How to Keep Your Sponsorship Dollars Without College Hoops

by Liz Huff Second Street


Automotive advertisers are always top sponsors of sports campaigns making them a prime candidate for alternative solutions. Whether you’re working with car dealerships or car washes, create a campaign to uncover a list of hot leads, and automotive advertisers will be eager to continue partnering with you.

Tanks for Watching Codeword Sweepstakes
KMVT-TV | Twin Falls, ID

With audiences turning to local media for news, take advantage of that with a codeword sweepstakes. KMVT locked in a local Toyota dealership for an annual campaign of four watch-and-win $100 gift card giveaways throughout the year. The contest received over 10,000 entries and brought in $15,000 in revenue for the station. If you’re a TV station, and you aren’t getting your watch-and-wins sponsored – you’re missing out!

Tanks for Watching codeword Sweepstakes - KMVT-TV

Free Gas for a Year Sweepstakes
The Oklahoman | Oklahoma City, Ok

Giveaways for gasoline always attract a big audience. The Oklahoman partnered with a local auto dealers association. The sponsor wanted to promote their upcoming annual car show. Not only did they give away a valuable prize of free gas for a year, but they also enabled extra chances to enter for sharing with friends. The contest brought in nearly 10,000 entries, over 2,600 opt-ins for the sponsor, and 49% said they were interested in the auto show. On top of that, The Oklahoman secured $10,000 in sponsorship revenue.

Free Gas for a Year Sweepstakes - The Oklahoman

Hot Wynning Wheels
WDDJ-FM | Paducah, KY

Who doesn’t want the opportunity to win a car? WDDJ-FM reached out to a local auto dealer about running a sweepstakes to give away a new vehicle. In exchange, the dealership would get a list of qualified leads from an email opt-in for the dealership and lead-gen questions from the sponsor. The contest brought in 3,200+ email opt-ins and $5,000 in sponsorship revenue for WDDJ and over 1,500+ people directly asked for the dealership to contact them!

Auto Sweeps Drives Leads


This is the perfect time to engage your healthcare advertisers. While many may have been sponsoring your college hoops tournament, you now have a very unique opportunity to present them with even more timely campaigns to deliver the results they are most looking for whether you’re working with local hospitals or dentists and other specialists.

Branded Content Quiz Campaign
WJXT-TV | Jacksonville, FL

With healthcare issues dominating the news cycle, now’s the perfect time to pitch sponsored branded content ideas. WJXT-TV put together a robust recurring branded content quiz initiative for a local hospital. Each month they created new quizzes based on hot topics – the flu, pregnancy, strokes, mammograms, etc. Paired with native articles and online and on-air ads, this campaign continues to drive tons of brand awareness and opt-ins for the hospital and a nice $186,000 in revenue for the station.

Branded Content and Quizzes for WJXT

Incredible Kids
St. Louis Magazine | St. Louis, MO

St. Louis Magazine’s Incredible Kids monthly photo contests ask their audience to nominate kids in the community doing great things. The local children’s hospital signed on as the title sponsor for a monthly sponsorship investment of $2,500 (a $40,000 total.) Each month, the winning Incredible Kid is announced in an email accompanied by an informational health tip from the hospital. There’s also strong coverage on their website and multiple print publications. Read the full case study here.

St Louis Magazine Incredible Kids lead gen questions

Harbor Eye Vision Health
Seacoast Media Group | Portsmouth, NH

The team at Seacoast Media Group did everything right with this campaign. Harbor Eye Vision Health, a local eye care center, was looking for new potential clients. Utilizing opt-ins and lead-generation questions, this multi-month quiz bundle sent over 1,500 visitors to the Harbor Eye website each month for three months. Harbor Eye also put up a prize of a six month supply of Revitalash for one lucky quiz-taker to encourage participation. This resulted in over 250 new patients, which is more than $20,000 in revenue over a patient’s lifetime. Read the full story here.

Seacoast Harbor Eye Quiz 2

Restaurants & Bars

March college hoops and sports bars seem to go hand in hand. Bars and restaurants are also one of the top sponsors of the march tournament and this means they’ll be looking for a new place to spend those sponsorship dollars. Make sure you’re prepared with other fantastic ideas for bars and restaurants to keep those advertising dollars with your media company!

Food Fight: Pizza Bracket
St. Louis Magazine | St. Louis, MO

Without the college hoops tournament, take advantage of the opportunity to fill the bracket void. St. Louis Magazine has recently kicked off a Food Fight bracket series. Their Pizza Bracket battle was particularly successful. This bracket pitted dozens of local St. Louis pizza places in head-to-head matchups. Fans voted on their favorites and, in the end, a winning pizza pie was crowned! The bracket had over 35,000 votes and added more than 4,200 email addresses to the magazine’s database. Read the full case study here.

Pizza Bracket Drives Huge Engagement

Bertucci’s What Kind of Pizza Are You? Quiz
WBZ-FM | Boston, MA

A local Italian restaurant chain wanted a way to promote their pizzas. WBZ-FM came up with a fun, creative quiz campaign to fit the bill. Listeners loved the fun quiz – I mean, who doesn’t love pizza? This directly promoted the advertiser’s main initiative, drove opt-ins for Bertucci’s pizza, and WBZ-FM secured $6,600 for this month-long quiz.

Bertucci’s What Kind of Pizza Are You? Quiz – WBZ-FM

Bill Gray’s 2 Cheeseburgers 2 Custards 4 Tuesday Sweepstakes
WHAM-TV | Rochester, NY

A local restaurant chain was looking for more business, increased branding in their community, and to start an email Birthday Club. WHAM-TV pitched a weekly sweepstakes with the prize of a meal for two at the restaurant. The registration page included a sign-up for Bill Gray’s Birthday Club which WHAM-TV is managing for the restaurant. The sweepstakes campaign brought in $8,000 for WHAM-TV their first year, and the station has already booked $24,000 for next year.

WHAM-TV cheeseburgers sweeps


March college hoops and sports bars seem to go hand in hand. Bars and restaurants are also one of the top sponsors of the march tournament and this means they’ll be looking for a new place to spend those sponsorship dollars. Make sure you’re prepared with other fantastic ideas for bars and restaurants to keep those advertising dollars with your media company!

The Spectacular Tax Sweepstakes
Times Herald-Record | Middletown, NY

This sweepstakes from the Times Herald-Record was sponsored by Orange County Tax. They offered users a chance to win a $250 Visa Card and free tax preparation from the sponsor, which drew in qualified leads. The registration form included an opt-in and a lead-generation question from the sponsor to find users interested in being contacted about discounted tax preparation. 126 people asked to be contacted by Orange County Tax!

Spectacular Tax Sweepstakes Times Herald-Record

How Much Do You Know About Tax Basics Quiz
WKYX-FM | Paducah, KY

This turnkey tax trivia quiz from WKYX-FM and their advertiser, a local accountant, was a great campaign to capitalize on the buzz around tax day. The advertiser utilized an email opt-in and lead-generation questions on the entry form to grow their email database, learn more about users, and identify leads for the accountant’s office.

How Much Do You Know About Tax Basics?

Free Rent for a Year
KNDE-FM | College Station, TX

KNDE-FM was working with the|VINTAGE Apartments to create a campaign to find people interested in renting. Their sweepstakes gave away a year of free rent to one grand prize winner and every entrant was given a month of free rent. Five leases were signed from the sweepstakes and the station made $9,000 in revenue. Read the full case study.

Free Rent Sweepstakes for KNDE

Home Services

Spring is one of the biggest seasons for home improvement stores. This means this is a prime time for them to be seeking out branding and awareness in front of your audience. From bathroom repair and remodeling to roofing installation, be prepared with ideas to fit this huge industry.

Mow Your Grass Off
KOAM-TV | Pittsburg, KS

For the spring season, the sales team at KOAM-TV ran a sales blitz covering all the mower dealerships in their area. The team built a robust multimedia package for participating sponsors including branding, email, digital, and on-air elements. Five dealers participated driving $60,000 ($40,000 of that incremental) in sponsorship revenue for the station. Over 2,000 people entered the sweepstakes and the station added 5,000 opt-ins across their four newsletters.

KOAM-TV Mow Your Grass Off Sweeps

STAAT Furnace Giveaway
Peoria Journal Star | Peoria, IL

The Peoria Journal Star worked with STAAT, a local HVAC service provider, on a furnace giveaway. The contest was a huge success. So much so, STAAT immediately signed on for 3 additional giveaways throughout the rest of the year. This first contest brought in over $10,000 in revenue for the paper and added 370 email opt-ins to the sponsor’s list. Plus, STAAT used lead-gen questions to further qualify prospects.

Peoria Journal Star furnace sweepstakes

Rescue My Roof Photo Contest

WHAM-TV | Rochester, NY

WHAM-TV in Rochester, NY hosted a photo contest to drive leads for advertiser Trinity Home Renovations, a local residential contractor, with a prize of $10,000 towards a brand new roof. The contest received 44 entries and 2,700 votes from over 1,000 participants. The winner received 40% vote and turned into a great follow-up story for the station.

WHAM Rescue My Roof Photo Contest

Even without the 2020 college hoops tournament, you can still ensure your revenue keeps growing. Whether you have sponsors originally booked for the tournament or you have advertisers just looking for other alternatives, be prepared to create a multimedia package leveraging your promotions, core media, email, digital, and lead-generation.

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