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City eyes new corporate sponsorship program

CARLSBAD — City staff are working on developing an official program for corporations to sponsor city events, services, and facilities, a venture that has the potential to bring in up to $750,000 in annual revenue for Carlsbad. 

Though the city has orchestrated private sponsorships for events and programs for years, the new corporate marketing partnership program is intended to establish consistent guidelines and explore new ways to bolster revenue from a variety of sponsorship opportunities.

“By taking a more coordinated approach, we feel we could generate more revenue and provide more options than we do currently with individual sponsorships,” said Carlsbad’s Communications Manager Kristina Ray.

Ray presented plans for the program to City Council at their July 16 meeting.

Staff proposed implementing two programs within the first year, one to allow companies to sponsor city events, including TGIF Jazz in the Parks, and another to establish an exclusive vendor contract to permit one vendor to provide all of the food and beverage offerings at city events.

The city’s consultant on the project, Active Network, has also put forth suggestions to enable companies to sponsor public recycling, Wi-Fi networks, and online Groupon-like deals for local businesses.

Active Network estimates that the corporate sponsorship programs could generate between $375,000 and $750,000 annually for the city within three years of the program’s launching.

This estimate is based on the city’s special events and attendance, and Active Network’s experience working with other cities, Ray said.

On the whole, the sponsorship program will also be designed to make it easier for businesses to be involved in city events by having one city staff member who can coordinate all aspects of a partnership, Ray said.

Currently, the city department or program that runs an event, service, or facility generally handles the respective corporate sponsorship.

Most recently, the Carlsbad Triathlon was sponsored in part by San Diego County Credit Union, Jimbos and Sparkletts.

City Council directed staff to come back with a policy on how to implement the project, and stressed the importance of making sure any signage fit with the city’s design.

City staff intends to come back to Council within a few months with the policy, said Ray.

Other cities, including San Diego, Costa Mesa, Colorado Springs, and Huntington Beach have established similar corporate partnership programs.