Corporate Games

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By Simon Bennett

Basketball games at Ryerson tend to have a corporate flavour.  Just take a look at all the Coca-Cola and Pizza Pizza booths that pop up around halftime in Kerr Hall gym. 

But in the days where funds for athletics can be hard to come by, increased sponsorship may be the way to go.

For Ryerson today, the corporate sponsorship dollar may be small but the sentiment is that many athletic programs across the province may start counting more on corporate sponsors.

“There is always a reliance [on sponsors], and in today’s economic climate, it might become more of a useful outlet,” said Frank Pindar, last year’s marketing director for the University of Toronto Varsity Blues.

The Varsity Blues have a targeted 1998/99 sponsorship revenue of $65,000.  The amount still equals less than 1 per cent of their $6.7 million athletic operating budget.

York University has even loftier expectations.  Their athletic department is looking for close to $100,000 in sponsorship revenue.

Ryerson’s athletic budget is $619,875.

Unlike either U of T or York, the revenue coming from corporate sponsors to Ryerson’s athletic program is negligible, yet still helpful.

“We don’t have budget on the assumption that we need sponsor’s to survive,” said Chuck Mathies, Ryerson’s assistant athletic director.  “But they do enable us to do some extra things.”

The athletic department has had to deal with Coca-Cola for 10 years.

The agreement means lower prices at the concession stands and sports drinks for the athletes.

While he wouldn’t comment on the amount of money the deal is worth, Mathies said that any funds generated from Coke goes to the printing costs of the annual RAC brochures.

Specific teams and athletes can also benefit from corporate sponsorship.

The men’s squash team recently announced Black Knight International would be providing racquets and Hi-Tec court shoes fro the upcoming season.

The men’s basketball team has a working agreement with Adidas that allows them to save $4,000 to $6,000 a season on the cost of shoes and clothing.

The volleyball teams have a deal with Canuck Sports which gives them a 15 per cent discount on the purchase of balls, nets and other equipment.

“Any dollar saved is a dollar you can put somewhere else for the team,” men’s basketball head coach Terry Haggerty said.

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