Division A - Public Relations Programs
Category 9 - Special Events
The 9th Annual Thunder By The Bay Motorcycle Festival
Lucy Nicandri, The Florida Center; KSC Advertising & Public Relations, Inc.
Award of Distinction
The Thunder By The Bay Motorcycle Festival started in 1998 as a one day
event that raised approx. $100 for local charity. In January 2007, the
Festival celebrated it’s ninth, and biggest year to date with three
days of events that raised more than $93,000 for The Florida Center’s
programs and services.
The 9th Annual Thunder By The Bay
Motorcycle Festival was held from January 5th through January 7th, 2007
with proceeds benefiting The Florida Center for Child and Family
Development. The Festival consisted of four events which were run by
volunteers from Sarasota and the surrounding communities. Each year,
the Festival has a positive economic impact on the Sarasota community
and raises funds vital to The Florida Center’s mission. The Festival
also provides the Sarasota community with an opportunity to experience
a variety of exciting events, while contributing to a worthy cause.
Objectives: (1) It was determined that an
increase of 35%, or 81 volunteers, over the previous year’s number
(230) would be necessary to adequately staff the 2007 Festival events.
(2) In 2006, the Festival raised $58,900 in net revenue; the 2007 goal
was to increase that amount by 28%, to $75,000 to benefit The Florida
Center. (3) In past years, the Festival drew its attendance largely
from Florida residents. In order to bring the event to a national level
in both attendance and recognition, it was determined that the Festival
needed to gain attention from a minimum of two national media outlets
in addition to expanding its local and statewide media coverage. (4)
Sponsorships are key to the Festival’s success, providing both in-kind
support to the events, as well as contributing to the bottom line. The
goal of the Festival was to increase sponsorships (both cash and
in-kind) from last year’s total of $75,400 to $100,000.
Implementation: Festival planning takes several
months and usually begins during the fall with the formation of a
Festival committee and sponsor recruitment. The Festival committee was
key in increasing volunteer participation as it consisted of business
owners and leaders from local bike groups who recruited heavily from
their contacts. The Florida Center’s Marketing and Special Events
Department, comprised of two people, was responsible for overseeing the
committee and securing donors and sponsorships, as well as additional
volunteer recruitment and all other aspects of the event planning and
coordination. The Florida Center also handled all media inquiries and
public relations efforts surrounding the Festival.
In order to
increase revenues for the Festival, several approaches were taken. The
Festival’s Saturday event, which in the past had only been a concert,
was expanded to a “BBQ, Bands & Blue Jeans” event which included
food, more than 80 vendors, 3 bands, motocross demos, and four
nationally-known guest bike builders. These changes resulted in an
increased attendance from 1,500 to more than 10,000, each paying a $10
admission fee. To increase attendance at Sunday’s Downtown Festival,
the layout was expanded to accommodate more attendees, vendors and
displays. “Sub-events” were also added to the Downtown Event to draw
larger crowds including live entertainment, a bike show, and meet and
greet areas with guest bike builders. These expanded events also lead
to increased sponsorship opportunities with new and existing corporate
and in-kind sponsors.
An overwhelming amount of media coverage was
received for the Festival with numerous stories and photos running in
local newspapers and magazines, as well as a special
advertising-sponsored insert in the Sarasota Herald-Tribune (reaching a
circulation of 68,164), and photos and special features running in
statewide and national motorcycle related magazines. Bike builders
attended this year’s event for the first time representing the
Discovery Channel, Travel Channel, A&E Channel and Speed Channel.
Overall, media coverage was secured in more than 17 local and statewide
media outlets, including radio, print and television and three national
outlets. Increased media coverage led to higher event attendance and in
addition to local, statewide, and national crowds, the Festival drew
visitors from Canada, the Bahamas, Germany, Italy, and Brazil.
Festival also provided an important opportunity for raising awareness
of The Florida Center’s mission, creating new opportunities for donors,
and volunteer support for the organization. This effort was implemented
and achieved through use of The Florida Center logo in all in-kind
advertising, inclusion of The Florida Center’s mission in many news
articles and features, and information in all press releases.
addition to raising money for The Florida Center, The Festival had a
significant overall financial impact on the community, bringing
thousands of dollars to Sarasota by way of motorcycle enthusiasts to
area hotels, restaurants and retail outlets.
Evaluation: The Festival was a huge success. (1)
Volunteer numbers increased by 52%, (120 volunteers). (2) The Festival
had net revenues of $93,300, an increase of 58% or $34,400. These funds
will directly benefit The Florida Center’s programs for children and
families. (3) The Festival attracted several nationally known bike
builders and a motocross team, which resulted in media attention from
three national television stations, as well as coverage on three local
news programs. (4) Sponsorships for the Festival increased to a total
of $129,200 (increases of $33,500 in corporate and $20,300 in-kind).
Budget: Total Festival Expenses $84,344; Total Sponsor and Event Revenue $174,644; Total Net Revenue $90,300