Suburban officials call ‘Makers Wanted’ bowl sponsorship a success

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ELK GROVE VILLAGE, Ill. — Suburban Chicago officials have called their $300,000 sponsorship of a nationally televised college football bowl game a success, but they plan to wait for additional data before deciding whether to sponsor another.

Businesses from cities such as Houston and New York City have contacted Elk Grove Village about business opportunities following the village’s sponsorship of the Makers Wanted Bahamas Bowl in the Bahamas, the Daily Herald reported.

The move was the village’s latest marketing push to expand the reach of its “Makers Wanted” campaign to promote a local industrial park, which officials say has more than 5,600 businesses. The sponsorship idea was initially met with mixed reactions from residents who feared that it would be a waste of money.

Mayor Craig Johnson said the sponsorship successfully promoted the industrial park. He said the campaign’s website had a spike of nearly 20,000 hits in December, up from a couple thousand during the previous months.

“Our goal throughout this whole process was to get our name throughout the world in a positive, pro-business way, and we did that,” he said.

Village officials plan to evaluate statistics from three sources: Red Caffeine, which has handled advertising and marketing for Elk Grove since the campaign launch in 2015; 4FRONT, a sports marketing firm that helped broker the sponsorship deal; and ESPN.

Officials have until March 1 to decide if they want to sponsor the game for the same fee this year.

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