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HMH, Sports Park make deal good for both

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Editorial: Jan. 17, 2013

ISSUE: HMH supports the Sports Park
OUR VIEW: A win-win agreement

Hardin Memorial Health has taken an active role in sponsorship of the Elizabethtown Sports Park and in doing so it took another step toward protecting its territory while supporting the community.

The new sponsorship agreement involves income for the facility plus provides medical services for events. Inevitably, the sponsorship will translate into direct business for HMH. All in all, it’s not a bad deal for the sports park or HMH.

When an opportunity for a business to sponsor a local cause benefiting from its sponsorship investment, it just makes sense. Some people would be offended that HMH would get a direct benefit. Some in the community that feel the sponsorship should come with no stipulations. In these challenged economic times, business owners — even a nonprofit, county-owned business — must invest financial support in causes that benefit their companies and communities. This approach to sponsorship should not come as a surprise to anyone and should serve as an example for others.

The deal translates into $55,000 annually from HMH for three years while establishing full-time athletic training services and supplies for the sports park. The estimated value of the services provided by HMH is $77,000 per year. 

In the deal approved by City Council, the Elizabethtown Sports Park also gets to retain naming rights to Miracle Field with the stipulation that those rights not be sold to any entity competitive to any HMH service line.

Miracle Field is a special diamond designated to accommodate athletes with disabilities that’s located near the West Park Road entrance to the sports park.

The Elizabethtown Sports Park continues to attract sponsors and this one appears to have all the makings of a win-win deal. One part of the agreement calls for HMH to provide training and medical services for league games played at the park.

It’s an important part of the agreement because it reflects HMH’s commitment to care for our local community and our youth as well as those tournaments that contractually require training services to be on hand.

Could this agreement have been completed without input of the Chicago-based consulting firm the city uses to sell sponsorships? Involving this group in this deal may have been unnecessary and hopefully it’s not commissionable.

Thus far, the consultants have done little to bring revenue to the table that could be considered non-traditional. Exclusive rights with soft drink and hot dog vendors are common deals that can be found at most sizable venues across the country. It’s great that a big home improvement supply company came on board as a sponsor but doing so with the understanding that fencing for the facility would be purchased from them is hardly a brain teaser to put together.

We challenge both the Elizabethtown Sports Park and the consulting firm to show value in this continued contract by bringing in a facility naming rights sponsor.

As for the HMH deal, this is a step in the right direction for the park and the hospital. The value-added benefits of periodic educational seminars for athletes, coaches and parents could help minimize future injuries and serve as a springboard for improved safety in local amateur athletics. An on-site first aid station will enhance the safety of participants and fans who will be using the facility.

It appears to be an agreement from which everyone benefits.

This editorial is a consensus of The News-Enterprise's editorial board.