4 Things to Know About Sports Sponsorship
With your Master of Science in Sport Management, you may decide to pursue a career in sports sponsorship. However, it’s important to understand that the industry is starkly different than it was just ten years ago, and it will only continue to evolve. Audiences have more outlets than ever to connect with their favorite brands and sports teams, and sponsors need to work diligently to find an effective way to cater to such fragmentation.
A Fragmented Audience
Image via Flickr by electricnerve
When we say “fragmentation,” we’re referring to the fact that audiences are using multiple devices and avenues to interact with brands. An effective sports sponsorship recognizes that and knows how to strategize for each individual outlet. In the past, marketers could rely on television networks to deliver their message, but we live in a digital age now, with Internet streaming, smartphones, and ad-free radio. People are consuming information differently, so a sponsor has to work twice as hard to make sure their content gets to where the people are.
More Than Shoes and Sports Drinks
For many years, a sports sponsorship almost always involved a deal with a sports drink or an athletic shoe. While those products are certainly relevant to an audience that is crazy about sports, there are scores of other branding opportunities out there. For example, some wireless companies sponsor athletes to tap into the idea of speed, interaction, etc. Using enough creativity when developing a sponsorship campaign could set you apart from the competition.
Activation Is Key
According to research conducted by McKinsey and Company, many companies seem to be forgetting a key element of successful sponsorship: activation. This can include promotional booths at special events or merchandise that helps boost awareness of a particular sponsorship. McKinsey’s research found that corporations are spending big to get the rights to sponsor a property, but they’re skimping when it comes to interacting with audiences outside of advertisements. That’s a significant misstep since focusing more on activation has the potential to improve brand recall and enhance unaided awareness. While we do live in a digital age, it’s important to remember that target audiences exist outside of their televisions and computers.
Fans Trust Favorite Teams, Not Brands
Data collection is a big part of getting to know your audience, but it can be difficult to convince a consumer to give up their information to a corporation. However, those same consumers seem more than happy to share their data with their favorite sports teams. Many teams collect fan data through ticket sales, apps, and even concession stand purchases. Sponsors can ask to tap into that as well, to better understand the demographic and plan their campaigns accordingly.
If you’re still interested in sports sponsorship, you’ll be glad to know that it is an excellent market to tap into. Sports sponsorship is a rapidly growing industry, as Advertising Age reports, with marketers expected to spend $14.35 billion in 2014, a 4.9% increase from the previous year. Marketing firms will be in need of serious talent to keep up the momentum, so your MSSM will be a valuable asset.