Maximising the sponsorship value of your digital assets13/11/2020
Sports sponsorship is constantly evolving in the digital age. With 59% of the global population being active internet users, the big focus is on digital.
To forge genuine, lucrative partnerships, sports franchises must make their digital sponsorship strategies work even harder. Here’s Azzuu’s take on how your franchise can use digital strategies to create new sponsorship opportunities and increase the value of your current relationships.
Sports sponsorship has changed
Ever since tobacco cards started featuring baseball stars in the 1870s, sport and sponsorship have been intrinsically linked. Over the last 60 to 70 years, sport and sponsorship have been synonymous with the real growth in sports marketing and TV coverage. Why?... well pairing sponsorship with live sport provides a totally captive audience and the opportunity to commercialise fan bases. It’s no wonder that 70% of sponsorship spending is directed at sports – a whopping $46 billion in 2019!
Whilst the growth in sport TV coverage and sport sponsorship spending is clearly linked, in 2020, it isn’t all about getting on TV. Social media advertising is now one of the most powerful tools in a marketeer’s arsenal. As consumers spend more and more of their time on social platforms, it gives the industry the perfect opportunity to get the most value out of their sponsorships.
Thanks to social media, slapping a logo on the sleeve of an athlete’s top or on the side of an F1 car is no longer just for the fan in the stand or viewer on the TV. It's all about creating a connection between your sport and a brand and communicating this to fans and followers and social media provides a global platform. As the focus of advertising shifts, there are ever-increasing digital avenues for brands and sports franchises to take advantage of.
The value of digital assets in sport sponsorship
Social media doesn’t simply provide a platform to rapidly expand your sport’s viewership. As you create new digital and virtual initiatives to engage your fans you are also creating more efficient digital assets for brands to invest in. Esports is a fantastic example.
Esports gained real momentum in the early 2000s and in 2019 the industry surpassed the $1 billion mark. Sponsorship is the main revenue stream of esports. It can take various forms giving a sports franchise the opportunity to gain sponsorships across a whole new level of channels and engage their audience in a new way. Win win. Digital activity leaves a footprint, too, enabling you to track key data surrounding engagement and ultimately the ROI on your sponsorship efforts.
In the modern, digital age – data is the new currency. The old school style of advertising, whilst effective, make it hard to pinpoint how many sales it actually leads to. Leveraging your digital assets will allow you to maximise your current relationships and attract and secure new sponsorship deals. All with accurate ROI monitoring.
How to leverage your digital assets
With consumer digital engagement at an all-time high, now is the ideal time to invest in your digital assets.
There are many ways that you can leverage these assets to create sponsorship value for your sport franchise, here's your starting 11 from us at Azzuu:
- Identify brand alignment
Choosing a sponsor whose brand is synonymous with your own objectives is key to creating genuine partnerships. Great brand fit provides mutual benefits. Partnering with a brand that resonates with your sport and fans can enhance what they love. Also, the more relevant the partnership, the more likely fans are to engage with the brand. Take Specsavers sponsoring referees in Rugby Union, League and Cricket. They actually provide each referee with full eye-care service. So not only does the partnership give us the opportunity to use the ‘should have gone to Specsavers line’ it also plays a part in benefitting the game, teams and fans.
- Package your assets
Explore how you can incorporate sponsorship packages into your current assets. Leveraging your assets can be as simple as allowing brands to sponsor a key player or sponsor all social content, whistle to whistle. It’s a great way to create more opportunities for sponsors and connect your franchise to new audiences. It also improves audience response by helping to reduce all the noise that fans are hit with at sports events.
- Offer category exclusivity
Category exclusivity is hugely important to sponsors. Exclusivity can create higher levels of value for a potential sponsor and in turn a higher level of investment for your franchise.
- Split your channels
Create more avenues for sponsorship by splitting your social media channels. Allowing a brand to sponsor one of your channels or an aspect of one of your richer channels will enable you to create more opportunities for investment.
- Use the media
Is there a local radio station or publication you know that supports your franchise? Share audio, video, quotes and updates from their broadcasts with your followers and include them as a sponsor.
- Interaction in stadia
Extend the ‘first screen’ experience by showcasing sponsors across your digital signage on game day. For example, sponsored competitions from your fans’ social media through to digital signage.
- Unique fan experiences
Use proximity marketing technology, linked to a content creation tool like Azzuu, to aim unique promotional and sponsorship messaging directly at your fans. Try partnering with a food or retail outlet and sending special offers direct to fans as they pass by.
- Player sponsorship
Players are a team’s biggest asset. Brands will look for creative ways to leverage players through a sponsored or affiliated tag. Using animation and video is proven to increase engagement and web traffic by an average of 41%. A content creation tool like Azzuu can bring the brand sponsorship to life through animation, curated graphics and video.
- Connect with charities
Creating sponsorship opportunities which are close to your franchise’s heart is a fantastic way of generating publicity for a fantastic cause. Connecting with your community will also encourage sponsors to invest in and/or create an outlet for them to show the sponsors’ relationship with their own supported charity.
- Video stings
Video is the most effective way to maximise engagement for your franchise and sponsors. Viewers retain 95% of a message in a video rather than reading it in text. Investing in your video assets and strategy will create more value for your sponsors and fans.
- Plan for the future
Yes, it’s important to identify brand alignment when you first choose to partner with a brand. It’s also essential that you consider how that partnership will develop over time. Ensure that your sponsors continue to be relevant to you and your fans by routinely reviewing their link to your objectives. The same applies to how you activate these sponsorships online. By regularly reviewing the methods you use to activate your sponsors and engage your fans, you can maximise your franchise’s engagement and ROI.
To discuss how Azzuu can help you to create sponsorship opportunities and activate the value you’re getting from your current sponsors, please get in touch at email@example.com We’d love to speak with you.
Written by James Thomas - Managing Director at Azzuu
Inside World Football: http://www.insideworldfootball.com/2020/05/18/global-sports-sponsorship-spend-drop-37-28-9bn-says-report/ Medium: https://medium.com/sqwadblog/building-digital-assets-is-the-entire-game-in-sponsorship-right- now-d4cdaca046ea Nielsen: https://nielsensports.com/interview-challenging-times-for-sport-sponsorship/ Statista: https://www.statista.com/statistics/1106498/home-media-consumption-coronavirus-worldwide-by- country/