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The Importance of Sports Sponsorship in Marketing

It's pretty obvious to most sports enthusiasts that corporate sponsors are everywhere. Whether you're watching football, auto racing, boxing, or anything else on TV or at a live event, corporate logos fill the stands, the cars, the boxer’s shorts, footballers' uniforms and even the skier’s sunglasses and scarves. The fact is that without money from the private commercial sector, many sports might cease to exist, at least as we know them.

But what's often forgotten is the other side of the coin, namely how important sports sponsorships are to the marketing efforts of the companies who pay to put their names and logos on uniforms, stadium walls and elsewhere. Truth be told, the support relationship is a two-way street because hundreds of individual products would not be profitable if they weren't advertised in the sporting world.

Football Is a Prime Example

There's probably no better example of the mutually-supportive relationship between corporate endorsements and sports than in Europe's football leagues. Many local teams struggle to pay for uniforms, equipment and coaching salaries. If it weren't for a cash influx from one or more companies, lots of teams would probably fold up and disappear.

Likewise, dozens of products, especially so-called sports drinks, energy snacks and financial services rely on the marketing power of putting their product images on jerseys, stadium banners and more. This is, in the words of one company's marketing VP, "the ideal place to sell products." Football fans are loyal, young, healthy and tend to have a decent amount of disposable income.

When a business can associate its goods and services with a popular football team, fans are almost a captive audience for further advertising. And while some typical categories of products like snacks and drinks come to mind when one thinks about football sponsors, don't forget about automakers, financial services such as forex trading, and airlines. All these industries and more use football sponsorship to promote their wares.

Boosting the Entire Marketing Campaign

Marketing experts say that sponsoring a sports team does more than just increase sales, but that it also helps create brand awareness too while playing a part in the overall fan experience. For sales executives who live and die by profit margins, building a stronger brand awareness is the best long-term investment there is. Sales are an immediate measure of marketing success, but brand popularity is harder to pin down and usually only shows up down the road, in terms of sustained sales success over the years. A close relationship with a sports team can create that priceless commodity companies so dearly love, lasting brand loyalty.

How Corporate Sponsors Benefit

In addition to better sales numbers and brand enhancement, companies that fund athletic teams win in another way, in that their employees report a higher level of satisfaction with their jobs. Why? Because, according to psychologists, employees who work for a business that has its logo on a major team's jerseys tend to feel proud. It's almost as if the workers consider themselves to be a part of the athletic team being sponsored. The term pride by association has real meaning in this situation.

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