Sport Sponsorship Home Run

Sports are continuously changing with implementation of new tactics and innovative technologies while sponsorship is basically still the same as it was yesterday. I wanted to show that the basics are the same but the methods and strategies are changing into the modern sport sponsorship. First of, lets dig into some regular objectives among sponsors in sports. Here are some of the most common ones:

  • No 1 – Name or Logo Exposure
  • No 2 – Image Transfer
  • No 3 – Relationship Marketing
  • No 4 – Marketing and Communication
  • No 5 – Product Promotion and Sales

Nowadays we do see some new trends and tools in combination with sponsorship, such as social media live (read my previous post), as well as many new channels and platforms that consumers engage with.

In the past several years we have seen a big change within the sports sponsorship, especially when it comes to social media, which has become extremely important in sports marketing and sponsorship. Social media has opened up new opportunities for exposure, and increased the competition between various brands for that exposure. Also, we are seeing more and more brands investing into sport sponsorships, but the big trend in recent years is the shift of focus from teams/clubs to athletes themselves. 

“Now you just open up your phone and you can say something or you can post something and you can shoot a video. It can reach so many people and impact so many lives by just taking 10 seconds.” – Serena Williams


Before you negotiate a new sponsorship deal with various stakeholders, or if you are about to negotiate an extension, or when you are in contact with various stakeholders, try to keep this in mind:

  • Who will benefit from being seen / heard / participating in the sports event?
  • Is it us strengthening their brand or them strengthening ours?
  • Are we currently cooperating with this sponsor or have we cooperated with them in the past?

Based on this, you can have a different approach to fees, rates and packages.

Basic components of a winning proposal

When you are about to get down to business and negotiate your next sponsorship deal, you need to know some basic game rules of negotiation. Before that, I’d like to point out something. It is never about your sports brand/team, it is about finding a game plan where both you and the potential sponsor will win. So try to look at things from the sponsors’ perspective before entering any negotiation. When you have that in mind, then you can continue and use these basic components for a winning proposal:

Capture the tone and significance of the event. Establish the legitimacy of the event and the credentials of the organizer.

Summarize the opportunities presented by the event and objectives of the presentation.

3.The Event
Present a more complete (but concise) description of the property.

4.The Opportunity
Provide details on how the company can get involved.

5.Next Steps
Conclude with a call to action.

Benefits of a sport sponsorship

There are many ways of packaging a sponsorship and, no matter who is involved, all parties should have their goals set in advance. Below you can find different potential benefits of a sponsorship in sports, some of which might help you hit your Home run deal.

Direct sponsor benefits:
– Exposure
– Customer hospitality
– Sales opportunities
– Fundraising for corporate causes

Exposure is one of the most valuable components of the sport event sponsorship. Product placement is also very important, and not only at the event, but off-site as well. There are many more ways to reap direct sponsor benefits, and I am sure you could think of some yourself 🙂

Associative sponsor benefits:
– Ownership
– Prestige and reputation
– Pass-through rights

Publicity is good for all parties involved in a sponsorship. Since sports are associated with good values, brands want to be associated with sports. Sponsoring an athlete, sports team or event gives brands publicity, presents them in a good light, which makes it easier for them to attract new customers. 

Example of a game changing sponsorship

I wanted to enlighten you with a few engaging and great sponsorships where both parties are getting the most out of it.

First of all, there is New Era, who created a world record cap wall mosaic with 2,151 caps. Obviously, that makes a big hit for getting media attention and spreading the word, if that is something you wish for within a sponsorship deal.

Stayed authentic: New Era incorporated its core product, its caps, into a work of art, something that resonated with fans who took part in the experience and shared photos of the mosaic. – Keith Green, KPR

These are some great benefits to think of when renewing sponsorship deals or when you are looking for new ones. So keep these in mind and start brainstorming about how you can start your next  collaboration. Maybe you can try to be innovative like New Era or be a part of a live sport event on social media which is what some sponsors did during FC Barcelona’s Champions League match this year. 

The values sport brings to the table are most often not only appreciated among fans, but also among brands who share the same values and want to turn fans into customers. By being creative and helping each other in the sponsorship deal, all parties involved can reach their own sponsorship goals. 

Great metrics to make sure your sponsorship deal is hitting that Home run could include ROI and ROO, and these can include the following measurement categories:

1) sponsor recall

2) brand awareness, perception and affinity

3) sponsor cost per consumer dollar spent (i.e., direct revenue from sponsorship activation)

4) media impressions

5) social media engagement

6) lead generation for future sales

Here are some sponsorship trends to pay attention to this year:

  1. Social influencers to play a bigger role
  2. Shirt sponsorships to explode in the US
  3. Live experiences to become richer
  4. Data to be used more effectively
  5. Technology to drive more sponsorship activity

More great sponsorship collaborations

With today’s trend of an increased smartphone use and different social media channels, sponsorship needs to provide some value in connection to the game. Before the game, the hype and the experience is always positive and hopeful; during the game, lots of people are looking at their mobile phone for stats, replays, etc.; and after the game, fans will want to share their happiness and experience from the game. This opens up lots of opportunity for a “mobile” sponsorship, opportunity to give fans added value through social media.

Some examples of cool and engaging sponsorships through social media are MLS and Heineken as well as Washington Capitals and Budweiser!


When creating a Home run sports sponsorship proposal, make sure to create a win-win game plan. What is your goal for a new collaboration? Some common sponsor objectives include the following:

1) improve brand reach, awareness and visibility

2) increase consumer brand loyalty and community goodwill

3) drive (retail) traffic and showcase/sell product

4) personalize client entertainment and attract prospects

5) leverage the right to use a sport organization’s marks and logos (i.e., monetize intangible sponsorship assets).


Either way, both parties within a sports sponsorship should only use interactions instead of interruptions. Engage instead of applying one way communication.

Which is better? Having 10000 comments per post and 20 million fans liking the brand or 1000 comments per post and 40 million fans liking the brand?

A lot of people are still living back in the “but we have most fans!” age, but how many of those fans are loyal?

Important thing to note is that you have to try to succeed. If you don’t try you will never know the result and whatever the result is, it will always bring you one step closer to the solution. With this said, I hope you gained some inspiration to hit that Home run sponsorship deal in sports.

I would be happy to hear your experiences in this field, so please contact me with your thoughts.

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