Sport sponsorships should be about integration not what we see on the screen: Chris Maxwell

Integrating brands into sports sponsorships and partnerships should go beyond just what is seen on the screen during the telecast, Carlton United Breweries’ consumer connections director said.

Speaking at Mumbrella’s Sports Marketing Summit, Chris Maxwell said it partnerships need to go “beyond just integrating the brand into the broadcast”.

Drawing on his experience from the CUB and Nine partnership, Maxwell noted brands and businesses need to consider how a brand fits and how a property fits with the brand in return.

The panel on the ‘Brand storytelling through the power of live sport’ session

“There are moments we feel we can integrate the brand in what we feel is a really relevant way.

“Beyond just integrating the brand into the broadcast, one of the things that CUB and Channel Nine have done this year, which we have never done before, is actually integrated our two business’ together in a real partnership.

“We all go through these relationships in somewhat of a transactional way sometimes, but for the first time in a long time CUB and Channel Nine have entered into a partnership almost like a long-term sponsorship deal, where we actually open up the business to each other,” he told the audience of the ‘Brand storytelling through the power of live sport session’.

Sam Brennan, Nine Sport director of sales, concurred arguing you have to really understand the aspirations which are motivating the brands to take action.

“What we have found to be the most successful way of integrating both from a broadcast perspective but also a business perspective is when businesses are also trying to learn that same stuff, like why we do what we do? Why produce things a certain way? And what are our core metrics?

“Not just for us as a media business and commercial partner business, but for the millions of consumers we are fighting over, not just within the three free-to-air networks but across the 15,000 different ways in which you can consume media.”

Brennan said addressing partnerships this way has been a really defining “tipping point” for Nine Sports, and getting to understand CUB and its business has been of immense benefit to the partnership.

“That is where that spark can really start,” the Nine Sports director of sales said.

Brennan also mentioned the need to move away from a sole television focus when thinking about live sport and partnerships.

“We don’t just produce TV. We’ve got to create content that means something to people and content that not just works across broadcast, but works across the multiple ways in which we are trying to wrestle consumers or audiences off our competitors. It is a slow process but it is starting,” he told the room.

Nine’s recent decision to air  netball in prime time on its main channel for the first time, was also brought up during the session with Brennan saying it has been a profitable move.

“It was a really unusual relationship for us to form. Generally speaking what happens is we buy the rights to a sport broadcast because we know how strong it is for us and for our business.

“When you approach a relationship like we have with Netball Australia and Telstra it is a joint venture in its purest form, and as the sport grows and as it gets exposed more, we will benefit and that’s what’s been really exciting,” he said.

Maxwell mentioned brands need to remember the core reason for their existence and customers when entering into any partnership or sponsorship.

“The brand is there for a commercial outcome and if it is not driving a commercial outcome it shouldn’t be there.

“A big reason why we chose the partnerships that we chose is because they are relevant to our customers, our trade partners.”

Brennan agreed, urging brands and businesses to use “content that adds value to the sponsorship”.


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