Sponsorship is hugely important in every top flight sport, with the biggest teams and athletes all wearing kit emblazoned with brand logos that are seen by millions around the world.
Of course this isn’t limited to Premier League sides and leading Olympians, as sponsorship deals help support clubs of all sizes as well.
But how does sponsorship from a company actually benefit the clubs that embrace it and what are the considerations involved in courting and accepting deals of this kind?
On a basic level, a sponsorship deal is designed to provide vital funding for sports clubs so that they can pay for everything from clothing for members to equipment necessary for training and even the upkeep of the premises itself.
Lower down the pecking order this can be a somewhat precarious sport from a financial perspective and even the most prominent and popular clubs can struggle from time to time, so having a base level of sponsorship to fall back on affords teams a level of stability that might otherwise be lacking.
While sponsorship deals worth several hundred million may commonplace in the Premier League, even smaller agreements at lower levels can be crucial to keeping clubs afloat.
Keeping up appearances
Another reason that a sponsorship deal from a company is a good thing for sports clubs is that it carries with it a certain cache that helps to enhance the reputation of the team.
Having a shirt with a sponsor’s logo splashed on the front shows the world that you mean business, that you take yourselves seriously and that you carry yourselves with the same dignity as world class pros.
You might wonder why companies would choose to sponsor sports clubs when there are so many other marketing options out there today, especially at a time when digital ad spend is enjoying double digit growth.
One of the main reasons is the ability to target a very specific demographic in a given geographic area, ensuring engagement levels which might not be guaranteed in other contexts.
Another relates back to brand awareness and of course reputation; if a company has its sponsorship on club shirts or even on hoardings around the ground, it will permeate the collective unconsciousness of fans and establish an image of trust and reliability without the need for direct interactions.
One final thing to think about when considering how sponsorship from a company could help a sports club is in the relationship between the business and the club itself. The best sponsorship deals are those which are mutually beneficial on more than a superficial, financial level.
For example, sports clubs are innately linked with outdoor activities and exercise, so sponsors that are also associated with this area will be a great fit for sponsorship.
At a time when efforts to increase activity levels are gaining traction, this kind of tie-in could not only support sports clubs with cash, but also lead to better integration with the local community.