By NEIL HARTNELL
Tribune Business Editor
Atlantis saw the free promotional value generated by its Thanksgiving college basketball tournament jump 5 per cent year-over-year to a “massive” $38.5 million, and is planning to use it as a model to attract other “exciting events”.
George Markantonis, president and managing director for Brookfield Hospitality, the Paradise Island-based resort’s owner, said both the direct and indirect impacts produced by ‘Battle 4 Atlantis’ had “considerably exceeded our very optimistic expectations”.
He told Tribune Business that the ‘free’ advertising value Atlantis gained from hosting the 2013 tournament, via TV and media coverage, came to some $9.637 million.
And the publicity value to the resort, and wider Paradise Island/Bahamas destination, was pegged at $28.913 million for this year’s event.
Mr Markantonis said the 670 million ‘media impressions’ generated by TV, Internet and print media coverage of ‘Battle 4 Atlantis’ was a 42 per cent increase year-over-year, with both the resort and Tourism Promotion Board advertising featuring heavily during commercial breaks.
Apart from the long-term benefits, Mr Markantonis said the tournament also provided its normal short-term boost, generating 7,000 room nights that enabled Atlantis to be “sold out” for the Thanksgiving period.
“It was broadcast on 135-plus media outlets, on 130-plus online outlets and over 100 print outlets,” Mr Markantonis said of Battle 4 Atlantis.
“The publicity related impact was calculated at 670 million media impressions; the total combined media coverage generated approximately 670 media impressions.”
These ‘impressions’ show how Atlantis, and the Nassau/Paradise Island destination, were able to reach potential US visitors in this nation’s key North American markets simply by hosting a pre-season college basketball tournament.
This all helps to stimulate awareness of, and desire for, a Bahamian vacation. Mr Markantonis said some 7.7 million media impressions were generated by broadcast media, with the two TV channels covering ‘Battle 4 Atlantis’ attracting two million viewers combined.
Online hits and viewings produced the bulk of ‘media impressions’, at 443 million, with the 230 million ‘impressions’ from print media accounting for the balance.
“Broadly put, the advertising value came to $9.637 million, and the publicity value came to $28.913 million,” Mr Markantonis told Tribune Business of the tournament’s promotional worth, describing this as “massive”.
“I think the change in coverage, the impressions, were an increase of 42 per cent over 2012,” he added.
“The advertising value rose 5 per cent, and the publicity value rose 5 per cent. Both the advertising and publicity value, in dollar terms, rose 5 per cent.”
Not ignoring the direct impacts from ‘Battle 4 Atlantis’, Mr Markantonis said: “It’s hugely significant the fact that this tournament led Atlantis to sold out status over the Thanksgiving period.
“The tournament itself generated almost 7,000 room nights, and the TV coverage across North America and those markets is very significant.”
Apart from the direct advertising by Atlantis and the various Tourism Promotion Boards, Mr Markantonis said the resort and Nassau/Paradise Island, as a destination, featured in all the TV “bumpers as they came out for timeouts”.
“We sold 27,500 tickets to all the games. That was a new record,” he told Tribune Business. “It’s [Battle 4 Atlantis] probably the single largest event we do in the country from the point of view of publicity, and hits all of our target markets.”
Mr Markantonis indicated that Atlantis was set to use the college basketball tournament as a model, and platform, to attract other major events to Paradise Island and the Bahamas.
“I think it’s considerably exceeded our very optimistic expectations in the first place,” he said of ‘Battle 4 Atlantis’.
“Everyone has taken note of what this can do, and we are very aggressively looking at new and existing events that will attract the right customers for us going forward.”