The Olympic silver medallist and sports marketing expert discusses the rise of B2B sponsorship, its hidden opportunities – and why CHL fits the bill.
Europe’s fast-growing Champions Hockey League (CHL) offers extensive opportunities for B2B companies to grow through partnerships that harness the competition’s unique ecosystem and reach, says former Global Marketing & Sponsorships Director at Adecco and founder of Fund Sport Business Rodrigo Garza.
As more B2B brands embrace new marketing methods, professionally-structured sports sponsorships are seen as a highly effective way to secure new business and raise brand awareness.
“Sports sponsorships are a great channel for B2B marketing. The ecosystem that the CHL brings is a powerful club of business opportunities,” says Garza, who won silver with the Spanish field hockey team at the Beijing 2008 Olympics. “There is no better activation than providing your services to a tournament such as the CHL - showcasing your services as part of the sponsorship agreement. The CHL is also present in different markets - there are not many properties within Europe that have that broad reach.”
Garza says, with 32 premier ice hockey teams from 14 territories competing in 125 games each season, the pool of participants, fans, venues, organisers and fellow sponsors offers considerable business potential.
“There are many hidden commercial opportunities to be tackled and discovered,” he says. “You have staffing, technology, insurance, communications, travel and hospitality. Imagine all the needs of the teams, organisers and venues - anything related to the organisation of the competition and its wider ecosystem.”
Garza cites CHL staffing needs - from ticketing, cleaning and security to promotions and event management - as a particularly attractive opportunity for prospective HR partners. Other B2B firms, such as hotel chains, tech companies and airlines, could also help to fulfil certain CHL event requirements, he says, while showcasing bespoke solutions to other sponsors and sports properties.
Source: Survey Monkey (June 2019), Answers from 40 teams out of 44 involved in CHL
“Consider, for insurance companies, the more participants there are in a sports event - you have to insure everyone,” he adds. “Imagine hotel chains or airlines - the more people that need to fly or travel, the more incentive you have as a partner because you can access a direct return.”
Inform the CHL of your business targets and expectations
Spell out the clear return on investment of the sponsorship, not just brand exposure
Involve your sales team early on to ensure accountability
Develop a strategy to harness the CHL’s internal market of B2B clients
Organise business meetings with fellow partners around competition events
Consider bespoke solutions that can be scaled to other competitions and markets
Ensure that as many colleagues as possible feel invested in the partnership
Maximise opportunities for colleagues to engage clients through the partnership