WHAT WE DO
As the world of sports sponsorship continues to evolve, businesses need to stay ahead of the curve to maximise their returns on investment. Here are four trends that will impact the future of sports sponsorship.
Sports sponsorship has been a tried and tested marketing strategy for decades, but as the world evolves, so too does the way brands engage with sports teams and events. As a result, the very definition of sports sponsorship is a changing trend. To be successful in the future of sports sponsorship, brands need to develop a clear strategy that aligns with their overall marketing objectives and resonates with their target audience. This means identifying sports teams or events that have a strong following among the target audience or focusing on sports that align with the brand's values and mission. Brands also need to create engaging content that resonates with fans and builds a more meaningful relationship between the brand and the audience.
Esports emerged as a rapidly growing industry during the pandemic, with analysis sometimes suggesting its overall value to be north of US$5bn. Whilst it might not be living up to its hype at the moment, many brands are seeking to capitalise on its long-term trend by sponsoring esports teams, players, and events. However, to succeed in this space, brands need to understand the culture and values of the esports community. Authenticity is key, and brands that can genuinely integrate themselves into this world and support the growth of the esports ecosystem are more likely to succeed. This requires an approach that goes beyond traditional advertising and sponsorship, and instead involves building meaningful relationships with players, teams, and fans.
As society becomes more polarised, brands need to be aware of the geopolitical and cultural context in which they operate. This is particularly true in the world of sports sponsorship, where companies must navigate complex issues related to identity, nationalism, and social justice. Brands that demonstrate cultural competence and a willingness to engage in dialogues on sensitive issues are more likely to resonate with fans and build long-term relationships.
To succeed in this space, brands need to go beyond surface-level messaging and instead take a stand on the issues that matter to their target audience. This can involve supporting initiatives that promote diversity and inclusion or partnering with organisations that are making a positive impact on society or the climate. By aligning themselves with causes that are important to their customers, brands can build stronger relationships and differentiate themselves from competitors.
Across all sports, fans are increasingly looking for brands that align with their values and demonstrate a commitment to making a positive impact on the world. This has led to a renewed focus on meaningful sponsorship, which has become a driving force behind change in many sports. Brands that align with teams and events that share their values and support initiatives that drive positive change can create more impactful and meaningful partnerships.
A sports team may partner with a brand to promote sustainability and eco-friendly practices, with the brand providing resources to support these initiatives. By demonstrating a commitment to making a positive impact on the world, while also building brand awareness and driving business growth, brands can build stronger relationships with fans and differentiate themselves from competitors.
Formula One is an example of a sport that has undergone significant changes in recent years, both in terms of its rules and regulations as well as its approach to sustainability and social responsibility. Formula One's commitment to social and environmental responsibility has led to a renewed focus on meaningful sponsorship, even if it has turned a blind eye in other areas.
Sponsors that align with teams and events that share their values and support initiatives that drive positive change can create more impactful and meaningful partnerships.
Effective sponsorship in the future will require brands to go beyond simply putting a logo on a jersey or stadium. Instead, it will require careful planning and execution to ensure that the sponsorship aligns with the company's values and resonates with the target audience. This can involve partnering with organisations that are making a positive impact on society, supporting initiatives that promote diversity and inclusion, or investing in environmentally sustainable practices.