The Badminton World Federation (BWF) recently renewed its partnership with HSBC. Infront Pan Asia Managing Director David Nivelle discusses how the agreement is the culmination of a successful commercial period for the sport.
Badminton has had a growing presence beyond its traditional markets in Asia for quite some time. We first joined forces with the BWF in 2017, one year ahead of the launch of a revamped BWF World Tour. The new structure at the time allowed for 27 stops, concluding in the BWF World Tour Finals.
This first cycle was when HSBC aligned itself with the sport. Its renewal, which sees it remain as the title partner of the HSBC BWF World Tour for the next four years, is a clear statement on how attractive the BWF is as a platform. The fact the brand has decided to continue highlights how successful BWF’s global tour was. It also further underlines the BWF’s decision to increase the number of events from 27 to 31 for the new cycle beginning in 2023.
HSBC is not the only brand to have renewed, with the likes of French multi-energy company TotalEnergies also renewing its agreement with BWF as Title Partner of BWF Major Championships. What is key to these new partnerships is the backdrop on which they were secured. COVID-19 had a huge impact on the sports industry as a whole. But despite the uncertain environment, badminton as a platform continues to have a growing appeal. It has always enjoyed broad visibility and exposure in Asia, but this is now increasing elsewhere. There is a burgeoning interest to host top-draw badminton events from countries outside traditional badminton markets such as Canada and Finland. This tells us that there is a demand from audiences globally.
The renewal of sponsorship agreements also points to Infront’s belief that long-term partnerships, where brands work together with rights holders, bring deeper value. It is through multi-year deals and using the wealth of activation opportunities available that brands can reach fans through association to their passion in sport.
Despite a challenging economy and the problems COVID-19 presented, the renewal of HSBC as a partner of BWF marks the end of a successful year in badminton for Infront.