Some weeks ago I had a meeting with a group of marketing managers from twenty local companies. The idea behind this was to exchange experiences and views on the different aspects of sports sponsorships. I have to say that it was (again) an eye opener for me, as on both sides of the table, we concluded that there is a lot of room to get closer to each other.
First of all there is the definition of sponsorship. Numerous companies have adapted the use of sponsorship as one of their major promotional tools. But what exactly is this tool?
An analysis of some of the professional books, give different definitions for sponsorship.
Let’s put it simple:
Sponsorship is a business agreement between two parties, wherein one provides support for the other. These parties may be an individual person, a group of people, or a whole organization. Applicable terms to designate the nature of each party may be termed as sponsor and rights holder.
The word ‘sponsor’ simply indicates a person or organization willing to represent and vouch for a certain thing, individual, or group. The sponsor’s support may be through providing funds, products, or services.
The sports organization, on the other hand, creates itself as the representative of the sponsor. Their main duty is to promote the name of the sponsor, be it a large company or individual. Their exposure would usually be through advertising and media avenues, and in turn promote the sponsor’s name and the product or service they provide.
This business relationship that is created is a partnership between the two parties. I always advise sport organizations to get long-term sponsorship agreements, so you don’t need to get sponsorship every 6 months or year. The longer the business relationship lasts, the greater the benefits and value that can be acquired by both sponsor and sport organization.
Sports sponsorship may be considered as one of the most popular and media-covered kind of sponsorship, in which it allows large companies or corporations to support athletes or a sport organization through a variety of services. These services include sponsoring major events and/or games, providing athletes with necessary equipment, gears, nutritional needs, etc. All these bear the sponsor’s name, which in turn benefits them by letting the sport organization advertise for them by wearing or using their name.
During my meeting with the marketing managers, I made a presentation in which I outlined the two sides of the negotiation table. Persons sitting on both sides of the table have different expectations and ideas on the other party.
The Sport Organization
In quite some cases, sport organizations are not well prepared and don’t “sell” their sports professional. Other aspects include:
- No long-term development plan
- Low sense of business opportunities sports have
- Volunteers have no time for adequate preparation
- Marketing is a profession, and is as such often underestimated
- The sport organizations forget to give (sufficient) feedback to the sponsor after their sport event.
- Sport organizations forget to send press releases and to mention their sponsors