For the first time in 17 years, the Gasparilla Pirate Fest has no title sponsor for this year. Even though there might not be as many banners as usual, the fest will go unchanged.
The Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino had title sponsored the Gasparilla Pirate Fest for the past 3 years but they chose not to this year for business reasons, says Gasparilla project manager Darrell Stefany.
He says even though he wasn't able to peg a title sponsor that won't change the volume of the event.
"The parades are just as big and the fireworks show is exactly the same type of show and budgeted level that it's been in past years," assures Stefany.
"Our job is to put all that together no matter who the sponsors are and make it the best Gasparilla it's ever been."
Stefany says the costs and benefits of being a title sponsor depend on the sponsor itself and its marketing objectives. The title sponsor does have to pay a higher price than others and it typically appears on all Gasparilla Pirate Fest promotional advertising.
McDonald's of Tampa Bay is the title sponsor for the Children's Gasparilla Extravaganza and Chevrolet is its presenting sponsor.