The Bikes, Blades and Boards Tour
Tourism, Sport & Leisure Marketing 4320 A
October 1, 2005
Prepared For: Professor D. Zwick
Prepared By: Alessandra Caruana
Case #1 - B?: The Bikes, Blades and Boards Tour
Bronwen Douglass, a first year executive at ESPN, the world’s largest cable network and a subsidiary of ABC Inc., previously worked for Advantage International, a major sports
marketing firm. Ms. Douglass has been given her first major responsibility for ESPN. She must
create a target list of potential sponsors for the B? Tour. The B? Tour is an “aggressive” sports
competition for professional BMX stunt bikers, in-line skaters and skateboarders. It was created
to capitalize on the wave of interest and participation in the emerging sports of aggressive in-line
skating, stunt biking, & skateboarding and to build upon ESPN’s X-games brand equity, which
serves to bundle market the image of youth and enthusiasm to ESPN viewers, sponsors, and
advertisers. Although smaller than the X-Games, the B? Tour caters to the same target audience
of “alternative” males, aged thirteen to eighteen. As entrance to the actual venue is free and the
tour is only televised on ESPN, it is imperative that Ms. Douglass secures enough sponsorship
for the event.
Ms. Douglass must create a sponsorship proposal that is distinguished from thousands of other sponsorship proposals and must decide on a beverage company that will be best suited for
the sponsor-event match. In addition, Ms. Douglass must be able to quantify the results and show
the potential sponsor how sponsoring this event will help them not only increase their revenues,
but also increase their brand awareness in their core market.
In order to get the best sponsor-event match and have a better chance of the sponsor
actually agreeing to the proposed deal, Ms. Douglass must find the beverage company whose
target market, goals and image are closest to that of the B? Tour. Ms. Douglass, therefore must
choose from the following brands: Pepsi, Coke, Evian, Perrier, and Gatorade as to whose
sponsorship participation would lead to a win-win partnership.
In order to evaluate each alternative available, it is imperative to conduct an analysis of
3 the BTour event. The evaluation will be based on the fundamental marketing principles namely the four P’s. As well, a detailed evaluation of the segmentation, targeting and positioning of each
potential sponsor will be discussed. The final step of the analysis will be conducted through a
3The B event consists of two main products, one being the core product of extreme sport, i.e. extreme in-line skating, biking and skateboarding, and the potential product is the extreme
gaming lifestyle. The aim is to capitalize on the growing extreme sports market through events.
The methods of distribution are television via ESPN/ESPN2 as well as through sponsor
affiliations and their methods of distribution.
ESPN is investing in the event through airtime and prize money, yet the event itself is free
and accessible by all viewers and participants. Currently any promotions that are conducted will
be on-site creative components and will likely be affiliated with the main sponsor.
3The strengths of B include the following:
3? B is broadcasted through ESPN which is a leader in sports broadcasting and televising
3? B has the ability to build off of the existing brand equity of the X-Games which was
created by ESPN2
? There is a current shift towards extreme gaming and a growing trend in the in-line skating
(23 million in-line skaters), BMX biking (28% growth in the first quarter of 1997) and
? The target audience and the growing extreme sports market presents a profitable
opportunity for potential even sponsors, which in effect presents a beneficial relationship
3? B obtained cooperation from sports associations such as the ASA (Aggressive skating
association, The Bicycle Stunt Series etc. These association help gain credibility for the
3The weaknesses of B include the following:
3? B Tour is a one day sporting event with a complementary entrance fee, therefore funds
for this event must be attained through sponsorship
3? Finding sponsors may be a difficult task since B is a one day event and sponsors may not
be inclined to invest
3The following are a list of opportunities and threats for the B Tour:
3? Due to the growing extreme sports market, B has the opportunity to exploit the
opportunity by hosting multiple yearly events by gaining brand awareness and increasing
brand equity among the target segment
3? Since B is a one day event, sponsorship costs may be minimal in comparison to week long events such as X-Games therefore potential sponsors may be more willing to invest
in this event
3? B is able to build off the brand equity experienced by the X-games and create new
3demand for the B brand tour
3? B also has the opportunity to co-brand the event with other extreme sports producers
such as apparel companies that target the alternative males segment
? Due to the event size, it may be difficult to convince sponsors to invest in the one day
3? Since the X-Games already exist, it may be difficult to differentiate B
3Please refer to Appendix A for a network model of B.
ALTERNATIVES & EVALUATION
As mentioned previously, Ms. Douglass is considering five main choices for the beverage
sponsor position. Each choice should be investigated and researched in order to gain a clear
understanding of each brand’s goals and future objectives. Therefore the method for evaluation
of the following alternatives will be based on STP: Segmentation, Targeting and Positioning of
the potential sponsors company that would provide the best mutually beneficial sponsor-event
Target: Universal/Mass Market
Positioning: Leader in Cola beverages
Coca-Cola is the main sport beverage sponsor, with a worldwide market share of 42%.
The company sponsors many events with major team sports such as baseball, basketball, and
hockey. They are currently looking into the bottled water market, as well as an opportunity to
test the market’s response among certain demographic groups. The B? tour could provide the
perfect opportunity for many people to do random “taste-tests” and provide Coca-Cola with
feedback on their new product. However, historically Coca-Cola has not been eager to enter the
extreme sports market as they do not feel it’s a large enough market for them to promote their products in. It has been Coca-Cola’s practise to allow Pepsi-Cola to dominate this market as opposed to spending millions of dollars battling their rivals in a market that they consider quite
3 event does not fit the traditional market segment nor is it trying to targeting insignificant. The B
a mass market, rather a specific one. Therefore the overall goals of both organizations are not in
line with each other.
Pepsi – Cola
Segmentation: Youthful generation
Target: Universal market – young and young at heart
Pepsi-Cola, Coca-Cola’s main rival and sponsor of the Winter and Summer X-Games,
would seem like the obvious choice for the official sponsor of the B? Tour. Their creativity in
marketing works extremely well with the alternative set and they try to position themselves as
the producer of drinks for people who are youthful and energetic, which is a great match for the
B? Tour. In addition, Pepsi-Cola is launching new bottled water, Aquafina, with the goal of it
becoming the top-selling bottled water in the United States. By having the option of giving out
samples of their new product at the tour site, Pepsi would be able to increase the brand awareness
of their new product, which would thus assist them in reaching their goal of market expansion.
Although Pepsi-Cola, with annual global media spending close to 1.4 billion dollars, could easily
afford to sponsor the B? Tour, the company may hesitate since they already invest heavily in the
X-treme Sport market with no other valid competitors. Pepsi already has a sponsorship deal with
the X-Games, and thus may be unlikely to open new contracts, with a smaller tour such as B?.
Segmentation: The active sports athlete
Target: Male Athletes
Positioning: Leader of sport drink market
Gatorade, considered as “the original sports drink”, was first created for the athletes at the
University of Florida in the late 1960’s and then made available to the general public in the early
1970’s. Although Gatorade has sponsored more traditional sports such as hockey and football,
with the emerging trend of extreme sports becoming more mainstream, B? would fit Gatorade’s
marketing strategies. In addition, since Gatorade has done little in the past with extreme events,
the B? tour provides a great opportunity for them to penetrate and yield high growth in the
market. It is within this same market, where one of Gatorade’s main competitors, All-Sport
whose parent company is Pepsi Co., is currently dominating. Since they have just lost their
sponsorship with the NHL, Gatorade has extra capital to invest in new profitable avenues that
could lead to a dominating market presence in the future. However, the one key issue that Ms.
Douglass must be aware of is that Gatorade has been historically associated with traditional
sports. Therefore, they may be unwilling or unlikely to take a risk differentiating from their
traditional base, thus Ms. Douglass must be ready to prove to Gatorade that a partnership with
the B? would be a profitable and progressive step for the company.
Target: Yuppies – upscale consumers who purchase premium goods and services
Positioning: Premium Sparkling water company
Perrier, owned by The Perrier Group, appears to be the choice that Ms. Douglass is most
excited about. Perrier is looking to promote its new national brand of water, Valvert, a brand that
they hope will compete head to head with Evian. Ms. Douglass feels that this would be a key
aspect to focus on in the sponsorship proposal, since the B? tour would be able to provide Perrier with a means of gaining exposure for their product, increasing brand awareness and paving the wave for growth in the US market. Perrier also has previous experience sponsoring popular sports, such as the French Open. However, as is the case with Evian, the target market of Perrier, Valvert and B? are not congruent. Perrier targets an older, higher-class market and does not consider youths as the key purchasers of its products. As well, Perrier would not be a good choice since they may still have lingering negative perceptions over their product recall in the early 90’s, when there were public concerns regarding the discovery of traces of highly toxic benzene in their bottles.
Segmentation: Urban fitness market
Positioning: Premium bottled water
Evian, owned by Great Brands of Europe, a subsidiary of Group Danone, would be a fairly interesting, yet risky choice. Evian spends 10 million dollars a year in advertising, as they try to position themselves as the number one choice in the “high end” water market. Evian has attempted to increase their brand awareness by sponsoring tennis, volleyball and cycling tournaments, which usually tailor to a high-class, white market. Although in the past Evian has not been targeting a youth market, there is great opportunity for expansion. However, it has been Evian’s position to target solely to the “urban fitness/yuppie” market, which would not be a good fit with the B? target audience, who are much younger and more rebellious. Even Evian’s new
Volvic brand of water tailors more to an older market that enjoys outdoor activities such as hiking, and other non-extreme sports.
After looking at what each Beverage Company and brand has to offer, Ms. Douglass should decide to target Gatorade as the principal beverage sponsor of the B? tour. It is highly
important that Ms. Douglass not let her personal preference for Perrier cloud her judgement of
which sponsor would provide the best match for the B? Tour. Gatorade is seen as the “original
sports drink” and targets mostly youths. This would be a great fit with the target market of the B?
tour. Although Gatorade, as previously mentioned, sponsors more mainstream sports, the fact
that extreme sports have become more conventional in the past few years, gives Gatorade the
opportunity to penetrate a market that is expanding, while still maintaining their core market.
Another reason why Gatorade should be Ms. Douglass’ first choice, is the fact that since they
have just lost their sponsorship deal with the NHL, they have the extra capital to invest in a new
market that they have not previously put a lot of emphasis on in the past. Since the B? Tour is a
comparatively smaller event, this would be the perfect opportunity for Gatorade to test whether
there is a good fit between themselves and the extreme market, without having to invest a large
amount as required by the X-Games. Please see Appendix B for a further description on the
Gatorade company. Perrier, while a less obvious choice, has the most to gain from the B?
association. However, there is a very large risk for Perrier, since they have never positioned
themselves in the youth market before, thus allowing for huge disappointment if the target
market does not respond positively. This move can also prove to have detrimental effects on
current brand, causing brand dilution.
In order for the B? event to be successful, beverage sponsorship must be attained.
Therefore, a contingency plan must be established, in the chance that Gatorade does not want to
sponsor the B? Tour. The next best option, for Ms. Douglass would be to approach Pepsi Co.,
specifically their All-Sport brand, to be the official sponsor of the B? Tour. This would a good
second option since Pepsi Co. not only dominates the extreme sports market with Mountain Dew
(sponsoring the Summer X-Games), but also because Pepsi Co.’s target market is youth oriented; a great fit with the B? Tour. Pepsi Co. as previously discussed, also has the budget to accept the
proposed sponsorship deal and its creative communications are a good match for the
“alternative” youth market that the B? tour is tailored towards. Having All-Sport sponsor the tour
would also give Pepsi Co. the opportunity to increase its brand awareness and possibly establish
itself as “the sports drink” choice of the “alternative” youth.
The ultimate cost of a project of this calibre, is if Ms. Douglass selects the wrong sponsor
3and loses valuable time and money that would have gone into the preparation of the B tour.
Therefore, before making her choice, Ms. Douglass has to carefully consider all possible
After choosing which company to approach, Ms. Douglass should prepare a sponsorship
package that will give the sponsors enough background information on the tour. Each package
should be tailored for the specific sponsor, so that they would fully understand why it would be
beneficial to sponsor the tour and what sponsorship options are available for the sponsor in order
to select the appropriate marketing mix (television commercials, billboards, etc) that would