Sponsorship is a major feature of sport in the modern world. In many parts of the world, the main sponsor is so involved their name is within the name of the competition or league. An example in soccer is The Barclays Premier League and in rugby, the Heineken Cup. In North America, every decent size sport stadium or arena has its name prominently placed in the name of the facility. In addition, many professional teams have sponsorship important enough to have the sponsors’ names on their jerseys.
In the past, any one that had the funding could be a sponsor for sports but that is no longer the case. Banned from sponsorship are brands not fitting for sports, such as smoking, or alcoholic beverages for youth leagues.
Teams, events and facilities always find obtaining sponsorship is easier if their sport is well covered with broadcast media attention. While sports sponsorship is very valuable for brands, when done correctly, there are disadvantages as well as advantages.
Sponsors get increased status and publicity by association with success and glamour. Those gains are also at risk if negative things happen in that sport, for that team or the key sports players.
For athletes and team members the benefits include free equipment, branded clothing and merchandise in return for wearing a sponsor’s clothing, uniforms and equipment. This helps remove worries about financial problems so the athletes can concentrate on performance and competition. On the downside, the athletes have contractual obligations for personal appearances beyond what was expected.
For the sport, event or facility, there is financial gain in addition to ticket sales. The downside of sports events could be problems of scheduling and proper signing of the facility if logos and team colors change.
Media Coverage of Sport
Television and radio coverage of sports has changed sports forever. Fans come to trust and depend on commentators and technical features, such as replays and sport mechanics that add to the enjoyment of the sport and the events.
Media coverage also has its benefits. Attendance at games can rise as people come to see the stars of the sport. Fans are generally more knowledgeable thanks to media coverage. Media coverage gets the fans closer to the action.
The downsides of media coverage are a possible drop in attendance, overexposure of some sports and little or no exposure of other sports. Sports celebrities often lose a considerable amount of personal privacy and events can turn into promotions of the media instead of the sport.
Overall, sports marketing is vital for all levels of sport as it adds value for all participants. This includes fans that get a better sports experience and enjoy a personal familiarity with favored teams, sports and individuals. For a sponsor, that is the most important point as the brands favored by the athletes become favored by the fans.