Friday, August 02, 2002

Most teams' MVPs are their sponsors

Players glad to be walking billboards

By Gary Estwick,
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Tom Borgemenke of Harrison (left) and Kyle Boosveld of Colerain get a view from behind the outfield wall of the Metropolitan softball tournament at Rumpke Park.
(Greg Ruffing photo)
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        Without his team's sponsor, Bill Wildt would be on the hook for many of his team's softball-related expenses. “Without (the sponsor), we probably wouldn't be playing,” said Wildt, of Heuer Heating. “That's how important sponsors are.”

        Depending on deals worked out by many of the 352 teams participating in the 50th Annual Cincinnati Metro Softball Tournament, sponsors pay for T-shirts, uniform pants and baseball caps, as well as league and tournament fees.

        The relationship, of course, cuts both ways. Teams are usually named after their sponsor, and sponsors get their business name and logo plastered on team apparel.

        As a result, business names are seen by many of the estimated 50,000 fans who will watch softball games at Rumpke Park through Monday.

        Wildt, who manages the softball team, said his sponsorship support from Don Heuer comes to about $6,000 annually. Half of it comes directly from Heuer, while the other portion comes from an annual golf tournament held in April at Circling Hills Golf Course.

Shortstop Larry Schildmeyer of Loveland jumps to catch a line drive for the last out of the game during Newport-on-the-Levee's 11-6 win over Concrete Services in the Metropolitan softball tournament at Rumpke Park.
(Greg Ruffing photo)
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        “We're really lucky to have Don,” said first baseman Brian Heidorn,” who is a teacher and assistant football coach at LaSalle High School. “He's stuck with us from the beginning when we first started the squad. It keeps us together and keeps our friendships going, because guys like him are able to take their time and money and put it into teams like us.”

        Heuer has sponsored the team for about 17 years.

        “I don't know about other sponsors, but to be honest, this is 10 percent business and 90 percent friendship,” he said. “I probably get a few customers through this, but this is more about us running into a great group of guys.”

        Most players do pay for their own equipment (gloves, spikes, etc.).

        Heuer Heating will play Reflections today at 9:30 p.m. in the “C” American division loser's bracket. Games start at 6:30 p.m.


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