County Championship sponsorship

Discussion about all aspects of the ECF County Championships.
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Jon Underwood
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County Championship sponsorship

Post by Jon Underwood » Mon Jul 02, 2018 1:22 pm

Has the ECF ever tried to find a sponsor for the County Championship – which is, after all, an old and prestigious competition?

I’d have thought the surest way to reinvigorate the county game at both union and national level would be to have prizes. A potential sponsor would get a pretty good reach for quite a modest sum.

[Say something like £1000 for the Open champions, £500 for runners-up, £250 for losing semis, £125 for losing QF; then 80pct of that for the minor, 60pct each for the !6-board grade limited sections and 40pct for the 12-boards comes to just over £10k which is peanuts for what you are getting.]

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IM Jack Rudd
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Re: County Championship sponsorship

Post by IM Jack Rudd » Mon Jul 02, 2018 1:28 pm

OK, let's work with this. I'm going to play the part of a potential sponsor; a large firm willing to invest £10,000 in sponsorship of an event if it makes commercial sense to me.

What case can you make for me sponsoring the County Championships?

Jon Underwood
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Re: County Championship sponsorship

Post by Jon Underwood » Mon Jul 02, 2018 2:06 pm

OK let's say there are around 1000 people who take part directly in various stages the county championship, and a significantly greater number who would be aware of it. But the game as a whole is much deeper than that. I would guess well over half of the population knows the rules and has played at some stage, and a very significant number play occasionally [no doubt someone knows the proper statistics]. I'd expect that more people have heard of the likes of Fischer and Kasparov than the iconic figures of all but a few sports.

Obviously chess has some strong connotations which a potential sponsor would regard favourably (and perhaps some... er not so much), and playing is thought to be beneficial for the minds of everyone from primary school kids to the very old.

The competition is over 100 years old so has some serious history associated with it.

Are you reaching for your chequebook yet Mr Rudd?

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Michael Farthing
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Re: County Championship sponsorship

Post by Michael Farthing » Mon Jul 02, 2018 2:16 pm

Umm... I'm not.

Can you tell me some cases of the County Championship getting a mention (that's not much - just a sentence will do for now) in any of the following
(a) TV
(b) National Radio
(c) Local Radio
(d) National Newspaper
(e) Local Newspaper

If this does not give a very long list do you have ideas for remedying that?

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IM Jack Rudd
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Re: County Championship sponsorship

Post by IM Jack Rudd » Mon Jul 02, 2018 2:32 pm

Jon Underwood wrote:
Mon Jul 02, 2018 2:06 pm
Are you reaching for your chequebook yet Mr Rudd?
No. Nothing you've said there indicates much return on the sponsorship income, which is what potential sponsors are looking for. What you've sold me there is advertising my firm to 1,000 people, which is nice, but not really worth £10,000 unless those 1,000 people are in my target market.

Jon Underwood
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Re: County Championship sponsorship

Post by Jon Underwood » Mon Jul 02, 2018 2:34 pm

Think d and e have happened in the chess columns - e many times. If a local team makes it to the final then that will get a mention at least down here. c also. a and b you'd probably need to have the competition built up first.

If there is a company out there whose marketing brief is "Smart people use Acme product/service" then Acme, sponsors of the the County Chess Championship, might be an absolute bargain basement way of achieving that. It works for people who have absolutely no interest in chess, they only have to know, or think they know, what it is and what kind of people are good at it.

Jon Underwood
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Re: County Championship sponsorship

Post by Jon Underwood » Mon Jul 02, 2018 2:36 pm

IM Jack Rudd wrote:
Mon Jul 02, 2018 2:32 pm
Jon Underwood wrote:
Mon Jul 02, 2018 2:06 pm
Are you reaching for your chequebook yet Mr Rudd?
No. Nothing you've said there indicates much return on the sponsorship income, which is what potential sponsors are looking for. What you've sold me there is advertising my firm to 1,000 people, which is nice, but not really worth £10,000 unless those 1,000 people are in my target market.
You could point to many instances where sponsorship will obviously not make a direct return on the investment. You could for example walk into your local supermarket and see what they are spending their community budget on and try and do the same sum.

Richard Bates
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Re: County Championship sponsorship

Post by Richard Bates » Mon Jul 02, 2018 6:14 pm

I’m not sure why “prizes” should “reinvigorate” the County Championship, which is after all an amateur competition. At the level suggested they really don’t amount to much if split amongst a winning team, and if they were at a much higher level they would possibly just increase the inequality between larger and smaller counties, because the incentive for larger counties to get their act together would undermine the ability of smaller counties to compete through better organisation.

Furthermore whilst discussions about things like eligibility are popular on here, they are largely academic as for the vast majority of partipants they are a subject of large indifference, tight enough to mean something, but loose enough to allow enough flexibility for most who wish to play. Whether that could survive the “money factor” is another matter.

If there were to be any source of external funding available it should, in my opinion, be concentrated on venues, playing conditions, assisting with travel costs etc, things that ultimately make playing more attractive for most amateur players.

NickFaulks
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Re: County Championship sponsorship

Post by NickFaulks » Mon Jul 02, 2018 6:53 pm

Richard Bates wrote:
Mon Jul 02, 2018 6:14 pm
If there were to be any source of external funding available it should, in my opinion, be concentrated on venues, playing conditions, assisting with travel costs etc, things that ultimately make playing more attractive for most amateur players.
You mean like Olympiads. That is indeed a very good model.

Jon Underwood
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Re: County Championship sponsorship

Post by Jon Underwood » Tue Jul 03, 2018 12:44 pm

Richard Bates wrote:
Mon Jul 02, 2018 6:14 pm
I’m not sure why “prizes” should “reinvigorate” the County Championship, which is after all an amateur competition. At the level suggested they really don’t amount to much if split amongst a winning team, and if they were at a much higher level they would possibly just increase the inequality between larger and smaller counties, because the incentive for larger counties to get their act together would undermine the ability of smaller counties to compete through better organisation.

Furthermore whilst discussions about things like eligibility are popular on here, they are largely academic as for the vast majority of partipants they are a subject of large indifference, tight enough to mean something, but loose enough to allow enough flexibility for most who wish to play. Whether that could survive the “money factor” is another matter.

If there were to be any source of external funding available it should, in my opinion, be concentrated on venues, playing conditions, assisting with travel costs etc, things that ultimately make playing more attractive for most amateur players.
The modest numbers I suggested would allow teams reaching the quarter final to do just that.

Nick Grey
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Re: County Championship sponsorship

Post by Nick Grey » Wed Jul 04, 2018 12:53 am

Any external funding ought to be for the final only and for the venue and providing excellent conditions and free food, tea/coffees and water.
if unions and counties wish to contribute to ECF that is fine too.
No prize money please. It has been bad enough over the last few years in getting an opponent close to grading, and being on a board with a default.

In my football capacity which I have only just stood down for - getting to the final was great, getting local sponsorship was fine too (free provision of food, water, energy drinks for an unusual KO time (and details put into the programme). Also got sponsorship from local Curry House too. We were blessed in a number of areas. But had to work at it.

I'm sure ECF will take a donation to this years final readily enough.

Neil Graham
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Re: County Championship sponsorship

Post by Neil Graham » Fri Jul 06, 2018 10:11 pm

This is all highly interesting in a week when Roger Federer changed his main sponsor to Uniqlo which has guaranteed him $300 million ($30 million a year) over the next ten years. He'll be 47 at the end of this sponsorship so not playing too much ranking tennis I guess. This is just one of Federer's many sponsorships which include Mercedes Benz, Rolex watches, Credit-Suisse etc etc. Remember that Federer is still not by any means the highest paid sportsman or the one with the most lucrative sponsorships.

The most marketable chess player is, presumably, Magnus Carlsen. Try looking up Carlsen's list of sponsors and see how many you recognise and how many are household names and how much he might be paid by them.

The ECF and indeed before it the BCF have obtained sponsorship largely through the medium of personal contact with sympathetic chess playing directors of companies. The current website lists two sponsors. At one time there was a Marketing Director of the BCF and these by enlarge were appointments of people full of good intentions but with no capacity or time to either raise money or find sponsors. I sat through many a meeting where papers were presented but in the end these invariably came to nothing. Precisely who is responsible for ECF Marketing and Sponsorship now?

Moving onto sponsorship of the County Championship - I would think this is probably the most unattractive Federation event to attract sponsorship. The Finals tomorrow will feature over 200 players and I'll be very interested to see the demographics of the teams. I hazard a guess that there will be very few women, not too many juniors and that the largest group will be white males aged 60+ - hardly a target group for sponsors unless Over 50s Funeral Plans are the audience (and you would get a free pen for enquiring).

Finally if the ECF were by some fluke chance to come into money for this event where should it go? The entry fee is quite small but the more successful you are in the competition the more expensive it becomes. Nottinghamshire will spend anything between £200 and £500 each season merely paying for venues in the Final stages (let alone all the costs of the MCCU stages). A very interesting financial model - the better your team does the more you have to pay!! Consequently no prize money and more spent on improving conditions please.

Jon Underwood
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Re: County Championship sponsorship

Post by Jon Underwood » Sun Jul 08, 2018 8:35 am

Neil Graham wrote:
Fri Jul 06, 2018 10:11 pm


Finally if the ECF were by some fluke chance to come into money for this event where should it go? The entry fee is quite small but the more successful you are in the competition the more expensive it becomes. Nottinghamshire will spend anything between £200 and £500 each season merely paying for venues in the Final stages (let alone all the costs of the MCCU stages). A very interesting financial model - the better your team does the more you have to pay!! Consequently no prize money and more spent on improving conditions please.
That would be precisely the point of having the prize money in the kind of ratios I suggested originally - to cover the cost of the venues etc.

Neil Graham
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Re: County Championship sponsorship

Post by Neil Graham » Sun Jul 08, 2018 9:14 am

Can I give some details of the demographics of the Finals yesterday. The figures are subject to amendment but are about right.

There were 208 players competing - 202 men and just 6 women. No female players in any of the tournaments from the U160 upwards. There were no more than 10 junior players out of the 208 and again they were all in the lower graded sections. I guess there were more players aged 80+ than female players. The majority of the players were white males aged 50+. Not a promising group to attract potential sponsors.

NickFaulks
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Re: County Championship sponsorship

Post by NickFaulks » Sun Jul 08, 2018 10:41 am

Neil Graham wrote:
Sun Jul 08, 2018 9:14 am
The majority of the players were white males aged 50+.
The shortage of women is of course lamentable. Aside from that, you suggest that the median age of players was over 50. I would guess that you were probably right, but if so, not by much. In any case, that isn't very far from the median age of the adult population.
Not a promising group to attract potential sponsors.
Why not? Because they don't have much money, or because it is harder to separate them from it?

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