How to get in on the sporting action

Not every community has a professional sports team or a well-known college level team. And teams usually have long-standing relationships with physician practices that act as team doctors. But Andrea Eliscu, RN, president of Medical Marketing in Winter Park, FL, says that shouldn’t stop you from trying to develop relationships with those teams.

"Certainly the easiest way to get in is through an expansion situation," she says, noting that when the Orlando Magic basketball team came in 1987, she was able to foster a relationship between them and Jewitt Orthopedic Clinic, also in Orlando. (For more on that relationship, see related story, p. 143.) "If they already exist and have a relationship with a practice, you have to work very hard to take that contract away."

You should start by getting to know the coach and general manager and let them know what you have to offer. But beware: You shouldn’t get into this kind of relationship expecting money. Indeed, usually a contract will require you to spend more money than you make from the relationship. "You are a sponsor; you will be asked to advertise, to do things with the team," explains Eliscu.

But you do get visibility. For instance, Jewitt’s name appears on the Magic scoreboard. "The gain comes from the increased name recognition." And there are other perks. Every Jewitt office has signed Magic jerseys and photographs of the stars. When a star is injured, your physicians are talking to the press. "But you have to understand that you are paying out dollars for this kind of relationship. You have to decide whether that expense is worth the air time you’ll get."