The greatest benefits of sport sponsorship lay beyond the TV broadcast

Fergus Watts

Sport broadcasts may bring mass exposure for sponsors, but Fergus Watts, a panelist at yesterday’s Mumbrella Sports Marketing Summit, argues the greatest benefits for marketers lie away from the TV.

The latest round of broadcasting deals only highlight how emotionally engaged Aussies are when it comes to their favourite sports.

As marketers, our job is to commercialise brand assets, create brand equity, deliver real commercial outcomes to our clients whilst providing value to the community. And sport provides a rare opportunity to deliver it all.

Broadcast is a powerful medium to grow the game in all areas which is the objective of any code. However, brands that solely rely on the broadcast exposure they will get through sponsorship are missing the biggest benefits.

Live sport is one of the few remaining content plays consumers will organise their lives around. The opportunity for brands is how to maximise this broadcast through personalised interaction with fans.

Sports broadcasters want highly engaging content, for as long as possible, to draw a mass audience. Codes want maximum reach to grow the game and deliver a high quality experience for their fans.

If both work together, the code will continue to grow and the participation base, supporter groups and general interest in the game will increase. This will draw larger crowds and larger broadcast audiences. The cycle continues to work for each other.

As long as the sport is accessible from any device, anywhere in the world the fact it is ‘live’ will continue to be one of the remaining content plays that people will truly value.

Sponsorship’s highest value is how you leverage it. Being able to interact socially with pre-packaged content to fans of your team that your brand sponsors is the real opportunity for marketers.

People will always find a way to follow the team they are loyal about. And here’s where real time marketing adds value to any sponsorship. If marketers can add value to sponsorships by delivering real time content to loyal fans – then they have created a compelling value proposition.

Clubs and brands that build their value around their exposure through broadcast and media alone are in a precarious position. Bigger audiences come from higher participation, higher fan engagement, larger membership bases. This is where the value lies.

A stronger broadcast position with better timeslots is a bonus. However the value is in the ability for clubs to commercialise their tribe and change their spending habits and the brands they engage with.

This is especially true for tier two clubs. Tier two clubs have significant value and this is realised through engaging their fans in a more personalised way. This is the opportunity for brands.

Brands need to come to the table when purchasing sponsorship knowing exactly what they want, how they will leverage the partnership and what it is worth. Brands will then be able to truly maximise the value from smaller clubs, codes and other assets with less mainstream exposure through prime time broadcast slots.

The sponsorship value clubs can deliver back to a brand is not only logos on a jersey. A club has a tribe of supporters that marketers can market to and reach, opening endless opportunities.

Fergus Watts is chief executive of Bastion Group


Get the latest media and marketing industry news (and views) direct to your inbox.

Sign up to the free Mumbrella newsletter now.



Sign up to our free daily update to get the latest in media and marketing.