Sponsorships are everywhere in sports, and they are the lifeline for most properties.
Outside of the revenue from TV deals, sponsorships account for a large amount of incremental revenue. They are a big reason why sports properties, teams and leagues are valued significantly higher than just 10 years ago. According to Forbes, the 32 teams in the NFL generated $1.4B in revenue last season from sponsorships, ad signage and stadium naming rights.
Last week, while flipping back and forth between Thursday Night Football (TNF) and the NBA on TNT, I caught myself paying more and more attention to the brands on the broadcast than the product on the field. That tends to happen after years in the sports business: you start looking at things from a brands standpoint, rather than a fan. It’s interesting to see how brands capitalize on multi-million dollar investments.
So, what do you have to do to put your brand in the forefront with a sponsorship?
Well, unless you have a very, very large marketing budget, it’s going to be difficult to be featured on TNF or a primetime NBA game, but that doesn't mean all is lost. There’s a level of sponsorship in just about every sport that will be beneficial to you and your brand.
You don’t need a massive marketing budget, but you do need to make sure you’re asking the right questions before investing any time or money.
What do I want to gain out of a sponsorship? How will I measure its success? Who will manage the day-to-day activities? What’s my activation budget? What does activation even mean? All of these questions and more are important to ask before getting too far down the road. The same questions will guide your decisions to invest a thousand dollars on a 5k run sponsorship, all the way up to a multi-million-dollar NBA jersey sponsorship.
For example, the objective for both the 5k run and the NBA jersey sponsorship is the same: brand exposure, or eyeballs looking on your logo. Whether you choose the 5K or the jersey sponsorship, competitors, fans and spectators will be looking at your logo throughout the entire event. You just need to decide which event will attract more of your target audience, at a price you're willing to pay.
Of course, there are many more layers to any sponsorship, at any level. Download our sponsorship eBook, Navigating the Sponsorship Game: 20 Questions to Sponsorship Success. We'll walk you through which questions to ask at different stages of your sponsorship journey to make sure it pays off for you.