Developing sponsorship support may not apply to everyone. However, if you are able to secure meaningful support from organizations that are ahead of the curve and understand the value of looking sharp within the active, loyal, and savvy video game community, it can really boost the quality and overall scope of your video game event.
Startup companies, new tournaments, and in general, organizations that need additional support to host an event, may want to consider developing sponsorship support to help fund gaming events. Larger organizations that are looking to enhance their concept with gaming can also consider sponsorship for reduced costs, prize ideas, and increased resources. No matter the reason why, the fact is, sponsorship development is vital to many organizers.
Sponsors are most often looking for a way to gain awareness to their product/company, see a solid return on investment (ROI), connect with this active and hard to reach demographic, and work with people they trust. This element of event preparation is a reflection of your business skills and how you’re able to presenta win/win to your established connections. Unfortunately, this can lead to many people taking the wrong approach to finding meaningful sponsors.
Approach sponsorship development as a creative professional. Bring ideas, clear proposals, and facts to support the idea of getting behind your event. Sponsorship development like farming, not speed dating.
It is tempting to organize a sponsorship packet and just start cold calling companies that you think might fit the event demographic. Although this aggressive approach might work and it may be the only option to get the ball rolling, it’s unlikely that you’ll develop a lasting relationship with the sponsor or the people involved with the sponsoring organization. If you are able to entice companies to support your event, be sure to show your appreciation and commit yourself to giving that new sponsor a a valuable experience. If you’re running a credible event that meets expectations, it’s always easier to sell this concept to an organization that has already said yes in the past!
Back to the farming analogy, a seasoned video game event manager can utilize the relationships that have formed from other work, business associations, past event connections, and people where trust has already been established. In short, a good business professional will understand and utilize the value of networking.
Business networking is important in many aspects of video game event management, but especially in the sponsorship development process. Consider a potential sponsor as a valuable business contact and although personality is naturally important, treat the potential sponsor with respect and professionalism. The more professional, personal, and prepared you are; the more likely a sponsor will be to support your ideas and get involved at the level you propose.
Another common fact to consider is that many sponsors find it easier to say yes, if product placement can be considered instead of cash. We all know cash is king, but be prepared to utilize a sponsor’s products or services, if that is the only way a sponsor can get involved. Be careful however, as too many sponsors and not enough cash, can leave an event top heavy and lacking true financial support.
Being creative with your sponsorship options can make connecting with different types of organizations easier. Maybe there’s a company that you have a great relationship, but the age demographic is too young? Try something that target the parent’s of your attendees. A sponsor that sees you performing in the best interest of their organization, will be easier to please and often support your event with more resources that expected.
Attendee satisfaction is the most important goal to achieve, but sponsor satisfaction may be the key to long-term success.
As details start coming together, it’s important to spread the word with as much lead time as possible.
Promoting a video game event that is light years away is not needed, but if you’re hoping to have a regional event that may require your attendees to travel, giving enough time to arrange those details is very important. Along with travel and accommodations, it often takes time for players to find a team to lock in with, so this extra time can aid this process for your attendees as well.
On the flip side, going live too soon, without a solid amount of details is also dangerous. The gaming community is full of “15 year old CEOs” who announce an event that may never even happen. If you want to separate yourself from this negative representation, make sure you have enough details to prove that you have a legitimate video game event that people will want to attend. Along with insuring the event will take place, doing your financial math to insure your prize packages are realistic is very important. If you host a single event and don’t payout what was expected, your representation will forever be tarnished.
When everything is in place, depending on the size of your video game tournament or event, you’ll have different promotional needs. While a Facebook event page may work for a small local gathering, something more substantial should almost always have a dedicated website. This dedicated website can be a great foundation for your promotional effort. It provides details, updates, past highlights if applicable, and even event registration. Remember, as a primary representation of your event, this event-oriented website really needs to be solid.
After the foundation of your event marketing and promotional efforts, other outlets such as Twitter, Facebook, gaming forums, and even printed fliers can really go a long ways. Depending on your advertising budget, banner ads around the web, radio and TV commercials, and even billboards can really boost the awareness for your event to a variety of demographics.
If you have a limited budget, which most people do, a solid website, utilizing free online outlets, and a small amount of professional looking fliers can really go a long ways. Also, during the actual event, don’t forget to implement ideas that will help promote future events. Assuming you host a great event, the gamers who you’ve already “sold”, should be the easiest to bring back next time.
A “gaming station” is a general term to describe the equipment needed to present audio, video, and game play. A gaming station example would be one television with sound, perhaps headset connectivity, a game console, game disc, and the necessary controllers for all players. The specifics within a gaming station will be different, so this general term can be used to describe where an attendee experiences playing the video game at your event. Whether it’s a 5ft projector, or a small high-definition monitor, understanding this term is important for the rest of this discussion, so let’s continue.
Many people have a computer, console, a few games, controllers, and other types of gaming equipment, but organizing multiple gaming stations can quickly become an issue. Professional video game event management companies often own their own gaming stations and the equipment needed to manage varies events. If you plan to organize your own, you must make sure you have a plan in order. The less you can rely on others, the smoother and more controlled the event will be.
Borrowing equipment or partnering with other organizations that have equipment is a neat way of bringing people and equipment together at the same time. The connection level you have within the gaming industry will vary, so this is not always an option.
The easiest way to manage your equipment needs is to just buy all that you need. Money doesn’t grow on trees however, so if you’re only looking at a limited amount of gaming events, renting or hiring an event management company often makes more sense. A few good initial questions might be…
Q: Is your event large or small?
Q: How many gaming stations will satisfy your gaming station goals?
Q: Will the gaming stations support your time schedule?
Q: Will the amount of equipment satisfy the experience you plan to share with attendees?
Q: Where will you get the equipment you need?
Q: Is there a cost associated in buying or renting equipment?
Enough gaming stations to allow game play to flow smoothly, without overwhelming the space with unused gaming stations is what you’re looking to achieve. While some video game events require only a few gaming stations, the more gaming stations you need, the more planning and preparation you should expect.
Like any project, more hands on deck can go along ways. It’s important to collaborate with people who will help in meaningful ways and not just a friend who wants to tag along for the ride. Seek out partners who can generate positive develop on a variety of different fronts.
This team building process can be internal organization for a larger company, but for a person who has less available resources, this process often requires you to reach beyond your own community to connect with others who have event management experience or skills that can help achieve goals. For instance, finding someone who has interest and experience on the technology front can go a long ways. An individual who understands how to professionally build business connections is also a key position. In some cases, consulting with a company who is already involved video game event management, such as Jet Set Studio, can really expedite the team building process.
In contrast, “too many cooks in the kitchen” can not only slow down your overall development, but also cause conflicting opinions to negatively affect the overall event. Be patient as you form a team and make sure the vision for the team is aligned. This extra attention in early stages will pay dividends down the road.
- Still want more? Perhaps this insight has solidified that you should partner with a professional firm who will take your ideas and turn them into gold. Lucky for you, Jet Set Studio is ready and waiting. Contact Us today.