In August 2017, French side Paris Saint Germain broke the world football transfer record when they signed Brazilian winger Neymar from Barcelona for a whopping €222 million. This was an eye-opening moment for football and sports and showed how much things have changed over the years.
The sports industry is now a multi-billion-dollar sector, with massive teams like Real Madrid, New York Yankees, Dallas Cowboys, and Los Angeles Lakers worth billions of dollars. Also, a quick look at the Premier League, the NBA, and the NFL projections in terms of finance will give you a clear idea of the upward trajectory of the major sports leagues. One of the major reasons for this boost in sports teams’ finances is the growth of sponsorships and brand partnerships.
As a business brand, you need to create an image of authority and success, and sports sponsorship is one of the best ways to do that, especially when sponsoring sports teams. There are many benefits of sports sponsorship, and that’s why Statista reports that globally, brands are spending an average of 65 billion every year to acquire one.
If you’re still doubting the influence and power of sports sponsorship, read on as we show you how sponsoring a sports team can enhance your brand image.
4 Ways Sponsoring A Sports Team Can Enhance Your Brand Image
Sports sponsorship is a business relationship between two entities; a brand and a sports team. The sponsor provides the sports team with funding, services, and other personalized resources, while the team offers the sponsors exclusive rights to use their name and identity for commercial advantage.
Over the years, this form of sponsorship has proven to offer more variety, more benefits, and better results for brands. Here are four significant ways your brand’s image can benefit from funding a sports team.
1. Increased Brand Awareness
Most major sports teams in the world have millions of fans and spectators who tune in to watch their games every week. If you partner with these teams, they’ll market your brand to their audience and give you massive exposure that’s needed for growth.
When you invest in these teams, you become associated with them. Their players, coaches, relations, fans, and even people who don’t like the club will know your brand. It also allows your brand to reach a wider demographic, especially with teams that have a strong international fanbase.
They’ll help market your brand to people from different countries and continents, people from different cultures, occupations, and ages. Furthermore, when you sponsor a sports team, they also provide media exposure for your brand. Sports teams are always on the news, on television, on blog posts, and social media. The best sports marketers use powerful social engagement tools to increase their fan reach and activation–specifically to gain sponsors with better ROI. This will generate more brand familiarity among consumers and give you an edge over competitors.
2. A Positive Brand Image
Sponsoring a sports team can have a massive positive impact on how people see your brand. For one, the right partnership can increase the credibility and trust people have for your business. For example, if you decide to sponsor a community’s local soccer team, you’re telling potential consumers that you’re a brand with social and community values.
The type of product or service you offer can heavily influence your growth as people will want to associate with a brand they can relate to, a brand that shares their values. Let’s say you want to buy a product and see three brands offering it. Assuming one of those brands sponsors a sports team you know and have seen multiple times live or in the media, the chances of you choosing that brand are way higher than the others.
Also, if your brand operates in an already saturated industry, sponsoring a sports team can help you stand out and give you an aura of credibility. There’s credibility that comes when a brand is associated with a team that has millions of fans. People trust them more, and the more trust people have in your brand, the greater your sales and growth.
You must know of the Manchester United Sharp-sponsored jersey if you’re a soccer fan. The sponsorship lasted for 18 years and saw Sharp become one of the most trusted electronics brands in the world. Moments like the 1999 Champions League final have been ingrained in people’s minds. When they remember the iconic Manchester United comeback against Bayern Munich in Camp Nou, they also remember the iconic Sharp kit they wore.
In 2010, ten years after the sponsorship had ended, Sharps Marketing Communications Manager Martin Arnold admitted that the brand’s awareness had fallen significantly since they parted with Manchester United.
3. Better Community Relations
It’s standard marketing knowledge that when you sponsor things your primary consumers care about, you’re building a better relationship with them and improving your brand image. Currently, almost every community has a sports team that they predominantly support. The value of sports teams to a community is far greater than most people understand.
It helps improve the community’s economy by creating jobs and attracting outsiders. When you sponsor such teams, you’re indirectly communicating to the community how much you value them and that you’re invested in their welfare. This will lead to sales and marketing growth as people from that community will knowingly or unknowingly help actively market your brand.
Also, other communities around the world will see that your brand has values and decide to patronize you. This sort of sponsorship can also differentiate you and help you stand out from the more prominent brands because people like to patronize brands they feel close to, and good community relations are one of the best ways to develop such closeness.
4. Better Employee Relations
There are so many perks attached to sponsoring a sports franchise. Asides from the obvious exposure it brings, your brand will get access to things like tickets to games, free merchandise, and even bragging rights. All these can help in attracting and retaining quality staff for your brand.
These incentives can help recruit staff with mutual interests leading to better relationships within your brand. If your brand sponsors a local football team and the members of your staff are all fans of the team, free tickets to games can help bring them together, which can result in better team bonding and improved work performance.
These perks can also help your brand attract some of the best talents. They also provide a unique opportunity for your employees to connect with fans and consumers to better understand how they feel about your brand.
The Bottom Line
Emotion is one of the major driving forces of sports today. It’s why fans stay up late into the night to watch their favourite teams and travel several miles to show support. As a brand that needs growth, you know the role emotions play in consumers’ decisions. That’s why tapping into the emotions of sports fans through sponsorships can do wonders for you.
For starters, it will massively increase your brand awareness and generate more exposure. It can also help improve your brand image by positively impacting how people see it. Sports sponsorship will also help improve community relations and aid in attracting and retaining employees through the various incentives involved.