Sponsorship and business….an untapped opportunity?

The sponsorship industry is changing.  The opportunities are endless and ways of engaging are ever increasing.  And yet, the sponsorship industry still remains fairly static.  Since inception, the typical transaction includes rights holders trading ‘space’ to sponsors for money.  Everyone seems pretty happy.  But is everyone getting the most out of the relationship?  With ROI crucial to good business, I’d question whether everyone is getting as much return for the investment that is being put into the sponsorships created.


But money talks and quite rightly, rights holders utilise sponsorship to drive revenue.  However, sponsorship can do so much more.  When done cleverly, sponsorship can open business avenues and new profit centres rights holders wouldn’t have been able to create by themselves.

But it needs a rights holder who is willing to look at the bigger picture with an ambition to think outside of the box commercially.

Rather than just chasing money for logo placement, rights holders need to identify what their ideal ambition is for incorporating sponsorship revenue within their commercial objectives.  For many B2B events, it’s about attracting leading consumer brand names to their event.  For music festivals, it’s about differentiation and adding value to the festival experience.  For sport, it’s getting fans to engage with the team or the sport in general beyond the Game or Event they pay to attend or even watch on TV.  Sponsorship does all these things, but it doesn’t happen overnight.

Many rights holders struggle to quantify their sponsorship ambitions.  Developing a sustainable sponsorship strategy is just like growing any business, in order to reach the end goal there are milestones of achievement – each one built upon success of the other

So how do you go about building a sponsorship strategy for you sport or event?

Figure out if you have ambitions beyond just earning money from selling rights to your property.  And if you do, create a plan to realise how sponsorship can help you reach them.

Look to partner with sponsors whose long-term goals and objectives are aligned with your own.

If your  proposition isn’t strong enough for the sponsors you would like to get on board, think about carving out areas of rights that you can provide on a reduced rights fee or for free while still maintaining your core sponsor propositions.  This allows you to attract sponsors that can deliver on some of your long-term goals while still ensuring your financial targets can be met.

Engage with your current sponsors about your ambitions and find out how they can play a role in achieving them.

Instead of thinking in one dimension and that selling a sponsorship is just a transactional activity to being more creative and making your rights an integral part of your sponsors marketing plans with a  rights package that is easy to activate in line with their business goals.

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