Sunday, August 06, 2006

Toyota and the PCB Tour...

I was reading one of my numerous daily e-mail newsletters when I saw the following news blurb:

"TOYOTA MOTOR SALES USA: has become a 2006 sponsor for the Professional Championship Bullriders Tour. The tour, which kicked off in February, is held in small- to medium-sized markets throughout the Upper Midwest. Toyota's sponsorship will focus on generating awareness for its Tundra pickup brand. Financial terms of the sponsorship were not disclosed."

What is always interesting in a partnership of this nature is why would the Bull Riders tour take any money at all? If I did marketing for the Tour, I would have negotiated a deal where any Toyota Tundra television or print commercials nationwide had to include a bullriding theme.

It would seem this is an ideal partnership for both companies and their products since (pickup trucks and bullriding) complement one another.

Let us move on to the bigger issue at hand. Why hasn't bullriding sustained its popularity in the niche market sector? Two years ago, I remember bullriding started to get some major press in the national media outlets. Most times, getting this type of coverage is unheard of. Then, unfortunately, the sport lost it media momentum and became quiet once again.

Interesting facts about the Professional BullRiders Tour:

* According to an article I read, “The league test-marketed events in cities like Worcester Mass., and Tampa, places not known for having a bull-riding tradition. Yet the events sold out. The league is very fan-friendly and guarantees audiences that they will see only the best bull riders in the world by mandating that the circuit's top 45 athletes appear at every event. If a participant fails to show, he is off the tour.”

What other sport can offer that it athlete’s will appear every time. The Tour should be promoting the hell out of this stat.

* A Fox News story noted, “In 1998, PBR events had 33,912,988 television viewers. In 2004, that number grew to a whopping 104,277,264. Its growth from 2002 to 2004 alone was 51.93 percent, qualifying bull riding as the fastest-growing sport in America.”

* “And a PBR-commissioned study found that women were making heroes not of the cowboys but the bulls, some of which, like the notorious and now retired Little Yellow Jacket, have carved out fame of their own, even if it's on the backsides of the sport's less nimble cowboys.” -- Fox News

* “In 1995, the total sponsorship and advertising for the PBR was about $360,000... This year [2006], it’s projected to exceed $22 million, and includes heavy hitters such as Anheuser-Busch, Ford and the city of Las Vegas.” Fox News

What should bull riding do to generate national interest:

* When a sponsor wants to partner with the sport, negotiate deals so that the sport is included in any of the partner's commercials.

* This may seem far-fetched, but when was the last time that you saw a bull riding movie or a bullriding scene in a movie or television? The sport needs to work with Hollywood producers to generate ways to include the sport in television shows. If needed, PAY movies or television shows to include the sport. This is an easy way to gain exposure to a national audience.

* Is the sport on YourTube and Myspace? You cannot tell me that girls wouldn't be interested in seeing pictures of the bull riders. Teenage boys might want to follow the stats of the bull riders as well. You can have some intern post weekly pictures from the events on each of the riders’ sites. The interns can also get “pit notes” from the riders after an event and post them on the blog section of Myspace. In regards to YourTube, if the sport posted an amazing bull ride that got forwarded around, that could only help the sport.

Note: These two ideas would cost almost nothing to do and could generate decent coverage. What publication wouldn't cover a sport that was spending a lot of time raising awareness for its sport through Myspace? The sport would be looked at as being a risk taker, forward thinker and having the ability to think “outside the box.”

* Every year I heard ads that the professional bullriding tour was coming to Worcester. The tour needs to create a Fanfest event in Boston the day before to generate interest in the event. Even if it sells out every year in Worcester, it can hurt to drive up the demand of tickets at the event. I understand the tour may be coming from another event beforehand, but it is essential to generate interest beforehand. If you had an event in Boston, I would be shocked if the local television and newspaper media didn't attend. They are always looking for new and interesting stories. If I were the Bullrider PR person, I would set up a contest on one of those bullriding machines to see who could last the longest. You could get some amazing coverage from that type of event.

* The Tour should also create clinics beforehand for kids -- even something as simple as explaining about the sport and its challenges. If you get kids interested, they will want to attend and they will bring their parents. Also, if you create a “memorable experience” for the kids, a lot of times, they will become a fan for life.


At 11:06 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Who knew Squirrelly was so passionate about bull-riding?!

At 4:50 PM, Blogger Patterson said...

This is the strangest comment you've made so far in this blog:

"You cannot tell me that girls wouldn't be interested in seeing pictures of the bulls or the bull riders."


At 6:41 PM, Blogger Milne said...

Patterson: I will agree that didn't come out the way I wanted. I have made a revision.

At 11:35 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

He meant to write "Who wouldn't love to see hunky bull riders next to the sexy in those cowboy hats...phew...Im getting flushed"


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