Jul 26, 2009 at 02:57 AM
written by

Babies need sponsorship, too.

How do you expand your event to appeal to a wider range of audiences (and sponsors) than those of a niche, specifically in this case endurance athletes in the Tri-state area? John Korff, organizer of the Nautica Triathlon, has found the right formula. His company, Korff Enterprises, has expanded this weekend's NYC Nautica Triathlon from a one race event to include a weekend of race-themed activities that cover the whole family (including the dog). These include the SpongetTech Toddler Trot (age 2-5), the Huggies Little Mover Diaper Race and the IAMS Doggy Dash. PhotobucketSponsors don't just have signage, in some cases they own an entire proprietary event. First prize for the Huggies Race? A year's supply of diapers, of course.

"We noticed that a lot of people bring their whole families to the triathlon, sometimes carrying their kids across the finish line," said race organizer John Korff. "We figured this was something moms and kids would dig. And it's just so cute."

There's also the Underwear Run, which was last year sponsored by Chipotle in support of their naked burritos line of products.

What kind of person comes up with things like diaper dashes and dog races? Korff is a born promoter and made his name in tennis. When you think of Harvard MBA's, someone sneaking into tall buildings, dodging security guards and scaling flights upon flights of stairs in a USA Stair Racing Team tee-shirt doesn't usually come to mind. Further, he is the only member of the USA Stair Racing Team.

With so many sponsorship opportunities out there competing for a finite (or shrinking) amount of marketing dollars, in many cases it may make sense to focus on your core audience - and core offering to sponsors. By trying to appeal to everyone, you can run the risk of losing what has made your opportunity unique to sponsors in the first place. Afterall, if you want to reach everyone... and their dog... well, that's what network TV is for. Nevertheless, there are always opportunities to extend your event to adjacent demographics and sponsors - while staying true to the thematic core of your property. And these days, sponsors love proprietary events they can wrap their arms around.

If this weekend is any indication, that's what Korff does best.