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| Written by Marie Johnson, CMP

Sports Hospitality—The Pro Advantage

Incentives Sport Hospitality Recognition

Incentive programs vary wildly, from full-scale travel to Individual Incentive Travel (IIT) and sports hospitality events. Sporting events make a great centerpiece to a corporate event. Sport hospitality events can be scaled to suit your budget and can be held throughout the year, as there’s often some sort of sporting action taking place each month. Rather than relying on time-of-year, sporting events offer flexibility and diversity, while encouraging sportsmanlike camaraderie and excitement through a competitive landscape. Bottom line—Sporting events are fun. They bring together the most passionate of fans while watching a battle-royal accompanied by good food, accommodations, and activities. 

A pro advantage to these types of events is that they can be scaled to budget, from tickets for a match to corporate boxes to VIP treatment in a foreign country. Sports organizers may provide almost limitless access to great events and opportunities for corporate hospitality. 

Encourage VIPs, employees, and guests to socialize out of their working environment, grow engagement, cultivate appreciation and deliver unforgettable experiences. When you extend your hospitality invitations to potential or current clients, the return on investment can be even more significant. Liaising with clients outside of a typical business setting enables you to get to know them better and, therefore, helps you to identify their business needs. 

ACE your Guests Experience 

Take your sports hospitality events to the next level by upgrading your experience. Each sporting match, venue, and the city offers unique opportunities for branding, guest experiences, and VIP treatments: 

  • Offer door-to-door service – Get a private roundtrip transfer for your VIP guests
  • Upgrade to business class or suites
  • Offer custom room amenities tailored to your brand and event. For even more WOW, consider dual-branded merchandise.
  • Enjoy a round of golf/tennis or similar sport on nearby courses 
  • Book an appearance by a renowned athlete at an evening function
  • Extend days at practice rounds (if available) 
  • Events may offer individual tickets for stadium seating at prime locations 
  • Host individual sports lesson with your guests/team or VIPs (golf, tennis lessons, etc.) 

The PRO Shop: Custom Gifting 

Create a holistic experience for your guests by offering related gifts before, during, or after an event. This creates continued excitement during each phase on their journey. Gifts can be mailed, placed as a room drop, or an onsite gift “PRO Shop” can be created onsite based on each individual event. Each gift idea will creativity compliment the individual sporting event. There are so many amazing options from custom Olukai, Fry, and Nike shoes to Costa and Rayna Sunglasses, FILSON, TIMBUK2 or TOPA Bags, custom leather goods, YETI mugs, or branded electronics such as LST headphones and Muzan Audio Systems. 

To bring all these points together, we have included a couple of case studies below to illustrate the impact of sport hospitality events. 

Waste Management Open 2019

Client:               Finance Company, 75 Attendees 

Destination:     Phoenix, Arizona

Property:          JW Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge Resort & Spa

Duration:          3 Days

Our client’s goal was to elevate the client’s brand through an amazing guest experience while actively demonstrating the client’s cultural differences to their guests. Notable program elements and VIP touches include exclusive accommodations at the JW Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge Resort & Spa, premier ground transportation, VIP access to event, private skybox on the 18th hole at TPC Scottsdale and a special appearance by top talent, Johnny Miller. 

2019 Players Championship

Client:               Fortune 500 Company, two waves of 100+ guests

Destination:     Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida

Property:          Sawgrass Marriott Golf Resort & Spa

Duration:          4 Days

Our client’s goal was to drive revenue – both incremental and by closing open opportunities, build upon prior year’s success, provide a different experience for VIPs, and create ‘Status Go’ moments within each client touchpoint. Notable program elements and VIP touches included the following:

  • Exclusive accommodations at the Marriot Sawgrass Resort and Spa
  • Premier ground transportation
  • Optional activities included golf, tennis, etc., offerings at the TPC Performance Center and Spa
  • Exclusive co-branded gifts and merchandise
  • Meet and greet with pro Ricky Fowler
  • An oceanside dinner with other PGA tour talents
  • The brand featured in the on-course chalet hospitality area 
  • Talent appearances throughout the day 
  • Experiential gifting 
  • A custom PUMA shoe fitting
  • A chef manned station and signature cocktails for happy hour 
  • A snap bar selfie stand

Sports hospitality events, just like other incentive offerings allow for complete customization of each stage of your event. Come discover how we can leverage our business relationships to help your business craft a sporting experience that lasts a lifetime. 

Visit our Incentive Design Strategy page for a consultation on sports hospitality and other incentive programs and opportunities or call 262-835-3553 to speak to an M&IW Hospitality Hero.