Our Sports Sponsorship predictions

The world of Sports Sponsorship has seen much growth in the last couple of years. So what trends should we expect to see in 2019? Esports sponsorship has been gaining a lot of momentum due to a rapid increase in online gamers and gaming in general, evidenced by the video game streaming sites beginning to crop up in recent years. This could result in more sponsorship campaigns tailored to this type of entertainment.

Other trends we should expect to see in 2019 within the Sports Sponsorship industry include targeting and social media marketing. And, due to the current climate, it’s unsurprising that the popularity of women’s sports is increasing. This, in turn, will result in more sponsorship deals geared towards women’s sports and entertainment, with as many of these deals completed in the year to date than throughout all of 2017 according to John Trainor of Onside.

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Many Sports Sponsorship campaigns in 2018 involved powerful narratives. The most noteworthy sports brand that took this approach is Nike. Their controversial campaign with Colin Kaepernick was a risk that certainly paid off. They also released another campaign with Justin Gallegos in which the runner received a sponsorship contract with the brand, becoming the first professional athlete with cerebral palsy to do so. This type of Sports Sponsorship campaign that has a powerful and heartwarming narrative or message resonates with audiences so we should expect to see more of them in 2019. And it’s likely that, after witnessing Nike’s successes, brands will start to follow suit and take more risks with their approach to sponsorship campaigns.

So they were our predictions, now let’s hear from the experts. We talked to three Sports Sponsorship experts and asked them to share their own expectations for the industry in 2019.

Larry Weil:

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“Data will be the difference between winners and losers in sponsorship acquisition. But not just any data. Plain old demographics like age, gender, and income just don’t cut it anymore. Psychographics and behavioral analytics guide decision making by telling marketers about lifestyle, emotions, and other preferences that help explain why people buy. Artificial Intelligence or A.I. is now available to help identify insights within your data. If your property doesn’t know how to get the raw data from ticketing apps, social, and surveys you will be left in the dust.”

Larry is a sponsorship engagement strategist and customer acquisition specialist for some of the nation’s most recognized brands. He has over $200MM in sponsorship transactions to his credit. He has a Rolodex of over 4,000 brands and industry contacts. He is an expert seller, negotiator, presenter, and strategist. He has successfully represented properties and sponsors in numerous categories including conferences, trade shows, conventions, visitors bureaus, entertainment and sports properties, and Tech. Visit his website here: thesponsorshipguy.com.

Andrea Petrone:

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“Social Media Influencing Sponsorship will likely experience a setback, as most of the marketing decision makers on the sponsorship side are becoming very wary of the people who follow sports celebrities on social media. They want to know if these numbers are genuine and want to learn more about their followers’ demographics, for example, their location, and age range. There is much skepticism surrounding sporting influencers and their followers, so brands will start to look at other ways to engage with the athletes.

Esports sponsorship will continue to grow, although we are experiencing some financial bubbles. We are seeing large sponsorship investments in the market, especially in the U.S., so the real question is: are these six-figure deals affordable moving forward? Or will brands leave the table sooner than expected due to such large amounts of investment required?

Cryptocurrency deals will experience huge growth in 2019. Crypto brands will continue to knock on the doors of the rights holders, but we’ll also see more sponsorship transactions being paid in cryptocurrencies.”

Andrea is the Co-founder and Managing Partner at Sport4Brands, an international and highly specialized sports marketing and sponsorship firm. Andrea has a passion and strong expertise in corporate strategy, marketing and branding, sales and business development. He loves building businesses and helping them to go to the "next level". Visit his website here: sport4brands.com.

Roberta Vigilance:

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“Joscha Thieringer said, “Sports Sponsorship is booming; never before has more money been put into marketing with athletes, sports teams, or sporting events.”

Logos are long-term money makers for brands. Have you ever heard a song you didn’t like, however, after hearing the song 'time after time' (pun intended), it becomes one of your favorite songs? Think about McDonald’s. It took years of logo placement at sponsored events to be able to use just two words: "next exit" that are not associated with their industry. Yet, no matter what language you speak or what part of the world you are from, millions recognize the McDonald’s logo and respond to the call to action.

Logos are quick reflectors that jog memories and influence to-do lists. There is no doubt logos are effective as Anna Ní Chiaruáin at LogoGrab shared. It is the most valued asset for a company when you think about branding.

This doesn't necessarily translate to slapping logos on every monitor, jersey, etc. It simply means you need to be strategic and ensure measurable results. Logo placement at games and other events is (still) a valuable benefit that achieves sponsors’ objectives and goals related to branding, visibility, awareness, influence, and engagement.

Seeing the same logo game after game, year after year, and the ones that publicly engage with the audience on a personal level, for example, within the target audience outside of the game, and continue to pop up in the right places everywhere both offline and online will (continue to) win in brand recognition in 2019 and for decades to come.

Adding to Joscha’s list, money needs to be put into creating, updating and placing logos. Catching the audience’s attention is only the beginning. Remember, without proper activation a logo is just a design. Darren Heitner reports a perfect example of the power of logo placement and how forward thinkers are taking action in his post, What Is ROKiT? The Sports Sponsorship Strategy Built On You Asking That Question.”

Roberta is the author of How To Secure Sponsors Successfully, Third Edition - Funding for Events. She also teaches groups how to secure sponsors for events. Visit her website here: eventsandsponsors.com.

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