Dear Event Doctor: We have worked hard to secure sponsors for our largest events. Now we are dealing with the problem of ambush marketers on a variety of fronts, including the unauthorized use of our event name and the sale of unauthorized merchandise. What’s the best strategy for handling such breaches? —Ambushed in Atlanta
Dear Ambushed: Congratulations! If you are dealing with ambush marketers, you have arrived. That means your event has real value. You arrived at this juncture by leveraging that value to develop partnerships that will promote your respective brands and generate revenues for both you and the companies with which you do business.
To protect that value, you have to defend those partnerships vigorously and consistently. The good news is that you can protect all of your intellectual property—logos, trademarks, artwork, images and usually the name of your event. The bad news is that you will never entirely thwart ambush marketers. Many are crafty and experienced.
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The Event Doctor is sports-event veteran Frank Supovitz, president and chief experience officer of Fast Traffic Events & Entertainment, an event management and consulting firm. From 1992 to 2014, Supovitz served as the senior event executive for the National Football League and National Hockey League. He is also the author of “The Sports Event Management and Marketing Playbook.” Questions for The Event Doctor can be emailed to Frank Supovitz at email@example.com.