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Keeping the locals happy
By KYLE PARKS
© St. Petersburg Times, published September 24, 2000
Larry Silver was only half joking.
"The Super Bowl is being held in Tampa, but we get treated like the game is in Cleveland," said Silver, marketing chief for St. Petersburg-based Raymond James Financial.
Even though Super Bowl XXXV will be played at Raymond James Stadium, the big corporate presence will be by national companies, not local ones.
Companies such as Ford, Coca-Cola and Anheuser-Busch have the tens of millions in marketing dollars to buy such amenities as corporate tents and blocks of 100-plus Super Bowl tickets.
With relatively few tickets available for local companies, the Tampa Bay Super Bowl XXXV Task Force could offer no more than 50 tickets to each of its sponsors.
Its solution: Pitch the locals on how they can participate in the other activities during Super Bowl week, including a Saturday night party for them at the Times Bayfront Arena.
The 16 task force sponsors each will get four to 50 or 60 game tickets. But they'll also be offered spots in a task force corporate tent sponsored by Raymond James, special seats for the Gasparilla celebration and sponsorship opportunities for events.
"There are all kinds of ways the sponsors can do things for their clients," said Ken Elder, director of sales and marketing for the task force. "For some people, eight tickets to the Super Bowl golf tournament might be something they'd really go for."
The local sponsors have put up a combined $2-million, half the task force's total budget. How the companies get their name out during the week depends in part on how imaginative they can be.
JCB, a heavy-equipment company, might have had the most unusual idea to make a lasting impression. At the news conference announcing the sponsors, the British company brought in its "dancing diggers," a group of backhoe operators who do choreographed movements to music.
As for Raymond James, it doesn't hurt that its name is on the stadium.
"A friend of mine who works for a larger New York brokerage firm just called me up," Silver said. "He was distressed that he was going to be bringing clients to a game at Raymond James Stadium."
The local sponsors
BPB Celotex Corp.
Florida Power Corp.
Florida Sports Foundation
Home Shopping Network
National Graphic Imaging
Norsk Hydro Americas
Raymond James Financial
TECO Energy Inc.