New sponsorship categories could help Olympic federations

New sponsorship categories could help Olympic federations

CHICAGO (AP) — Elk Grove Village is holding its own version of “The Bachelor.” It has a nice green rose with five zeroes behind it.

Now it’s looking for the right partner.

With Olympic leaders concerned about funding heading into the Tokyo Games, Elk Grove is looking to sponsor a U.S. federation in another bid to generate exposure for the Chicago suburb after attracting some lucrative attention for its partnership with college football's Bahamas Bowl.

“We’re the bachelor and we’re going out to the bachelorettes, or we’re the bachelorette going out to the bachelors,” Mayor Craig Johnson said.

While Elk Grove is looking to have a little fun with the project — it's asking for potential suitors to send in videos it plans to post online and show on its TV station — the Olympic movement also could benefit from a blueprint for more creative advertising and marketing deals.

The Tokyo Games were pushed back to 2021 because of the coronavirus pandemic, and the next Winter Olympics begin about six months later in Beijing — creating a challenging situation for some national governing bodies of summer and winter federations.

The U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee announced last month it was eliminating 51 positions and furloughing 33 more as part of a dramatic cut in staffing designed to trim up to 20% of its budget.

“Traditionally for an NGB or a sports team, there’s a set amount of categories or, you know, kind of more standard categories of companies that would spend,” said Dan Migala, the co-founder of 4FRONT, a sports marketing firm that is helping Elk Grove with the project.

“But then when you open up a new category, I think it opens the door to creativity. It opens the door to doing something that’s never been done before."

There are signs that Olympic federations might be casting a wider net when it comes to potential sponsors. USA Triathlon announced a three-year deal with Connecticut-based Athletic Brewing Company last week, opening a new category for the NGB in non-alcoholic beer.

Chuck Menke, the chief marketing officer for USA Triathlon, said the coronavirus pandemic and the longer Summer Olympics cycle have affected how the federation works with its partners and potential sponsors.

“In the sense that we have to be sensitive to the landscape and to how different brands are being impacted,” he said. “So, for example, we were having several conversations prior to the outbreak of COVID-19, and many of those conversations have had to be paused, you know, and understandably so. So we’re trying to be very flexible.”

Elk Grove, which is just northwest of Chicago and borders O’Hare International Airport, is pivoting from college football to the Olympics after two years. The Bahamas deal — the first time a non-tourist municipality sponsored a bowl game, according to ESPN — led to valuable earned media for the village and a new Love’s Travel Stops & Country Stores fueling station.

Elk Grove trustees held a special meeting Monday morning and cleared the way for the village to send a formal request for a proposal to Olympic governing bodies. The sponsorship is worth $100,000 to the U.S. federation, and Elk Grove also plans to spend approximately $200,000 on commercials and digital marketing as part of its “Makers Wanted” campaign promoting a local industrial park.

Johnson said the bowl partnership worked out well for Elk Grove, but “it ran its course with us.” Patriotism is one of the biggest appeals when it comes to the possible connection with the Olympics.

“We're supporting, we're basically marrying ourselves with American-made products and American athletes and Elk Grove, the biggest business park in North America, we’re one of the biggest (makers) of American products in America,” Johnson said. “What a perfect marriage. So I think that's where the value is going to come out.”


Jay Cohen can be reached at


More AP sports: and


News Related


Trump’s ‘mission accomplished’ moment is premature and deadly. We have not defeated COVID.

Desperate for crowds and adoration, Trump has put his most fervent supporters at risk of getting a deadly disease. Future historians will be astonished. Read more »

NFLPA president JC Tretter says NFL is putting season, players at risk with its coronavirus approach

NFL Players Association president JC Tretter said Tuesday the NFL is putting the 2020 season at risk with its coronavirus approach, calling on the league to better “prioritize player safety.” “Like many other... Read more »

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro says he tested positive for the coronavirus

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro says he has tested positive for COVID-19 after months of downplaying the virus’ severity. Bolsonaro confirmed the test results while wearing a mask and... Read more »

Venice Film Festival forges ahead amid COVID-19 pandemic with reduced lineup

The show will go on for the Venice Film Festival in September, but with a few modifications due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Organizers said Tuesday that they are pushing forward with plans for... Read more »

Amtrak offers buy-one, get-one promotion on its sleeper trains amid COVID-19 — with a catch

Amtrak wants you to have sweet dreams the next time you travel — so much so that it’s sweetening the deal on its sleeper “roomettes.” The rail service is offering a buy-one-get-one-free discount... Read more »

Florida teen treated with hydroxychloroquine at home before dying of COVID-19, report says

FORT MEYERS, Fla. – The family of a 17-year-old Florida girl who died last month from COVID-19 treated her symptoms at home for nearly a week before taking her to a hospital, a... Read more »

Mookie Betts worried MLB coronavirus testing woes could prevent him from ever playing for Dodgers

During nearly four months away from the game, Mookie Betts said he “stayed away from baseball to keep myself sane.” It’s not hard to understand why. The 2018 American League Most Valuable Player... Read more »

Tom Hanks doesn’t get ‘how common sense has somehow been put into question’ with coronavirus

Read more »

Can Gov. DeSantis force Florida schools to reopen amid the coronavirus pandemic? Some school leaders seem doubtful.

PALM BEACH, Fla. — As concern about the state order spread online, some school leaders said: Not so fast. As Florida educators puzzle over how to start the new academic year, Gov. Ron... Read more »

Texas surpasses 200,000 coronavirus cases after 4th of July holiday weekend

AUSTIN, Texas – Texas reached 200,000 total COVID-19 cases Monday, just 17 days after crossing the 100,000 threshold, a figure that took the state nearly four months to hit. The grim milestone came... Read more »