Make that three U.S. Olympic teams Elk Grove will sponsor: track, wrestling, triathlon
Elk Grove Village will be a sponsor for not one but three U.S. teams at the 2021 Tokyo Summer Olympics: track and field, wrestling and triathlon.
Initially Elk Grove Village Mayor Craig Johnson said the village would award a single $100,000 sponsorship to help promote Elk Grove's massive village business park and "Makers Wanted" tagline. On Thursday, Johnson said the village would give out "gold," "silver" and "bronze" sponsorship levels, with the silver sponsor receiving $50,000 and the bronze receiving $25,000, on top of the $100,000 for the gold.
The track team gets the gold, the wrestling squad won the silver and the triathletes have the bronze.
The six trustees and mayor unanimously selected USA Track & Field for the top sponsorship. In a slickly produced video, the team promised that if selected the village would be featured in seven commercials on NBC and have the village's Makers Wanted branding on the infield of one or more of their fields.
In addition, track and field athletes will host a run, throw and jump event with Elk Grove Village community youths and participate in other local events.
"Even though they are one of the bigger ones, they wanted this," Johnson said. "They wanted this big time."
Five trustees voted for wrestling to receive the silver level sponsorship. Johnson noted that the Midwest is a major hub for the sport and it has a huge rabid local fan base.
Johnson said the team will host a wrestling clinic for the Elk Grove Village community and name one or more of their training camps leading up to the Olympics after the village's Makers Wanted branding.
Four trustees voted for the triathlon team to receive bronze, and two voted for the diving team.
National governing bodies for 12 teams made proposals for the sponsorships, believed to be the first time a municipality will financially back an Olympic team that operates under a national governing body. At the special meeting Thursday, the elected village officials watched videos submitted by the teams and chose their three favorite proposals.
The other teams vying for sponsorships were archery, artistic swimming, fencing, judo, sailing, softball, water polo and weightlifting.
Chicago-based 4FRONT -- the sports marketing agency that brokered the village's sponsorship of the Makers Wanted Bahamas Bowl in 2018 and 2019 -- sent requests for proposals to the teams' national governing bodies last month. Village officials decided not to renew the $300,000 sponsorship for the bowl game earlier this year.
Before the village board watched the 12 Olympic teams' videos, Johnson said 4FRONT ranked the proposals from the track and wrestling teams as the best of the 12 based on the village's criteria. Johnson said the second highest ratings went to the judo, artistic swimming, triathlon, diving and fencing teams.
Trustee Jeff Franke said every team submitted a fantastic proposal.
"Some of them were very heartfelt," Franke said, noting several of the less funded teams. "I wish we had money to give to everyone, but our goal is to get our name out there, and I would have to say that track and field gives us the biggest bang for our dollar."
Johnson said the $100,000 for the gold level sponsorship would come from a tax increment financing fund for the business park area around Busse and Elmhurst roads, where property tax money is funneled into development rather than to local governments. That money can be used for marketing or infrastructure public improvements.
Johnson said Thursday the $75,000 total to fund the silver and bronze level sponsorships will come from the money set aside for the village's 2020 concert series, which was canceled by the global pandemic.
Officials from 4FRONT clarified Friday that Elk Grove Village is sponsoring the the national governing bodies of each of the three teams, as opposed to the teams themselves.