Preparing to host a national championship requires plenty of hard work and a lot of bases to be covered.
But even with all the volunteers in place and every loose end planned to the last detail, something else is required to make it work: money.
With the 2009 Baseball Canada Cup in August fast approaching, the host committee is in full swing planning the various endeavours that need to take place. Corporate sponsorship is a top priority, and to that end, organizers have received plenty of support from the local oil industry.
“It hasn’t been just the oil industry, but they’ve definitely stepped up to the plate and shown their support,” said Jamie Flanagan, co-chair of the host committee. “I know that we’re not quite done. We’re still talking to quite a few of the companies and they’re saying that they’ll support us even more.”
Flanagan listed numerous local firms that have pitched in with sponsorship at varying levels, including ConocoPhillips, CCS Energy Services, TransGas, EnerPlus, ARC Resources, Harvest Operations, Kodiak Energy Services, Holland’s Hot Oiling, Fricken Fracken Water Hauling, and Precision Instrumentation & Supply.
“We’ve had some great response from all the companies we’ve touched base with,” he added. “The oil industry has had a good run and everybody we’ve talked to has said this will be a good thing for the town. They’re getting fairly excited about it. It’s getting very close now. The response has been great.”
Flanagan said financial contributions from the oil firms are currently being deposited into the general tournament fund, but will soon be allocated to various areas.
Supporting the Canada Cup is a win-win situation for the oil industry, which will get massive exposure from advertising at the tournament and being associated with a feel-good story for the community. Local gas stations will benefit from the influx of rental cars and team buses coming from the Saskatoon and Calgary airports.
“You’re going to have people from across Canada coming here and their signage will be all over the ballparks and in the programs and game day announcing,” Flanagan observed.
“When there’s a lull in the game, the sponsors will be recognized. Depending on what level of sponsorship (they provide), they also get some passes to get into the event themselves. We’re expecting a thousand people a day through there, local people and people from across Canada.”
Ironically, the recent slowdown in the oil industry will provide at least one plus for tournament organizers: more hotel rooms for parents, fans and scouts.
“Last year at this time, we were very, very nervous because oil was over $100 a barrel and there were oil crews all over the hotels,” Flanagan recalled. “We were wondering where we’d stuff our parents and people that are coming from across Canada. Now with a little bit of a slowdown so far, the rooms are hopefully available for the tournament.”