HUSH-on … Sport Sponsorship – a difference perceptive

Eddie McGuire – President of AFL side Collingwood Football Club

First written in February 2020

When working in Sport Business, sponsorship can be an emotional environment. There are two main types of behaviour for businesses wanting to be part of the sport sponsorship world:

  1. To utilise the brand exposure and awareness association with a sponsorship can generate – new(ish) behaviour
  2. A sense of vanity and ego boosting for their brand to be linked with prestige and success – old(ish) behaviour

There is emotion when you see your brand in the sponsorship lights which gets a drive to get the most out of it and have more. This can mean business strategy and objectives can go out the window with personnel in higher positions influencing the decision with their hearts, even if it does not give you the awareness desired. This links to Eddie McGuire’s quote above on the politics of sponsorship.

This is not a negative to sport sponsorship. Sport is becoming reliant on their commercial income to be able to gain an audience and presence to build their fan based and ultimately their popularity. Sponsorship is also becoming the driving force of marketing to engage with your desire fans to tab into the emotional connection and culture. Only the big clubs and players in sport can look forward to the additional income of TV rights, the others must keep going on Matchday revenue (offends a fix price each game) and commercial revenue through sponsorship to boost finances. Therefore, any business that wants to support a club, even for their own ego, still helps the goal of the club – even if it is not with the right sort of perspective. Only if you can honestly justify turning down a certain amount money can you be picky with your partners, yet can come at another price, such as time and resources. As many account managers would agree, even if you don’t work in sport, this is the bane of your job – influencing your clients that your approach backed by research and statistics is the best for their business to meet their objectives. It is whether clients can move past the emotional connection.

Change to the perspective! – written in July 2020

With Covid-19, a new perspective of relationships between sponsors have been tested. Communication has been the catalyst for partners to adapt to the change. Innovation and creativity has been tested more than ever with an acceleration into a more digital and content based world. This means traditional matchday sponsorship have been put on hold, therefore partners with an “ego-centric” perspective would have been found out.

This new way of integrating fans in the forefront of engagement will only strengthen sponsorship, becoming a partnership for all to drive a community feel. Clubs will be able to justify which sponsors to work with in the future based on their creativity and openness to adapt to change – gives the opportunity to look at the bigger picture of what a sponsorship has to offer the club instead of the monetary value. This forced shift of thinking will ultimately change the landscape of Sport Sponsorship and bring new assets to the field. As the quote from Lynne Anderson below states, emotion will still be there but can create something powerful.

In a recent event at the World Football Summit (WFS) on Thursday 9th July 2020 looking at “Influencers and More: Content Creators”, the point was raised that clubs and athletes are looking for a true partnership, not the old traditional sponsorship model. It is the ability to showcase your product or offering in such a way that it isn’t seen as advertising.

It’s time to invest in innovation, creativity and for storytelling to shine to develop a new way of sponsorship in sport.

To learn more about the event with WFS, click this link to a post on their LinkedIn:

Lynne Anderson – CEO of Paralympics Australia

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