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0324 Corporate Sponsorship

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Complete Transcript
Welcome to English as a Second Language Podcast number 324: Corporate Sponsorship.

This is English as a Second Language Podcast episode 324. I’m your host, Dr. Jeff McQuillan, coming to you from the Center for Educational Development in beautiful Los Angeles, California.

Visit our website at eslpod.com and download a Learning Guide for this episode. The Learning Guides contain all of the vocabulary, definitions, sample sentences, additional definitions, cultural notes, comprehension questions, and a complete transcript of this episode.

This episode is called “Corporate Sponsorship,” about when a company decides to give money to help an organization. Let’s get started.

[start of dialogue]

Travis: I don’t know how we’re going to keep our free sports program going without more funding. As it is, we’re strapped and I don’t know how we’re going to continue.

Megumi: I know you’ve been resistant in the past, but what about corporate sponsorship? I’m sure we can find some businesses that want to support us.

Travis: I know you’re trying to help, but I’m not willing to sell out.

Megumi: It’s not selling out to have sponsors. Some businesses really want to keep public programs like ours free and available to the public. Being a benefactor is their way of helping us do that. In exchange, those companies get more exposure and enhance their public image. It’s a win-win for everyone.

Travis: Don’t get me wrong. I’m not trying to get on a high horse about sponsorship, but I don’t want product placement, business signage, and outright advertising at our games. It sends the wrong message to the kids in the program.

Megumi: I don’t think it’s an all-or-nothing idea. You can limit the kinds of sponsorship you accept. Just don’t throw out the baby with the bath water. You know, it may be our only option.

Travis: Okay, okay. I’ll look into it. You may be right. If it’s a choice between canceling our programs and getting sponsorship, then I may have to live with it.

Megumi: Good. Let’s keep an open mind and I’m sure we’ll find something that will work.

[end of dialogue]

Our dialogue begins with Travis saying to Megumi, “I don’t know how we’re going to keep our free sports program going without more funding.” To “keep something going” is to continue. So, he doesn’t see how they are going to be able to continue their free sports program – for children, I would guess – without more funding. “Funding” is another word for money, money that is used for a particular program, project, or organization.

Travis says, “As it is (meaning in our current circumstances), we’re strapped and I don’t know how we’re going to continue.” To be “strapped” (strapped) means that you don’t have enough money, that you are broke, that you just have enough money to survive, or very little money. All of these could be definitions of “strapped.” The word “strap” has a couple of different meanings in English; take a look at our Learning Guide for some additional explanations.

So, Travis is asking where they can get the money to keep the program going. Megumi says, “I know you’ve been resistant in the past, but what about corporate sponsorship?” To be “resistant” means not wanting to do something, even though other people think you should do it, you don’t want to. The verb is “to resist,” and the adjective here is “resistant” – to be hesitant.

She says, “I know you’ve been resistant in the past (you haven’t wanted to in the past), but what about corporate sponsorship?” “Corporate sponsorship” is when a company gives money to an organization, usually a “non-profit” organization – an organization that doesn’t try to make money, but tries to help other people. Corporate sponsorship is usually given to these organizations, and the company gets advertising. The company’s name is mentioned so that people know that they have provided money for this organization, and that is a kind of advertising. It’s very popular, for example, for local sports teams – baseball teams, football teams, soccer teams – for young people to have local businesses pay for their “uniforms,” the clothing they wear while they are playing. And usually, that clothing will have the name of the company, so every time the team goes out and plays a game, people see the name of the company. So, the organization benefits – gets something from the money to help them pay for the organization – the project, and the company gets some advertising.

Travis says, “I know you’re trying to help, but I’m not willing to sell out.” To “sell out” is a phrasal verb – a two-word verb – meaning to change your beliefs about something just so you can get some money, or to stop doing something that you think is important in order to get more money from someone. That’s to “sell out.” To “sell out” has a couple of meanings in English; take a look, again, at our Learning Guide for some additional explanations.

Travis is saying that he doesn’t want to get the money from the company and change his beliefs about it. Megumi says, “It’s not selling out to have sponsors.” A “sponsor” is a person or an organization that supports something, usually by giving money to that organization. A “sponsorship” is the actual giving of the money to the organization; the “sponsor” is the person or the organization.

Megumi explains that “Some businesses really want to keep public programs like ours free and available to the public. Being a benefactor is their way of helping us do that.” A “benefactor” (benefactor) is similar to a sponsor; it’s a person or an organization that provides a lot of money for something, and sometimes doesn’t ask for any advertising or anything in return. They say, “Here’s the money,” you don’t have to tell other people about it, they just give you the money because they are being nice – they want to help you. We have benefactors who donate money to ESL Podcast, that’s an example of helping an organization.

Megumi says in exchange for being a benefactor, these companies do “get more exposure and enhance their public image.” “Exposure” means the ability to be seen – people see you. We might use the word “visibility,” the fact that people can see you, that they know about you. A company’s “public image” is the way other people look at that company – other people’s opinion of that company. Megumi says, “It’s a win-win situation for everyone.” The expression “win-win” means it’s a situation where both people or both organizations benefit, each person gets something good from this exchange – this situation.

Travis says to Megumi, “Don’t get me wrong.” We often use that phrase to mean “don’t misunderstand me,” you’re worried that the person is not going to understand what you are saying. If you want to go out for dinner instead of eating at home, you may say to your wife or husband, “Don’t get me wrong dear, I love your cooking. But today, let’s go to dinner.” You may not love his or her cooking, but you should never say that, of course. Don’t get me wrong, I never do that!

“Don’t get me wrong,” Travis says, “I’m not trying to get on a high horse about sponsorship.” The expression “to get on a high horse,” or “to get on your high horse,” means to speak as though you have a higher moral or ethical standard than everyone else, to talk as if you are smarter than anyone else about a certain topic. That’s considered a negative thing.

So, he says, “I’m not trying to get on a high horse, but I don’t want product placement, business signage, and outright advertising at our games.” “Product placement” is when a company puts their product in an event or a movie or a TV show. So, if you are watching a movie and one of the people in the movie is drinking a Coca-Cola, well, Coca-Cola probably paid the movie company to use their particular soda. That’s an example of “product placement.” “Signage” is when you have large, flat pieces of wood or plastic with writing on them. Seeing advertisements as you drive down the street is an example of “signage,” but anything that is a sign that has information on it that you are supposed to look at and follow can be called “signage.”

Travis says he doesn’t “want product placement, business signage, or outright advertising.” “Outright” (one word) means direct, clear, in the open, not hidden. He says, “I don’t want advertising at our games. It sends the wrong message to the kids in the program.” Megumi says, “I don’t think it’s an all-or-nothing idea.” “All-or-nothing” means something must be done completely or it cannot be done at all – you can’t separate it into smaller parts. She’s saying it’s not an all-or-nothing idea; you don’t have to do everything that you would normally do in a corporate sponsorship.

“You can limit the kinds of sponsorship you accept,” she says. Then she uses an old expression, “don’t throw the baby out with the bath water.” To “throw the baby out with the bath water” means to get rid of something good when you are trying to get rid of something bad, so you get rid of both the good and the bad at the same time. A baby, when they take a bath in a small bowl, has what we would call “bath water,” and you throw the water out, but, of course, you don’t throw the baby out. So it means keep the good things, and don’t get rid of the good things just to get rid of the bad things.

Travis says, “Okay. I’ll look into it” – I’ll investigate it. Megumi says, “Good. Let’s keep an open mind and I’m sure we’ll find something that will work.” To “keep an open mind” means to not make a decision before you have all the information.

Now let’s listen to the dialogue, this time at a normal speed.

[start of dialogue]

Travis: I don’t know how we’re going to keep our free sports program going without more funding. As it is, we’re strapped and I don’t know how we’re going to continue.

Megumi: I know you’ve been resistant in the past, but what about corporate sponsorship? I’m sure we can find businesses that want to support us.

Travis: I know you’re trying to help, but I’m not willing to sell out.

Megumi: It’s not selling out to have sponsors. Some businesses really want to keep public programs like ours free and available to the public. Being a benefactor is their way of helping us do that. In exchange, those companies get more exposure and enhance their public image. It’s a win-win for everyone.

Travis: Don’t get me wrong. I’m not trying to get on a high horse about sponsorship, but I don’t want product placement, business signage, and outright advertising at our games. It sends the wrong message to the kids in the program.

Megumi: I don’t think it’s an all-or-nothing idea. You can limit the kinds of sponsorship you accept. Just don’t throw out the baby with the bath water. You know, it may be our only option.

Travis: Okay, okay. I’ll look into it. You may be right. If it’s a choice between canceling our programs and getting sponsorship, then I may have to live with it.

Megumi: Good. Let’s keep an open mind and I’m sure we’ll find something that will work.

[end of dialogue]

The script for this episode was written by Dr. Lucy Tse.

From Los Angeles, California, I’m Jeff McQuillan. Thanks for listening. We’ll see you next time on ESL Podcast.

English as a Second Language Podcast is written and produced by Dr. Lucy Tse, hosted by Dr. Jeff McQuillan. This podcast is copyright 2007.

Glossary
funding – money for a specific purpose; money that is meant to be used for a particular program, project, or organization

* How much funding is needed each year to keep the aquarium open?


strapped – broke; without enough money or with just barely enough money; with little money

* This month we’re strapped because we bought a new car and we had to pay grandma’s hospital bill.


resistant – hesitant; not wanting to do something, even though other people think that one should do it

* Patricia is very resistant to new technology and still uses a typewriter instead of a computer.


corporate sponsorship – money given to an organization by a business, in exchange for free advertising and/or publicity

* Our company accepted corporate sponsorship so we could offer our free services to more people.


to sell out – to change one’s beliefs in exchange for money; to stop doing what one thinks is most important in order to get money

* Some people accused the environmental activist of selling out when he accepted money from the oil company for his research project.


sponsor – a person or organization that supports something, usually by providing money for it

* Gatehouse Pizza was the main sponsor for the high school’s music department.


benefactor – a person or organization that supports something, usually by providing a lot of money for it and sometimes not asking for recognition

* Who are the benefactors of New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art?


exposure – visibility; the ability to be seen

* Many companies want to put their ads in New York City’s Times Square, because there are always a lot of people there, so they can get a lot of exposure.


public image – the way that a person, business, or organization is viewed by most people; the opinion that most people have of a person, business, or organization

* This company’s public image suffered when people learned about the company’s accounting problems.


win-win – a situation where both people or organizations benefit; a situation that is good for both people or organizations

* Selling Jeremy your car is a win-win: he needs a car, and you need cash.


don’t get me wrong – a phrase used to mean “don’t misunderstand me”; a phrase used when one is worried that the other person will be upset about what one is going to say

* Don’t get me wrong. I think Mesulah is very smart, but lately he doesn’t seem to know what the professor is talking about.


to get on a high horse – to speak as if one has higher moral (right and wrong) standards than anyone else does; to talk as if one is smarter than anyone else about a particular topic

* I hate it when Mindy gets on a high horse and starts talking about literature as if none of us had ever read a book.


product placement – the act of putting a company’s product where it will be seen during an event, movie, or TV show

* Do you think there is too much product placement in TV shows made for children today?


signage – large, flat pieces of wood or plastic with writing and/or logos on them, often used for advertising

* Drivers might be distracted if there is too much signage on the side of the road.


outright – direct, in-the-open, clear, not hidden

* Tara was surprised and angered by her daughter’s outright refusal to consider going to college.


all-or-nothing – something that must be done in full, and cannot be done partially; something that cannot be separated into parts, so that one must choose all of it or none of it

* At the end of the night, Rhett made an all-or-nothing bet, so that if he won the game, he would win a lot of money, but if he lost, he would lose everything.

Comprehension Questions
1. What does Travis mean when he says, “I’m not willing to sell out”?
a) He doesn’t want to sell all the tickets to the free sports games.
b) He doesn’t want to sell to people outside of the organization.
c) He doesn’t want to change his beliefs to get money for the program.

2. How does corporate sponsorship help companies?
a) It lets them stop being benefactors.
b) It gives them advertising opportunities.
c) It helps them find more money for their work.

Answers at bottom.

What Else Does It Mean?
strapped

The word “strapped,” in this podcast, means having little money, or not enough money: “After the earthquake, the city was strapped for cash to rebuild the hospital.” A “strap” is a long, narrow piece of cloth or leather (animal skin) that is used to carry or hold something: “These purse straps keep falling off my shoulder.” Or, “The strap on his suitcase broke, so he had to carry it with both hands.” Or, “Does your watch have a leather strap or a cloth strap?” As a verb, “to strap (something)” means to use straps to tie something up or to tie it to another thing: “Please make sure that the bags are strapped tightly to the top of the car before you begin driving.”

to sell out

In this podcast, the phrase “to sell out” means to change one’s beliefs in exchange for money: “Everyone said that the peace-loving presidential candidate sold out when he accepted money from the National Rifle Association, an organization that supports people owning guns.” The phrase “to sell out (of something)” also means to sell all the pieces one has of a particular item, so that there are none left to sell: “During the storm, the store sold out of flashlights and water.” The phrase “to sell (something) off” means to sell something inexpensively because one needs money quickly: “Liam sold off all his CDs to get enough money to pay for his university textbooks.” Finally, the phrase “to sell (someone) short” means to undervalue someone, or not believe that someone is as good or intelligent as he or she actually is: “Megan sells herself short during interviews, forgetting to tell the companies how well qualified she is.”

Culture Note
Many U.S. laws limit the amount and type of sponsorship and advertising that alcohol and “tobacco” (an ingredient in cigarettes) companies can “engage” (be involved) in. This is because studies have shown that many people are influenced by advertisements and may begin using alcohol or tobacco when they see such advertisements, especially young people.

Advertisements for alcohol can be in the “media” (magazines, newspapers, television, radio, etc.) only if at least 70% of the audience is older than the “official drinking age” (the age at which Americans may legally drink alcohol, 21 years old). Some media companies refuse to accept advertisements for alcohol, even though more than 70% of their readers are older than the drinking age.

Alcohol companies are not supposed to make advertisements that will “appeal to” (attract, or be pleasant to) young people. For example, alcohol companies should not use cartoon characters in their advertisements. Also, the advertisements have to have a statement saying that alcohol should be “consumed in moderation” (drunk a little bit at a time, not too much or too often).

Alcohol may be advertised on television if most of the viewers are above the drinking age, but tobacco can never be advertised on television. Today, tobacco companies can advertise only in “print media” (magazines and newspapers), and the advertisements must have a statement about the negative health effects of smoking.

Alcohol and tobacco companies often sponsor sporting events, placing their advertisements on “billboards” (large signs) or “fences” (walls around an area). But they can sponsor events only if they are for adults. Events for children cannot be sponsored by alcohol and tobacco companies.

Comprehension Answers
1 - c

2 - b