Sport & Sponsorship
What I have learnt in over 25 years in sports marketing and sponsorship


John SC Taylor


Brand Guardians

  • Sport is a universal language. It transcends frontiers, languages and cultural barriers.
  • The huge appeal of sport makes it the ideal communications vehicle. And communication is what business and brands are all about.
  • International sports properties provide a more cost-effective communications vehicle that advertising.
    - Traditional advertising still works, but you need an outstanding creative message and big budget to stand out from the advertising clutter and achieve 'share of voice'
  • Sport's unpredictability is a major part of its appeal.
  • As the consumer becomes more sophisticated, and communications move faster, sponsorship has become one of the most effective ways of achieving the Holy Grail of brand differentiation.
  • Most unsuccessful sponsorships have three things in common:
    - Failure to set measurable sponsorship objectives;
    - Poor negotiation of sponsorship rights;
    - Lack of creativity in activating sponsorship rights.
  • If you don't undertake a sponsorship valuation beforehand, how do you know if you have paid too much?
  • If you don't seek independent advice, how do you know if your agency is delivering VFM?
  • If you want to stand out from the sponsorship clutter, it's better to activate one or two (maximum three) rights successfully rather than attempt to activate every right.
  • Negotiating sole and exclusive promotional strands will encourage stand out for your brand in multi partner sponsorships.
  • Fear of potential future damage to the brand's image is the elephant in the room in sponsorship discussions.
  • You can choose your sport but you can't choose your other partners.
  • The key rules of advertising are still: Attention, Interest, Desire, Action (AIDA).
  • The key rules of sponsorship are Engage, Engage, Engage.
  • Make sure you do everything necessary to future proof your sponsorship...


Rights Holders

  • Sports rights holders need to ensure that prospective sponsors share similar core values and not just accept any sponsor willing to pay the rights fee.
  • The pace of change in sport and sports sponsorship is accelerating exponentially.
  • Make sure you are talking to the young.
    - The IOC introduced BMX cycling and snowboarding -- sports with appeal to youth but which had been ignored previously -- into the Olympic sports roster to attract younger TV viewers and thereby correct the ageing TV audience.
  • Understand your competition.
    - Sport -- and sponsors -- need to remember that consumers have a choice how they are going to spend their free time and disposable income. And how they watch or follow sport.
  • Develop a customer mindset.
    - Sports such as Rugby Union, Tennis and Rugby League have embraced technology to help adjudicate on 'close calls'. FIFA is still dragging its heels on goal line technology in football...
  • Make sure you do everything necessary to future proof your sports business...





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