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Howard Freeman worked in team tennis and as marketing director of the New Jersey Nets before launching the company that runs the annual Quick Chek New Jersey Festival of Ballooning. More than 135,000 are expected at the event July 26 to 28.

Age: 43

Title: President, Promo 1, West Caldwell, N.J.

Goal: Use family-oriented events to create turnkey sponsor opportunities; create network of ballooning events.

Tip: Sponsors need unique positioning within the event.

Hot spots: New, hybrid sports like beach soccer, giving unique sponsor identity. Local food festivals and fairs.

Beware of: Celebrity sports endorsers and problems as role models. Many pro sports figures aren't real heroes.

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