Sponsorship marketing as a discipline has matured a great deal over the past 20 years.  Brands are investing significant resources in sports, entertainment, personalities and other channels.  Sponsorship marketing is no longer a “non-traditional” marketing initiative.  Sponsorship marketing represents a tried-and-true platform for brands to connect with consumers and drive business objectives. 

Four reasons to invest in sponsorship marketing are highlighted below: 

1. Target Audience 

As scientific as any medium, and perhaps more so, we know who are fans of the NFL, NBA, F1, country music and other entertainment properties.  We can identify for brands who attends, who watches and who is engaging on social media.  If a brand is looking for a highly targeted platform to grow their awareness, sell more products, gain followers look no further than sponsorship marketing. 

2. Brand Enhancement 

Many brands are actively monitoring how consumers perceive them as trustworthy, active in the community, a good place to work and many other factors.  Sports teams and leagues, museums, cultural events and other types of programming represent platforms for brands to strengthen weaker brand attributes and reinforce strengths and priority attributes.  There is significant research that consumers are loyal and more likely to buy products from companies that sponsor and support their favorite team or local zoo. 

3. Inflation Proof 

This is an interesting point to consider.  Sponsorship spending, media rights investment, and fan spending generally continues to increase and in some sectors like media rights and team acquisition the increases are significant.  The recent Apple TV investment in Major League Soccer and the record sales for the Denver Broncos and Chelsea FC are strong indicators or the power of sports.  Yes, these investments seem to be inflation proof with record increases, but what about the average fan?  2021-22 NBA attendance was at 92% paid capacity and only down 3.8% vs 2018-19 the last full season not affected by the pandemic.  NFL attendance was up slightly, while MLB attendance appears to be trending down in 2022.  Fanatics the leading sports merchandise seller is projecting record earnings and has a $27 Billion valuation.  Fans care about their favorite team or musician and their discretionary spending finds a way to support them. 

4. Fan Engagement 

It is challenging to engage with a 30 -seconds TV spot (although the Super Bowl Coinbase QR code was unique!), likes and other social metrics have value, and clearly we are being followed by our iPhones, but for true engagement it is hard to compare with the opportunity to have a conversation with a fan at a sporting event or music festival, or have a consumer walk through an immersive brand experience.  This engagement is so much deeper and authentic than a paid media impression and one of the primary drivers of why brands are investing in sponsorship and experiential marketing.