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So you have a great idea for a new event for your facility: It would bring in hundreds of athletes who would stay multiple days and bring in thousands of dollars to the local economy.
Or, you’d like to expand your facility, adding fields or courts, which would allow you to bring in bigger, better events. All sounds good, but the bottom line, as they say, is the bottom line: How to pay for all of this?
It’s a universal issue that all organizations, rights holders, facility operators, high school and college athletic departments or team managers face. You may have great ideas, but you don’t have the resources to fund them. Where does the money come from?
As a sports corporation or CVB, you might ask your sales staff to acquire more sponsorships or partnerships. (what your sales staff says after you leave the room, well, that’s out of our control)
We already know that more colleges and universities, especially those outside the “Power Five” conferences, are looking to beer sales at games to help fund the athletic department. A year ago, there were 21 on-campus football stadiums where any fan of legal age could grab a brew. That’s more than twice as many as five years ago.
Troy University Athletic Director John Hartwell estimated that beer would account for $200,000 in commissions for the season. According to its contract with concessionaire Sodexo, Troy receives 43 percent of gross beer sales at its 30,000-seat stadium, or better than $2 for every $5 beer.
But sometimes the money comes to you, through an endowment. A trend that started in the Ivy League and spread to other schools is now becoming the new way to save that school from paying a salary.
The most recent example? Richard Corbett, a Florida real-estate executive who served as the business manager of Robert F. Kennedy’s 1968 presidential campaign, gave $35 million to the University of Notre Dame, from which he graduated in 1960.
Of the total, $25 million will go for a new building to house the anthropology and psychology departments and a digital-media center. He also directed $10 million of the gift to endow the university’s head football coach position.
In another case, Xavier’s men’s basketball coach, Chris Mack, is now the Sedler Family Men’s Head Basketball Coach after Tom and Genny Sedler provided Xavier with the endowment to fund Coach Mack’s salary. The endowment basically allows the university to take the money that would go to salaries and use it somewhere else.
The academic side has been doing this for decades, as donors have funded the “so-and-so-chair for chemical engineering research” at universities around the country. So how can you get the endowment idea to work for you?
It might come in the form of a civic-minded philanthropist who wants to fund a new soccer or basketball complex, or a company that can use foundation dollars to help a community cause while getting its name out in public.
This is a time we all have to be creative to find sponsorship and partnership dollars. Doing a form of an endowment might be the way to get your project from the drawing board, into the community.