Elk Grove Village will be going to the Bahamas again in December 2019 as trustees this week unanimously approved renewing sponsorship of the ESPN Makers Wanted Bahamas Bowl.
The cost for the village to renew the sponsorship contract with ESPN is $300,000 — unchanged from the cost to sponsor the Dec. 21, 2018 bowl game.
Advertising metrics measuring things like media exposure, and traffic to the village’s Makers Wanted website used to market the Elk Grove Village Business Park, indicated a 40 to 1 return on investment from the first sponsorship, with media exposure valued at nearly $12 million.
The village will also spend an additional $100,000 producing commercials and other marketing efforts related to the Makers Wanted Bowl. Some of those commercials will run on national news channels, Mayor Craig Johnson said.
Marketing efforts will be lead by the company 4Front. 4Front worked with the village’s marketing company Red Caffeine to market the 2018 Makers Wanted Bowl.
The 2018 game saw four commercials featuring Elk Grove Village air during the game. Included in those commercials was Elk Grove Village-based Stern Pinball. Stern sponsored a pregame pinball tournament in Nassau before the 2018 bowl game. Johnson said the pinball manufacturer signed a deal with ESPN to sponsor a pinball tournament, which will be taped in March and aired on ESPN Ocho in August.
Additionally, Johnson said Mike Brennan, principal at the Brennan Investment Group, developers of the 1.2 million square foot Elk Grove Technology Park under construction on the site of the former Busse Farm, will use the game to market the technology park.
Johnson and many of the trustees at Tuesday’s (Feb. 26) village board meeting said they know much of the interest and media stories generated from the village’s first 2018 sponsorship of the bowl game came in part from novelty. Elk Grove Village was the first non-tourist municipality to sponsor a college football bowl game. Still, village trustees said sponsoring the game again, even with less of a return on investment, would be well worth it. Johnson said marketing experts consider a 4 to 1 return on investment in marketing a success.
The mayor said there is also local pride in the game sponsorship. “It’s a positive story,” Johnson said. Typically, a community only sees that level of media attention when there is a tragedy.
Johnson said he cannot point to new businesses which have already opened because of the 2018 sponsorship, but said as the village’s brand awareness grows internationally, inquiries about locating businesses in the village have increased.
The village’s business park currently has a vacancy rate of less than 3 percent. Johnson said these advertising efforts, as well as past sponsorships of Chicago Cubs games, are meant to keep that vacancy rate low.