In Sport Sponsorship, Sports Marketing

In an era where everything is just a click away, why should you choose a sponsorship agency to support you?

Unfortunately, and probably because of its rather recent genesis, within the world of sports marketing there is a strong tendency to “Do it yourself”. Unlike other areas, where specificities and professionalism are recognized and respected, the world of sport is still some sort of far west in which many people think they can operate independently without any help.

This idiosyncrasy arises, in many cases, from the false idea that “sport” and “sports marketing” are the same thing. Actually, the reality is quite different: knowing everything about the Serie A teams doesn’t mean that you are a professional in sponsorship or marketing activation. In the same way that it is not enough to be a passionate listener of music to consider yourself an operator in the discographic industry.

Sports business is actually a very complex field, full of specificities and nuances that are difficult to grasp and exploit from the outside. However, it is precisely in these specifics and details that the true value of sponsorship and other sports marketing tools is hidden. And of the professionals and sponsorship agencies that operate in this field.

In the sports market, the operators are few and highly specialized; they have been working in this field for decades and we should address them if we do not want to be sloppy. This is also because not all sports are the same. Football is different from rugby, sailing, motors and athletics. It is not a matter of rules and sports application, but rather of targets and exploitation opportunities, of different communication objectives and values. It is no coincidence, in short, that Prada sponsors Luna Rossa, Movistar sponsors the Yamaha MotoGP team and Mapei has been linked for years to the world of cycling.

In a certain way, we can recklessly make a comparison with a medical diagnosis: if you have a vision problem you’d better go to an eye specialist, but if a tooth hurts you will contact a dentist. Each sector has its own specialist and this is how it should work when dealing with sports sponsorship. The general practitioner can understand that there is a problem and refer you to the best competence that, taking care only of that, has the ability to solve it: this is the kind of advice you can ask a media centre if they do not have someone inside the office.

The first role of sponsorship agencies and sports marketing professionals must be precisely to grasp the uniqueness and the objectives of each project, and redirect to the best sport or athlete. These are strategic decisions, which must be made on the basis of numbers and researches and not personal preferences. It may happen that the sport you love is not the right one for your business, while other disciplines that you have not taken into consideration hold the key to success.

It’s rarely convenient to directly address an athlete or a team; what at first glance can appear as an economic saving and a shortening of the chain often turns out into a boomerang of difficult management. Unknown methods, untraceable contacts, misunderstood schedules are often the cause of the waste of money, time and results that are then too slow to be achieved.

On the contrary, sponsorship agencies and specific operators have the right names in their pocket, the winning procedures and the recent researches that substantiate decisions and reports. In this way, you save time, effort and ensure economic returns and image.

A true story

Recently a company interested in sponsorship first wrote and then called us asking for a specific team. In our view, the sport that this company wanted to invest in was correct; we, therefore, replied that there wouldn’t be any problem to go on with that team but, according to us, there were better alternatives to consider.

We were then asked for an alternative proposal and we provided the one we considered to be the ideal team for his company. The customer preferred his way and went on with his first idea and now finds himself at the bottom of the pack with the team he had probably already chosen before contacting us.

So why asking for an advice and then going on without even make a comparison? Do we behave in the same way with the architect, lawyer or with the doctor? We rarely say no to these figures, we tend to trust their advice and seeing it as the best for us.

Luckily there are also companies (just check the Fortune500 list) that have been sponsoring for a long time and are structured to make the most out from the sponsorship that they have plan carefully. Unfortunately, it is not enough to read La Gazzetta dello Sport to have an idea of the market and it’s not also right to rely on poorly done sponsorship programs; it basically means abandoning the sport, burned and disappointed. It is not easy to be the customer, especially in sports marketing. That’s why there are agencies and professionals that, despite the rampant spirit of DIY, have existed for several decades bringing value and success to companies and brands around the world.

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