Sports Marketing And The Evolution Of The Sponsorship Format

Sport is a winning medium that reach a worldwide audience every day, guaranteeing sponsors benefits that are not comparable with traditional media such as TV, radio and the press. This is confirmed also by the ever increasing number of hours that the major television networks worldwide dedicate to sport in all its forms and expressions and by the number of professional Sports Marketing Agencies that suggest to their clients to use sport in promotional activities.
Sport, as a communication tool, is unique in its ability to break down traditional cultural and linguistic barriers and is a competitive, creative and fruitful business product that is suitable for achieving different marketing objectives, such as:

– Increasing brand popularity/awareness

– Changing brand profile

– Enhancing brand/product

– Creating worldwide product recognition

– Attracting new market segments

– Enlarging the distribution network

In order to give an idea of the popularity of sport, we provide you with some data from the Motorbike World Championship, one of the most spectacular and sometimes heroic of all sporting events. In 2005 MotoGp has experienced continuous growth in viewing figures, attendance and investments:

– 17 Grands Prix, hosted in 15 countries across 5 continents

– TV programs about the Motorbike World Championship have been broadcast in 207 – countries-

– Over 3,790 TV broadcasting hours

– 276 million households reached

– Total viewing figures of 5,290 million in 184 countries for live Grand Prix coverage

– Average viewing audience of 311 million per Grand Prix

– Average attendance of 120,000 spectators at the circuit, with peaks of 237,000

– About 2,034,000 overall attendance

(Source: Dorna Sport S.L., 2005 Review)

And that’s not all! What really makes sport such a good marketing tool is that it gives companies the opportunity to associate their own brand and product values with the values of the discipline itself.
Sponsorship formats and models evolve constantly. The first and most “classical” model is the “Sponsorship Buy Model”, where the sponsor buys a package that has already been created and becomes involved in the final stage of the event.
The next step is the “Sponsorship Make Model”, a more recent version, in which the sponsor plays an active role in the creation of the event, taking part in its conception and organising it according to its own objectives and values. If properly coordinated, this model is a winning one, as it allows to create moment-events that are rich in meaning for the consumer. That’s why professional Sports Marketing Agencies have often promoted this kind of planning.
The scenario is currently moving towards the “Sponsorship Create and Manage Model”, which allows the sponsor to manage the whole range of activities connected to an event and to define sport-based communication in various areas.   스포츠중계

A great example of how sports sponsorship models are evolving is provided by Red Bull.
Let’s analyze how they managed and adapt their activities over time.
At the beginning they started buying small sponsorship packages in different sports. Their approach was different from anything previously seen in the sport business arena: Red Bull chose to be involved with the wild and crazy world of extreme disciplines, such as heli-skiing, tobogganing or jumping out of airplanes. In doing so, the company was able to test sport related benefits and began to be remembered thanks to sport-related elements.
Moving beyond this to a second stage, Red Bull used such “sport experience” to create its own promotional events, involving hundreds and hundreds of fans, customers and potential customers at circuits and on starting grids, in the mountains or in the skies.
Finally, the last step in this sponsorship evolution strategy brought Red Bull to enter the Formula 1 racing world. Firstly they simply gave to some of the F1 grand prix drivers a branded drinking bottle. After testing and verified their ROI results, they decided to expand their branding promotion into a logo to be featured on F1 cars: the Sauber Team.
In 2005 the company decided to expand their marketing effort and to fully manage the entire project. They acquire a whole Formula 1 Team, and name it as “Red Bull Racing – Formula 1 Team”. This sponsorship model has become the starting point for a number of activities and events managed by the company itself: In this case Sport sponsorship is transformed into a business platform for building, creating and managing sports related projects.
This new model is essential to maximize the capacity of the events to capture an audience via multimedia coverage, to extend its memorability, for the formation of a community and so on. This results in a direct increase and consolidation of brand awareness.

Any Professional Sports Marketing Agency should understand the potential of the “Sponsorship Create and Manage Model” and should strive to transfer it to its clients.