You see an abundance of sponsorships in every sport. While Formula 1 teams have a range of brands emblazoned across their vehicles and uniforms, football clubs show off their main sponsor on the front of their kit. Recently, English Premier League teams have also been allowed to add additional sponsors to their jersey’s sleeves, while if you look at lower league clubs, they can also include a sponsor on their shirt tails. But, why do companies strive to make such deals? Nissan Europe’s vice president of marketing, Jean Pierre Diernaz, said: “Sport is now the only potential discipline where you can engage very high numbers of people.”
Here, alongside Lookers, who offer Audi servicing deals, we take a look at what value sponsorships can bring to a business:
Football, soccer, or the beautiful game; whatever you call it, it’s officially the most popular sport in the world. With an estimated 3.5 billion fans worldwide, sponsoring a football team can open your brand up to so many potential customers across the globe.
Audi are sponsors for many major sporting clients, such as ice hockey club ERC Ingolstadt. However, they are hugely involved in football. For one, they are the official vehicle partner for Spanish football giants Real Madrid. But, what does this actually mean? Well, simply put, each member of the Real Madrid first team is provided with an Audi to drive, with the Audi Q7 E Tron among those most popular among the players in 2017. The pair have been unified since July 2003 and remain two of the most successful entities in the world.
Of course, the worth to Real Madrid is evident as their staff receive cars. But how does Audi benefit? With Real Madrid being a team full of superstars, the car manufacturer takes advantage of their stature in advertisements. They also perform virtual test drives of new models to build its reputation.
Elsewhere, Audi sponsor German club Bayern Munich and have been in partnership since 2002. In 2015, they extended that agreement until 2025, showing that there is great value in such deals. For their estimated €10 million-per-year-deal, the German manufacturers get their logo printed on the match shirts as well as an 8.8% share in the football club.
However, it’s not just Audi who have took a punt in the football market. Volkswagen are invested in the sport too thanks to their sponsorship deal with UEFA. The partnership, agreed in 2017, saw the two entities connected for four years between 2018 and 2022. They plan to release their new e-mobility family in 2020 – just in time for the next European Championships, which will be held across 13 countries and so providing ultimate exposure and brand awareness.
Volkswagen brand’s CEO, Dr Herbert Diess, said: “No other sport is as powerful as football or unites so many people. Furthermore, UEFA EURO 2020, which is being played across the entire continent, is a fantastic project. Our wish is to contribute towards building bridges between all countries and football fans with our mobility and creativity.”
Currently, rugby union is the second most popular sport in the UK, with the Six Nations tournament at the peak of the rugby calendar. In April 2018, English rugby’s top teams agreed to a four-year sponsorship deal worth £40 million with insurance company Gallagher. While the company is US-founded, it currently has 50 UK branches and will be looking to get a stranglehold on the industry thanks to the exposure it will receive from the sport.
When the sponsorship was announced, the company’s Chairman, CEO and President, J. Patrick Gallagher Jr, said: “By uniting with this globally-known and fast-growing franchise, we have a terrific opportunity to increase awareness about our company, values, expertise and services, and jointly participate in community projects and causes to make a difference. This dynamic business and marketing partnership with Premiership Rugby reflects who we are culturally and professionally.”
These comments go a long way in showing exactly how effective he thinks a sponsorship in sport can be.
Individual sports stars
Some of the world’s biggest sports stars are also sought after as they can be role models, thus having people want to wear the brands their heroes wear. An example of this is Michael Jordan in basketball. The former superstar still brings in a whopping $110 million each year thanks to his deal with Nike – over 15 years after he retired from the sport. Retro Jordan trainers (or sneakers if you may) are still strong sellers. In the fiscal year ending May 2016, the range’s revenue was $2.8 billion, meaning a deal with the star is certainly worth it for the clothing giants.
Elsewhere, Jamaica’s Usain Bolt has a sponsorship deal with Puma which shows that stars can help increase a brand’s equity and brand awareness. They used him in the Olympics in 2016 to enhance their brand awareness without having to be an official sponsor of the Games. Knowing he would be one of the most photographed participants, they knew they’d be heavily involved in media content. Bolt helped to do this by taking off his iconic trainers after a gold-winning run and making them noticeable to the whole stadium and in every photo.
These may just be a few examples of sports marketing deals across the world, but it’s evident that choosing the correct sporting sponsorships can pretty much guarantee global exposure for a business. Sponsoring a festival or other event won’t even come close to the outreach levels provided by sports, and that is why sports will continue to be extremely influential in sponsorships. Which is the biggest sponsorship deal you can think of in your favourite sport?