I believe I mentioned this somewhere else, but IMO having Stern lead the PR campaign on this to potential outside sponsorships as the "Industry Leader" is a much better person to have sitting at the table compared to the President of a player's organization. More often than not, I couldn't even get those conversations started.
I know with Big Buck Hunter, leaving sponsorships to player groups went nowhere. When we took that task on in house, we were able to land sponsors like Moosehead Lager, Jaegermeister, etc.
That sponsorship money went directly to the player's hands for BBH. What started as a $10K prize pool 9 years ago is now a $100K prize pool as we hit our 10th anniversary.