Mention sports sponsorship and you could be forgiven for thinking it is just for the multinational giants. After all, we’ve all seen the stories of the seven figure deals in the world of Premier League football, Formula One and even professional snooker.
However, sports teams and sponsorship deals come in all shapes and sizes. Everyone from Manchester City to your local badminton team relies on sports sponsorship to survive, and the relationship brings benefits to both parties.
Increasing brand awareness
This is the single largest reason to enter any sponsorship deal, and it works on a variety of levels. For some businesses, it is a subtle way to breed familiarity. For example, when Axa insurance started sponsoring cricket’s county championship, it was not because they expected cricket fans to rush out during the lunch interval to buy some home insurance. However, when the time for renewal came around, they knew that their brand would be a familiar one that would stand out to potential customers.
Other businesses choose to sponsor sports in which they know there is the potential for a direct impact on sales. In 2016, the casino and sports betting site Bet 365 took on the stadium sponsorship for Stoke City. The stadium was renamed the Bet 365 Stadium, and the company’s logo is all around and impossible to miss. In this age of mobile sports betting, there are numerous bookmakers to choose from, and prior to their sponsorship deal, the company had to rely on people reading a Bet 365 online review in order to choose them above the rest. Today, however, they have become the obvious choice, at least as far as Stoke fans are concerned.
With a sponsorship deal in place, you can insert your logo on the sports team or athlete’s website, or perhaps post some blog content. Backlinks like these back to your business website are never going to be a bad thing. They help to drive more traffic to your site and that, in turn, leads to better rankings on search pages. It works both ways, too – even with small-scale sponsorship deals, a local interest story on your blog contributed by an athlete or a member of the local cricket team is great for both parties.
Promoting your goods and services
Professional sportsmen and women are often seen as role models, and that makes them the perfect brand ambassadors. Whether you are selling watches, motor cars or chocolate bars, you are guaranteed to enjoy increased sales if they are being worn, driven or eaten by a respected athlete. In some cases, that is only the beginning, however. The world of professional sport can be a tight one, and when one pro starts using a particular product, it can become the “next big thing” in no time within the sport itself.
Improving brand image
Of course, to return to our initial example, if you are a paperclip manufacturer sponsoring the local badminton team, you are not going to expect sales of paperclips to skyrocket due to subtle product placement. But in cases like these, that is not the point. The small businesses that tend to thrive are the ones that are an established part of the local community. Sports sponsorship is a great way to make that happen.