A new web platform called Sponsor Pitch aims to make the process of
linking brands with properties open, easy and cheap enough to
accommodate partnerships of every size, so everyone from Dokken to
doppelgangers such as Rokken can find funding.
Music sponsorships make up a large but not overwhelming
proportion of the opportunities available through Sponsor Pitch,
which is in closed beta and set for public release in the first
quarter of 2009. Founder Kris Mathis said by the official launch he
hopes to feature an assortment of properties that extend far beyond
"We wanted to bring together opportunities that span across
genres," said the former sponsorship consultant for Edelman. "As a
marketer, you don't care whether an opportunity is in sports, music
or fashion, as long as it matches your criteria."
'As few hurdles as possible'
There are few limits to participation. Sponsor Pitch collects no
fees for use, which creates opportunities for small of sponsors and
properties that may have been priced out of other services for
managing and finding sponsorships. Mr. Mathis said the site will
generate revenue through ads, premium services and customized pitch
"What I wanted to see was a true representation of all
opportunities out there," Mr. Mathis said. "The best way to do that
is to create as few hurdles as possible and focus on helping
The idea is that, instead of waiting for and evaluating pitches,
marketers and property owners can seek out and engage one other
directly. The platform does not handle the transactions, nor does
it serve any role in negotiating contracts.
Lure of direct access
For Adrian Santos, founder and owner of Revolt Marketing, who
represents brands including Scion, the lure of direct access to
decision makers is enticing. His agency lines up sponsors and
properties looking to tap into the 18-to-25-year-old hipster crowd
for live events, and he's in Sponsor Pitch's beta-test group.
"There's a whole sea of companies that don't know I exist, and
trying to find them is a big hurdle," he says. "Anything to make
that connection closer and faster, I want to know about it."
Mr. Santos said he makes most of his connections through
traditional means such as trade shows, cold calls and e-mail. And
while he said those methods of lining up sponsors will dominate his
work for the foreseeable future, they frequently return more agency
players like him than sponsors willing to spend money.
Tough to get through
Zach Bruce, who works at C3 Presents lining up sponsors for
festivals such as Lollapalooza, said finding and getting through to
big brands is a challenge even with properties as large as his
"It would be nice to have a database with all the agencies and
brands that are looking to do events, and then we could pull from
that list," he said. "The relationship part of the industry is
huge. Brand campaigns are trying to align bands with cool brands,
and it's tough trying to find those avenues."
Although companies like his are hardly short on offers from
brands, Mr. Bruce, who hasn't signed up for the beta test, said he
recognizes the inherent difficulty smaller players have initiating
conversations. "Cold e-mails and cold calls are so unresponsive,"
he said. There should be some database to connect. If there's no
name recognition, it's virtually impossible."
According to IEG, live-music sponsorships, unlike record sales, are
growing and expected to top $1.04 billion this year. Sponsor Pitch
provides a new way for musicians to compete for that money, with
features such geo-targeting, which could allow them to find
mom-and-pop sponsors for every leg of a tour. What's more, Mr.
Mathis said, the platform isn't restricted to live events; because
it's so loosely organized, other sorts of music-brand deals could
be created through the site.
"We wanted to create something flexible enough to accommodate
new opportunities, like blogs about music, social applications for
music and events to online music distribution," he said. "We're not
trying to predict the future but provide a resource that can