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  • Writer's pictureFranky Wong

More than Money: Sponsoring a Sport Event

Who is the title sponsor of the Hong Kong most famous marathon?

Who is/are the title sponsor(s) of the Hong Kong Rugby Seven?

Who is the apparel sponsor for the Hong Kong Olympian teams?

The global sports sponsorship market was worth an estimated 57 billion U.S. dollars in 2020 and is expected to grow to almost 90 billion U.S. dollars by 2027. The industries responsible for generating the largest revenue within sports sponsorship include financial services, technology, and the automotive industry.

This huge and still growing industry is appealing to many corporations to invest and associate with it. Why? More importantly, should your company start to look for sponsorship opportunities in the sports industry?

Sponsorship 101

Sponsorship was defined as investing in a sports entity (athlete, league, team, or event) to support overall organisational objectives, marketing goals, and promotional strategies. The sponsorship investment may come in the form of monetary support and trade.

If you are going to sponsor a sports event/team/athlete, you likely are looking to:

  1. Sponsor one of the promotion plans, so it aligns with your overall plan;

  2. Achieve your marketing goal(s);

  3. Enhance awareness of your brand;

  4. Beat competition;

  5. Boost sales, and/or

  6. Establish/Fine-tune/Revamp brand image.

Ref: Sports Marketing: A Strategic Perspective, Matthew D. Shank & Mark R. Lyberger (2015)

The Branding Fuel Called ‘Sports Fans’

When spectators or fans are following the sports or their teams, they will be emotionally engaged with it and more likely to show support to everything about their teams. It could include buying tickets, watching the games on TV, buying merchandise items or jerseys. If there is a sponsor showing support to their favourite team/sports, the fans will feel the affinity to the sponsor and be easier to support the sponsor’s products and services, too. That’s why Nike’s stock price was flying high like rockets when Michael Jordan was winning MVP and NBA champions.

Sportsmanship: Your Brand Essences Visualised

Apart from the emotional affinity that could be built easily during the support action, there is a major benefit why sponsors should consider sports sponsorship.

Sportsmanship is a well-known term in sports. While athletes/teams are doing their very best competing for the triumph, they are also following the game rules, respecting the opponents and playing a fair game. It’s good form, the will to win, equity and fairness. This is the most fascinating part of sports, the reason for sports being able to attract attention from all walks of life. Imagine if you were a CMO or Communications Director, what would you want to tell about your brand’s beliefs? There must be a lot of attributes that overlap with sportsmanship. That’s exactly why most of the brands want to associate themselves with the intense and exciting competitions - sporting scenes are the perfect platform to demonstrate, visualise and convey their brand’s beliefs.

With the ending of the pandemic, more and more sports events are on the radar no matter in your country, region or globally. Take this as an advice to associate your brand with the right sports and it would bring you elevated brand values in no time.

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