Video Series: Q&A with SMS Thought Leader Jeff Webster

On the latest Sponsorship Mastery Thought Leader Q&A interview, Paula Beadle was joined by Jeff Webster, the VP of Corporate Partnerships with the Oak View Group. It was fascinating to hear their conversation just a few days before the official Climate Pledge Arena naming rights was announced. Jeff is a sponsorship trailblazer with an impressive track record of success.

Jeff joined Oak View Group just over 1 year ago to build the team responsible for the sponsorship portfolio of NHL Seattle and the Climate Pledge Arena. Before joining OVG & NHL Seattle, Jeff served as Senior Director of Global Partnerships at (AEG), where he created best in class partnerships for the LA Kings, STAPLES Center, LA Live, the LA Galaxy and music properties such as the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival among others. His career has also included time in the NFL with the Detroit Lions and in motorsports with NASCAR in Daytona Beach. Jeff is originally from Seattle and is proud to have returned home to bring the NHL’s 32nd franchise to the Pacific Northwest.

Watch now to hear how community is at the heart of his partnership efforts.

A few key takeaways from their intriguing conversation:

Focus on the long-term

Now more than ever, transactional relationships are not the right approach to establishing a meaningful partnership. Rather, look toward the future and what your partnership will yield 5 or 10 years down the road. This approach will resonate with brands wanting to plant their flag within your community and be part of your greater sponsorship story.

Be a changemaker

In today’s climate, your organization’s social values and how you publicly demonstrate your commitment to those values is going to be front and center. When you have your community’s needs at the heart of your organizational values, then align with sponsors who have an equivalent commitment to similar community-based values, you are building a true partnership. A true partnership weaves the story of connection, community, and a transformative experience for your audience.

Make community the heart of your sponsorship story

Organizations that are committing to community-driven social good initiatives gives brands the opportunity to invest in something more than a financial transaction. They are part of a greater story about bettering community, building a platform for change, creating a movement, and motivating all stakeholders involved to be better.

Be an informed partner

Do your research and understand the state of affairs of whom you might be conversing with. Did they thrive or take a dive as a result of the COVID crisis? You should never go into a conversation with a partner uninformed and unaware.

Lead with sensitivity

Be willing to set aside your immediate needs to reach out to lend a helping hand if your partners are struggling. Realize they may not be in the same position they were 6-12 months ago, and therefore their goals may have changed.

Time is on your side to network and build relationships

Take the time to genuinely get to know your partners. Rather than reaching out for an ask, see this time as an opportunity to authentically and altruistically get to know each other, network, and build long-lasting relationships.

Prepare for constant change

Sponsorship will continue to grow and transform. Consider how you are staying on the forefront of the next era of sponsorship marketing. Continuously seek-out learning opportunities and engage with innovative leaders.


About the Summit: Sponsorship Mastery Summit will take place virtually and in select cities September 23rd and 24th, 2020. SMS is a powerful and immersive experience specifically for sponsorship sales leaders representing universities, parks and recreation, tourism, sports teams and events, fairs and festivals, venues, arts and cultural organizations. Attendees will collaborate with thought leaders, hear from big brands, exchange ideas and leave with best practices, actionable tools, valuable resources and new connections. Participants will attend interactive workshops, industry forums, big idea roundtables, and networking events.