Active in military sports events

Sep 16, 2002  •  Post A Comment

NBC affiliate WAVY-TV, owned by LIN Television Group, has formed an exclusive relationship with a division of the Navy in the Norfolk, Va., area, through which it helps a group of shorebound military personnel gain publicity for its volunteer work.
From Coats for Kids to the March of Dimes, WAVY alerts the public of the military’s Shore Intermediate Maintenance Activity division’s activities through ad campaigns and mentions on its news programs.
“We contacted WAVY 10 about four years ago,” said Rachael Kimmey, command community service coordinator for SIMA, “because we knew they’d be a good vehicle for helping us get publicity. We want the public to know that as Navy personnel we are very willing to volunteer our time for anyone who is in need.”
Military spending is big in this area, which encompasses the towns of Portsmouth, Newport News, Virginia Beach, Williamsburg and Jamestown.
“This is a meat-and-potatoes, Wal-Mart, Target kind of market, where the incomes are slightly below the rest of the country,” said General Manager Ed Munson Jr. “For families that say their kids need binders and notebooks and crayons, we have Operation School Supplies. We collect hundreds of thousands of these things and give them to the teachers, who give them to the kids. Advertisers help to underwrite the program.”
Operation School Supplies is one of the events included in a yearlong SIMA program called “Partners on Your Side,” whose sponsors include Bon Secours, Langley Federal Credit Union and Dominion Virginia Power. The logos of Operation School Supplies sponsors are placed on TV commercials as well as on the drop-off bins at retail locations.
In this market, which has no major sports team, college and high school sports are very important. As a result, WAVY has found another niche for itself. As the only station in town that owns its own helicopter, WAVY flies it over high school football games and throws out plastic footballs to the audience through its “Friday Night Flight” program. The footballs have the logos of sponsors printed on them. Also during football season, the last 15 minutes of the late-hour news is dedicated local sports.
Belo Corp.-owned ABC affiliate WVEC-TV is also heavily involved in the community, with revenue-generating events that are not ratings based, including a “Beat the Pros Golf Pro Challenge.”
“Every week we have viewers selected from their calling cards to get a chance to go out to one of the sponsoring golf courses and play with a local pro,” said General Manager Mario Hewitt. “There are five winners who go up against a pro and [have] a chance to win a car.”
Susan Scrimshaw, VP-media director at Virginia Beach-based ad agency Hambright, Calcagno & Downing, said all of the agency’s clients are looking for sponsorship deals. Client Golden Corral, a restaurant chain, does a sponsorship with WAVY’s weather map and did a promotion geared toward kids on the Sinclair Broadcasting-owned WB affiliate WTVZ in which softball teams could register to win tickets to dinner at a Golden Corral.
According to BIA Financial Network, TV revenues in the Norfolk-Portsmouth-Newport News market will be up to $103,100 by the end of 2002 from $98,200 in 2001.