Presenting sponsor on board 'within weeks' for 2019 World Beach Games
By Jonathan Rest in Prague
A presenting sponsor for the inaugural World Beach Games, to be held in San Diego, USA in 2019, is expected to be announced by the middle of this month.
It will be the first commercial partner brought on board by the San Diego Exploratory Foundation [SDEF], the host and exclusive marketing rights-holder of the World Beach Games, and while the details are still being finalised, Sportcal understands it is likely to be a media company that will help with the distribution of the event.
The SDEF has acquired all marketing rights for the games from the Association of National Olympic Committees, which owns the event.
While talks have been held with agencies to facilitate the sale of sponsorship and media rights, the organising committee has taken the decision to market all rights in-house.
There will be five tiers of sponsors, headlined by a presenting sponsor, while the broadcast focus will be digital-first.
Speaking to Sportcal on the sidelines of the ANOC general assembly in Prague, Vincent Mudd, chairman of the SDEF board, said: “The concept of these games, which is a little different, is we are trying to figure out how to develop a production model that says we can get these games delivered on a device anywhere in the world, crossing borders, crossing boundaries. So it’s more important to get the social media digital side right first than it is necessarily on the TV side.”
That, in essence, would point to a deal with a major, global social media company with a growing appetite for streaming sport, perhaps the likes of Facebook, Google, Twitter and Amazon.
Mudd would not be drawn on the identity of the official broadcast partner, but noted: “It would be great if any of those guys called us. But conceptually as you are watching what all of those platforms are doing, that is exactly what we are talking about.
“There are groups out there right now that are trying to control content. People love live content and we think if we do this right, we are not just talking about the content created for the games themselves, we are talking about the social media relationships that our fans and athletes are going to have between now and the games. This is not just about the six days of competition, it’s about the stories of the athletes and how they prepare for the games.”
On the decision to sell sponsorship rights in-house, Mudd explained: “As we went out looking for sponsorship organisations, we kept getting hit with the same one roadblock, which was ‘how many editions have there been?’ No-one wants to be the first guy to go out and sell something brand new.
“But for us it has worked out pretty well, because we are the ones who can explain exactly what the event is going to be, what the deliverables are and most importantly what the sponsorship value is going to be. There are very few events that hit that 18-34 year-old demographic and we are going to hit it smack in the middle. For any sponsor that has been looking to find a way to get into this marketplace - a marketplace that doesn’t watch TV, that consumes everything on their mobile, that is looking for authenticity – this is it.
“We are very flexible. The earlier we can get sponsors involved, the better we can shape the look and feel of games to their benefit.”
The budget for the 2019 World Beach Games comes in at just under $39 million, and Mudd said the organising committee “will not spend a cent over that.”
Two years ago when San Diego was first awarded the games, originally due to take place in September 2017, the budget was $130 million, later cut to $57 million when the new date was agreed upon.
Since then, however, the organisers and ANOC have settled on a six-day programme, down from 10, with all events taking place on Mission Beach rather than at sites across the city. In addition, there will be 15 sports (17 disciplines) in the inaugural games, down from 20, meaning fewer athletes, fewer hotel nights and less infrastructure required.
Mudd noted: “All those things together drove down the cost of the games.”
He continued: “When we look at what the games could be valued at, today it’s $100 million. However, if we do our job right, if we get out there and market it and build the brand awareness, the value of these games could be…I don’t even want to put a value on it.
“It will be very, very, very valuable.”
The 17 disciplines on the sports programme were today revealed as: 3x3 basketball, BMX freestyle, beach handball, beach kata, standup paddle, shortboard and park terrain (both skateboarding), beach soccer, open water swimming, beach tennis, duathlon, beach volleyball 4x4, bouldering, wakeboarding, waterski jump, beach wrestling and kiteboarding.
The organisers said that discussions continue with the related international federations and that the final schedule may change.