Local Sponsorship Lessons from the Sheehy Lexus of Annapolis Melges Worlds

Local sponsorship is a much overlooked source of funding for many. While many teams and events dream of getting huge funding from national or even global brands, the reality is that in a lot of cases, the sponsors that have the most to gain are those who can sell products to the audience that is at the event.

The other advantage that local sponsorship has over working with bigger companies is that often you can talk directly with the decision maker without having to run the gauntlet of sponsorship committees and regional boardroom presentations and self important gate-keepers.

This year, the Melges 24 Worlds will be held in Annapolis, MD, USA. The title sponsor of the event will be Sheehy Lexus of Annapolis. Just as any ‘corporate’ sponsorship program seeks to make the most of the positive associations surrounding an event, Sheehy Lexus see the Melges 24 Worlds as a shocase to prove that they¬† provide to their customers and members a world-class owner/membership experience.

Paul LaRochell, General Manager of Sheehy Lexus of Annapolis explains how he sees the synergies:

“To race a Melges 24 is without doubt the pinnacle of grand-prix sports-boat sailing. To drive a Lexus is to experience the perfect blend of automotive performance and luxury. To own a Lexus from Sheehy Lexus of Annapolis is to experience something even more: a recognition of your personal needs that goes beyond offering expert service and convenient hours. The synergy between us, the Melges 24 class and Eastport Yacht Club is clear. So, when the invitation came through to become title sponsor of the Melges 24 Worlds, it was an opportunity we jumped at. We look forward to a thrilling competition and a hugely rewarding partnership.”

But even for a local deal, sponsorship is only half the story. Naming rights alone won’t sell more cars, so activation is key. Putting together a local sponsorship deal requires all the elements that a national marketing director would expect, so during the regatta competitors will be able to inspect a wide range of Lexus cars, which will be on display at the regatta center.

The Sheehy Lexus of Annapolis Melges 2009 24 World Championship will be hosted by the Eastport Yacht Club, Annapolis, from October 23 until October 31 and already 54 crews from across the USA, Canada and Europe have confirmed their entries. Entries close on October 9 and further details about the regatta, including the online entry form, are available from the Event Web Site – www.melges24worlds2009.com