follow. no dye - no dye teams for example. no teams - booom. no millennium. especially if the 16 cpl teams step up against the millennium.

i know at least 10 teams will not attend the millennium in 2010 (div 1 and SPL) - let me guess, it will even be more.

Anonymous said...

Is obvious that most people in that post have no clue about the millennium and the European Market.
The way that the Millennium run sponsors is by far the most professional and clever in terms of visibility but also in protection.
sponsors are protected of any unfair competition. Compagnies making counteferting products whithout spending any money in our paintball market.
Paintball Sponsors in the Millennium represent only 20% of their budget and the mIllennium will have more sponsors for 2010 than ever because the structure is very well study.
The sponsorship structure seems to make you laugh but it is been used as a model by most of the paintball leagues.
People often forget that The Millennium events are by far better organised than american series and with 50% less of budget. Today the Tournament organisation model in the world is based on the Millennium model and i can bet today that Millennium ideas of today and tomorrow will be used by others leagues.