Sports sponsorships are a form of marketing strategy in which a company provides financial or material support to a sports team, athlete, or event in exchange for advertising and promotional opportunities. The sponsorship can take various forms such as sponsoring a team’s jerseys, stadium naming rights, or individual athlete’s endorsement deals.
The goal of sports sponsorships is to increase brand awareness, improve brand image, and ultimately drive sales by associating the company’s brand with the positive qualities associated with sports, such as excellence, teamwork, and dedication.
Sports sponsorships have become increasingly popular over the years as a way for companies to reach large and diverse audiences. The sponsorships can range from local amateur teams to international events such as the Olympics, FIFA World Cup, or Super Bowl.
If your customers are sport fans, their interest, you should try to get their attention in their specific sports category by sponsorships.
Is Sports Sponsorships Worth It?
Whether sports sponsorships are worth it depends on various factors such as the company’s marketing objectives, target audience, budget, and the effectiveness of the sponsorship activation.
Sports sponsorships can be worth it if the company is looking to enhance brand awareness, credibility, and loyalty among a specific target audience. Sponsorship of popular teams, athletes, or events can help the company gain exposure and attention from a large and diverse audience, which can lead to increased brand recognition and customer loyalty.
Additionally, sports sponsorships can provide opportunities for experiential marketing, where the company can engage with customers and potential customers through events and activities related to the sponsorship. This can create positive brand associations and build strong relationships with customers.
However, sports sponsorships can also be costly, and it can be difficult to measure their return on investment (ROI). To ensure that the sponsorship is worth it, the company must carefully evaluate the potential benefits and costs of the sponsorship and have a clear plan for how they will leverage the sponsorship to achieve their marketing objectives.
Many companies have improved their revenue through sports sponsorships. Here are a few examples:
- Nike is a major sponsor of sports teams and events around the world. Their sponsorship deals have helped to increase their brand awareness and sales, with revenue reaching over $40 billion in 2020.
- Emirates has invested heavily in sports sponsorships, including partnerships with major football clubs like Arsenal and Real Madrid. Their sponsorships have helped to increase their brand exposure and revenue, with the company reporting a net profit of $288 million in 2020.
- Coca-Cola has been a long-time sponsor of the Olympic Games and other major sports events. Their sponsorships have helped to build strong brand associations and increase sales, with the company reporting $33 billion in revenue in 2020.
- Red Bull is known for its sponsorship of extreme sports events, such as the Red Bull Air Race and the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series. Their sponsorships have helped to build a strong brand identity and increase sales, with the company reporting revenue of over $7 billion in 2020.
- Adidas is a major sponsor of sports teams and events, including partnerships with major football clubs like Manchester United and Bayern Munich. Their sponsorships have helped to increase brand awareness and sales, with revenue reaching over $25 billion in 2020.
It’s important to note that the success of a sponsorship deal depends on a variety of factors, including the sponsor’s goals, the specific sponsorship strategy, and the execution of the campaign.
Why Sports Sponsorships
There are several reasons why a company might choose to use sports sponsorships as part of their marketing strategy:
- Reach: Sports sponsorships can offer companies a significant reach, particularly if they are sponsoring a popular team or event. This can help companies to increase their brand awareness and reach a larger audience.
- Brand Association: By sponsoring a sports team or event, a company can associate its brand with the values and emotions associated with that team or event. This can help to create a positive image for the company and build stronger connections with customers.
- Targeting: Sports sponsorships can be used to target specific customer segments. For example, a company that sells sports equipment might sponsor a team or event that is popular with athletes and fitness enthusiasts.
- Engagement: Sports sponsorships can be used to create more engaging and interactive marketing campaigns. This can help to increase customer engagement and create a more memorable experience for customers.
- Differentiation: Sports sponsorships can help companies to differentiate themselves from their competitors. By sponsoring a team or event, a company can create a unique selling point that sets them apart from other brands in their industry.
- ROI: Sports sponsorships can offer a strong return on investment (ROI) if they are executed effectively. By measuring the impact of their sponsorships and optimizing their investments, companies can achieve a strong ROI and drive business results.
Sports sponsorships can be an effective way for companies to achieve a range of marketing objectives, from increasing brand awareness and engagement to driving sales and revenue growth.
Sports Sponsorships Components
Sports sponsorships can involve a range of different components, depending on the specific sponsorship deal and the goals of the sponsoring company:
- Naming rights: Sponsors may have the right to put their name on a stadium or arena, such as the Emirates Stadium in London or the TD Garden in Boston.
- Logo placement: Sponsors may have the right to place their logo on team uniforms, equipment, or advertising materials.
- Hospitality: Sponsors may be given access to exclusive hospitality areas, such as VIP suites or hospitality tents, for entertaining clients or customers.
- Experiential marketing: Sponsors may create experiential marketing activations, such as fan zones or interactive displays, to engage fans and build brand awareness.
- Social media: Sponsors may have the right to use team or event-related content on their social media channels, or may create social media campaigns to engage fans and build brand awareness.
- Broadcast and media rights: Sponsors may have the right to advertise during broadcasts of games or events, or may have exclusive access to interviews or behind-the-scenes content.
- Community involvement: Sponsors may work with teams or events to create community programs or initiatives, such as youth sports programs or charitable partnerships.
The specific components of a sponsorship deal will depend on the goals of the sponsoring company and the terms of the agreement with the team or event.
Sports Sponsorships Strategies
Sports sponsorships strategies involve a range of tactics that companies can use to maximize the benefits of their sponsorship investment:
- Identify the right sponsorship opportunity: Companies should choose a sponsorship that aligns with their brand values, target audience, and marketing objectives. For example, a company that sells energy drinks might sponsor a team or athlete in extreme sports like surfing or snowboarding.
- Leverage branding opportunities: Companies should take advantage of branding opportunities to maximize their exposure. This includes placing their logo on team jerseys, stadium signage, and advertising materials.
- Activate the sponsorship: Companies should create a plan for how they will activate the sponsorship to achieve their marketing objectives. This can include hosting events or promotions related to the sponsorship, creating social media campaigns, or offering exclusive experiences to customers.
- Measure the ROI: Companies should measure the effectiveness of their sponsorship to determine whether it is worth the investment. This can include tracking website traffic, sales, and social media engagement.
- Build relationships with athletes or teams: Companies can build strong relationships with the athletes or teams they sponsor by providing support beyond the financial backing. This can include providing training and nutritional support or helping athletes and teams with media relations.
- Create content: Companies can create content related to the sponsorship to engage with customers and promote their brand. This can include social media posts, blog articles, and videos.
A successful sports sponsorship strategy requires careful planning, execution, and evaluation to maximize the benefits of the investment.
Which Companies can Benefit
A few examples of sports sponsorships that can benefit companies:
- Sports apparel and equipment companies: Companies that sell sports apparel and equipment can benefit from sponsoring teams or athletes that use their products. For example, Nike sponsors many high-profile athletes and teams, which helps to promote their brand and increase sales.
- Food and beverage companies: Companies that sell food and beverage products can benefit from sponsoring sports teams and events. For example, Coca-Cola is a long-time sponsor of the Olympics, which helps to promote their brand and increase sales.
- Automotive companies: Companies that sell cars and other vehicles can benefit from sponsoring sports events, particularly racing events like Formula One or NASCAR. This helps to promote their brand to a passionate and dedicated fan base.
- Technology companies: Companies that sell technology products, such as smartphones or wearables, can benefit from sponsoring sports teams and events. For example, Samsung sponsors the Olympics, which helps to promote their brand and showcase their products.
- Financial services companies: Companies that provide financial services, such as banks or credit card companies, can benefit from sponsoring sports teams and events. This helps to promote their brand and build customer loyalty.
Some Best Practices
Here are some best practices for sports sponsorships:
- Set clear goals and objectives: Before embarking on a sports sponsorship, set clear goals and objectives for the partnership. This could include increasing brand awareness, driving sales, or building customer loyalty. Clear goals will help ensure that the sponsorship aligns with the company’s overall marketing strategy and will allow for better measurement of success.
- Choose the right partnership: Choose a sports team, athlete, or event that aligns with the company’s target audience and brand values. The partnership should be authentic and meaningful to customers, and the company should research the potential partner thoroughly to ensure they share the same values.
- Leverage branding opportunities: Take advantage of branding opportunities to maximize exposure. This could include placing the company logo on team jerseys, stadium signage, and advertising materials.
- Activate the sponsorship: Create a plan for how the company will activate the sponsorship to achieve their marketing objectives. This could include hosting events or promotions related to the sponsorship, creating social media campaigns, or offering exclusive experiences to customers.
- Measure the ROI: Track and measure the effectiveness of the sponsorship to determine whether it is worth the investment. This could include tracking website traffic, sales, and social media engagement. Companies should also evaluate the impact of the sponsorship on brand awareness and customer perception.
- Build strong relationships: Build strong relationships with the athletes or teams the company sponsors by providing support beyond financial backing. This could include providing training and nutritional support or helping athletes and teams with media relations.
- Evaluate and adjust: Evaluate the success of the sponsorship regularly and make adjustments as needed. This could include changing the activation strategy or choosing a different partnership.
Sports Sponsorships Analytic Tools
There are several analytic tools available to help companies measure the success of their sports sponsorships:
- Social media analytics: Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram provide analytics tools that allow companies to track engagement with their sponsorship content. This includes metrics like likes, shares, and comments, as well as reach and impressions.
- Web analytics tools like Google Analytics allow companies to track website traffic and user behavior related to their sponsorship. This includes tracking the number of website visitors, the source of the traffic, and the pages viewed.
- Brand lift studies measure the impact of a sponsorship on brand awareness, perception, and purchase intent. These studies often use surveys or other research methods to gather data from consumers.
- Sales data analysis: Companies can analyze sales data to determine whether there is a correlation between their sponsorship and increased sales. This could include tracking sales during and after the sponsorship period or comparing sales in regions where the sponsorship is active vs. regions where it is not.
- Sponsorship valuation tools: These tools help companies determine the value of their sponsorship investment by estimating the exposure and media value generated by the partnership. This includes factors like TV exposure, print media, and social media engagement.
Using a combination of these tools can provide a comprehensive view of the success of a sports sponsorship and help companies make data-driven decisions about their marketing strategies.
Sports Sponsorship Valuation Tools
Sponsorship valuation tools are software programs or platforms that help companies determine the value of their sports sponsorship investments. These tools use data and analytics to estimate the exposure and media value generated by the partnership:
- Nielsen Sports is a global leader in sports sponsorship research and valuation. They offer a range of services, including sponsorship measurement, media valuation, and sponsorship effectiveness.
- Repucom is another global sports marketing research and analytics company that offers sponsorship valuation tools. Their services include brand exposure measurement, sponsorship effectiveness, and social media analytics.
- Kantar is a leading data, insights, and consulting company that provides a range of sponsorship valuation services. This includes measuring the impact of sponsorships on brand equity, tracking media exposure, and assessing the effectiveness of sponsorships.
- Octagon is a global sports and entertainment marketing agency that provides a range of sponsorship valuation services. This includes media valuation, sponsorship effectiveness, and fan engagement measurement.
- SponsorPulse is a platform that provides real-time data on sports sponsorships. This includes data on sponsorship effectiveness, brand exposure, and fan engagement. The platform also includes a tool for estimating the media value of sponsorships.
Sponsorship valuation tools can help companies make data-driven decisions about their sports sponsorship investments by providing an estimate of the value generated by the partnership. However, it is important to note that these tools are only estimates and should be used in conjunction with other analytics and metrics to get a complete picture of the success of a sponsorship.
Sport Sponsorship Metrics
Here are some common metrics that companies use to measure the success of their sports sponsorships:
- Brand Awareness: Measuring brand awareness involves tracking the increase in the number of people who recognize the company and its products or services after the sponsorship. This can be done through surveys, social media analytics, and other tools.
- Media Exposure: This metric tracks the amount and type of media exposure that the company receives as a result of the sponsorship. This includes TV, radio, print media, and online exposure. Companies can use media monitoring tools to track their exposure.
- Fan Engagement: Measures the level of engagement that fans have with the sponsored sports team or event. This can include metrics such as social media followers, website traffic, and fan sentiment.
- Sales: Sales metrics track the increase in sales revenue that the company generates as a result of the sponsorship. This can be measured by tracking sales data during and after the sponsorship period.
- Return on Investment (ROI): ROI is a measure of the financial return that the company receives from its sponsorship investment. This includes the cost of the sponsorship and the revenue generated as a result. ROI can be calculated using various financial metrics such as net present value, internal rate of return, and payback period.
- Customer Loyalty: This metric tracks the level of customer loyalty and retention that the company receives as a result of the sponsorship. This can be measured through customer surveys and other tools.
- Brand Perception: This metric track changes in customer perceptions of the company and its products or services as a result of the sponsorship. This can be measured through surveys and other research methods.
Sport Sponsorship Benchmarks
There is no one-size-fits-all benchmark for sports sponsorship success, as the metrics and benchmarks will depend on the goals and objectives of each individual company and sponsorship. Here are some general benchmarks that can be used as a reference point:
- Brand Awareness: A typical benchmark for measuring brand awareness is to aim for a 10% increase in brand recognition over the sponsorship period.
- Media Exposure: A good benchmark for media exposure is to aim for at least 1 hour of TV coverage per event, and a minimum of 10 media mentions per event.
- Fan Engagement: A benchmark for fan engagement is to aim for a 20% increase in social media followers or website traffic over the sponsorship period.
- Sales: A common benchmark for sales is to aim for a minimum 5% increase in sales revenue over the sponsorship period.
- Return on Investment (ROI): A good benchmark for ROI is to aim for a minimum 3:1 return on investment ratio, meaning that for every dollar spent on sponsorship, the company generates $3 in revenue.
Online Sport Sponsorships
Online sports sponsorships refer to sponsorships that involve digital and online channels, such as social media, streaming platforms, and websites. Online sports sponsorships have become increasingly popular in recent years, as more and more people consume sports content online.
Here are some examples of online sports sponsorships:
- Social media sponsorships: Sponsors may work with athletes or teams to create sponsored social media content, such as Instagram posts or Twitter updates, that promote their brand.
- Streaming platform sponsorships: Sponsors may work with streaming platforms, such as Twitch or YouTube, to sponsor live streams of sporting events or to create branded content.
- Website sponsorships: Sponsors may work with sports websites to place banner ads, sponsored articles, or other forms of advertising that reach a specific target audience.
- Influencer sponsorships: Sponsors may work with sports influencers, such as YouTubers or TikTok stars, to create sponsored content that promotes their brand or product.
- Virtual sponsorships: Sponsors may work with esports teams or events to create virtual sponsorships, such as branded in-game items or sponsored virtual events.
Online sports sponsorships offer a range of benefits, including the ability to reach a large and engaged audience, the ability to track and measure the effectiveness of sponsorships, and the ability to create targeted and personalized campaigns.
Sport Sponsorships Latest Trends
These trends reflect the evolving landscape of sports sponsorships and the growing importance of data-driven and purpose-driven marketing strategies:
- Purpose-Driven Sponsorships: More and more companies are looking to align their sponsorships with a social or environmental cause that resonates with their target audience. For example, companies may sponsor a sports event that supports a charity or an environmental initiative.
- Virtual Sponsorships: With the rise of virtual and e-sports events, virtual sponsorships are becoming more common. This involves placing digital ads and branding within virtual games and events.
- Micro-Influencer Sponsorships: Instead of partnering with celebrity athletes, more companies are turning to micro-influencers who have smaller but more targeted followings on social media. These micro-influencers can help companies reach a more niche audience and generate higher engagement.
- Fan Experience: Companies are focusing on creating unique and immersive fan experiences as part of their sponsorships. This can include interactive activations, behind-the-scenes tours, and exclusive merchandise.
- Data-Driven Sponsorships: With the rise of data analytics, more companies are using data to inform their sponsorships. This can include using data to identify target audiences, measure the success of sponsorships, and optimize sponsorship investments.
- Diversity and Inclusion: Companies are increasingly focusing on diversity and inclusion in their sponsorships. This includes partnering with teams and events that have diverse representation, and creating more inclusive fan experiences.
- Local Sponsorships: With the rise of hyper-local marketing, more companies are focusing on local sports sponsorships. This involves partnering with local teams and events to create more targeted marketing campaigns that resonate with local audiences.
- Digital Transformation: The continued digital transformation of sports and marketing is likely to have a major impact on sponsorships. Digital channels and technologies will play an increasingly important role in how sponsors engage with fans and measure the success of their investments.
- Personalization: As marketing becomes more data-driven, personalized sponsorships will become more common. Sponsors will use data and analytics to identify individual fan preferences and create tailored marketing campaigns.
- Esports: The rise of esports is creating new opportunities for sponsors to engage with younger audiences. As esports events continue to grow in popularity, sponsors will increasingly look to partner with teams and events in this space.
- Sustainability: Environmental and social sustainability is likely to become a more important consideration for sports sponsorships. Sponsors will need to consider how their investments align with their own sustainability goals and the values of their customers.
- Brand Purpose: Sponsors will increasingly look for opportunities to align their sponsorships with a larger purpose or cause. This will help them build stronger connections with consumers who are looking for brands that are aligned with their values.
- Augmented and Virtual Reality: The use of augmented and virtual reality is likely to become more common in sports sponsorships. This technology will allow sponsors to create immersive fan experiences that can be enjoyed both in-person and online.
- New Revenue Streams: As the sports industry continues to evolve, new revenue streams will emerge for sponsors. This could include opportunities in areas like fan data monetization, virtual experiences, and content distribution.
RTR Sports Marketing: The calculation of ROI (return on investment) in sports marketing
Nielsen Sports: Return on Sponsorship Investment
McKinsey & Company: Is sports sponsorship worth it?