What does NASCAR and the NBA’s New Jersey Nets have in common?

NASCAR and the New Jersey Nets have identified Business-to-Business (B2B) events as an innovative way to deliver additional value to their corporate sponsors. Through complimentary relationships fostered through NASCAR’s B2B Council and the Nets Chamber of Commerce, both organizations are creating relationship building events and forums, enabling sponsors to meet, share ideas and best practices, while developing complimentary relationships to drive business. Norris Scott, NASCAR’s Managing Director of Partnership Marketing, describes the value of B2B to their corporate partners in “Expansion keeps NASCAR B2B program rolling along”: “B2B gives our partners one more way to maximize their investment and maybe find some business opportunities that they hadn’t seen before.”

Generally, we think of NASCAR, and even cycling, sponsorship, as a means for creating visibility and awareness to drive consumer business. However, the NY Times article “NASCAR Sponsors Find Customers in Other Sponsors” illustrates why corporate partners are investing dollars in sponsorship and B2B membership: “While Nascar often trumpets the high visibility enjoyed by its sponsors, whose logos festoon cars, as well as fans’ fidelity to brands that bankroll drivers, one of the highest returns for companies’ investments actually comes not from consumers but from other companies. The biggest fish some advertisers are reeling in, it turns out, are other advertisers.”

Good in theory right? But what kind of results can one expect?

“Expansion keeps NASCAR B2B program rolling along” and “NASCAR Sponsors Find Customers in Other Sponsors” cite the following metrics fostered by NASCAR B2B relationships:

  • Sprint reported 15% growth in units sold as the direct result of B2B relationships
    • Bank of America increased wireless service with Sprint by 15%
    • Kodak doubled wireless business with Sprint
    • Cintas made Sprint its carrier of choice; estimated at $ 7 million dollars
    • Best Western hotel chain attributed $ 16.7 million in incremental revenue generated through deals with other corporate sponsors
    • U.P.S.  increased the business it conducted with other NASCAR sponsors, through B2B relationships, from 40% to 90% between the years 2000 to 2009

But, it gets even better! Leveraging B2B programs can not only assist sponsors by developing revenue generating business relationships. B2B can also help justify corporate sponsorship through Return on Investment!

NJ Nets CEO Brett Yormark discusses the ROI value B2B programs provide corporate sponsors in the IEG Sponsorship Report “Inaugural B2B Program Yields Positive Returns for NBA Team and Sponsors”:  “As we are all being measured differently in this economy, this is another important way for season ticket holders and sponsors to justify their investment in Nets basketball.”

  • ROI speaks for itself! The examples referenced below are from “Expansion keeps NASCAR B2B program rolling along”
    • Cintas estimated that NASCAR facilitated B2B relationships returned $ 3.89 for every dollar invested in sponsorship
    • Best Western estimated a $ 6.80 ROI for every dollar invested in NASCAR sponsorship through B2B

So, how can your cycling club use B2B to drive value for existing sponsors?

  1. Companies are always looking for ways to establish relationships that will drive new business opportunities and revenue. Creating events, forums, communities, etc., enabling your sponsors to interact, will provide an environment for sponsors to – a) learn about other companies’ successes; b) discuss relevant trends, directions and imperatives; and c) explore ways to work together. Facilitating B2B events, or forums, bringing businesses together, will give you credibility, help your club demonstrate leadership and innovation, while helping you indirectly contribute to incremental revenue generation.
  2. Differentiating yourself from other organizations seeking sponsorship is an excellent way to demonstrate you’re cycling clubs’ value. Establishing a B2B community, or forum, provides your cycling club with a level of thought leadership, immediately providing you with separation from every other organization requesting sponsorship and funding.
  3. Value added events – consider hosting events which will drive high sponsor participation and interaction.
    1. Fun, non-athletic, events as a chili cook and barbecue cook offs are always a good means of fueling competitive spirit amongst participants.
    2. More challenging events as a mini-duathlon, triathlon, bike relay obviously offer an excellent theme and tie in.
    3. Host panel discussions focusing on emerging business trends with featured topics as leveraging social media to drive revenue.
    4. Create a “Sponsor only” area on your website which is password protected. Also, think of creating a “Sponsor Member Directory” to facilitate interaction and contact between sponsors.

How can B2B programs be used to attract new sponsors?

  1. Establishing a B2B program for your existing sponsors can help justify their investment in your cycling club. Leverage the value sponsors have garnered through B2B relationships – new partners, new clients, increases in sales, etc.
  2. Highlight B2B sponsor successes in newsletters, on your website, and through social media tools, and incremental business, through reference stories, quotes, etc. Present metrics wherever possible – i.e., 15% increase in sales due to new business relationship with XYZ company…..Use these examples as you engage with potential sponsors,  illustrating the value companies will receive through B2B relationships, as a result of sponsoring your cycling club.
  3. Invite potential sponsors to participate in B2B events. Experiencing a B2B event in person, engaging with other companies, gives prospective sponsors the opportunity to understand the value sponsoring your club provides first hand.
  4. Ask existing sponsors to track metrics associated with business results related to your clubs B2B efforts. Have a sponsor quote, or publish, that they saw an incremental increase in sales relating to B2B business relationship with XYZ company. Or, better yet, have a sponsor quote that for every dollar invested in sponsoring your cycling club, they received $ x in return. Both of these clearly exhibit the value of – sponsoring your cycling club, and participating in an innovative B2B program (which you established!). Use these as you engage new sponsors!

Again, as mentioned in previous blogs, anything your cycling club can do to show differentiation, demonstrate value, and offer companies an opportunity to expand the visibility of their brand and drive revenue, will set you apart from other organizations seeking sponsorship and funding. Lastly, using B2B as a component of your cycling clubs sponsorship portfolio helps you to justify investment in your cycling club as a sound business decision. Not to mention, a solid sponsorship program can help you land new sponsors, while helping you justify greater investment from existing ones!

Well, that’s it for today!

One more thing – if you have comments please feel free to fill out the “Leave a comment” form. Or, if you would rather contact me directly, please drop me an e-mail. I would love to hear from you! I am always very interested in hearing your thoughts, ideas, and successes. And, since I am trying to provide content which is valuable, feedback from you helps me fine tune my approach to meet your needs. So, please, if you visit this site, and you have an opinion (good or bad), please let me know!

Next week I will be posting Part II of “Using quotes and references with prospective sponsors”.

Thanks for visiting. Remember, until next time, “keep the rubber side down!”



Street & Smith’s Sports Business Journal, *“Expansion keeps NASCAR B2B rolling along”- Michael Smith

The New York Times, “New Sponsors Find Customers in Other Sponsors” – Andrew Adam Newman

IEG Sponsorship.com, *“IEG Sponsorship Report, Inaugural B2B Program Yields Positive Returns for NBA Team and Sponsors

CNBC – Inside Track “Refueling The Business of NASCAR” – Darren Rovell


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