Sponsorships: Working With Athletes
by Jeff Hilton Integrated Marketing Group
you see a famous athlete on TV or their picture in the paper,
chances are you will also see a large logo either plastered
on their hat, strategically stitched into their shirt collar
or dominating the center of their t-shirt. It's called maximizing
your sponsorship dollars for the best possible exposure, and
sponsorships have gone mainstream. All of the top athletes in
the world are now associated with major corporations and the
exposure generated from these high-profile individuals has become
a vehicle for communication and a successful means for targeting
particular groups of people. Sponsorship is an important element
of the marketing communications mix and ultimately should positively
impact a consumer's purchase decision, so sales of the sponsor's
products will multiply.
are many different levels of sponsorship opportunities, there
are also many different types of athletes to sponsor. Whether
your company is large or small, whether your potential sponsorship
dollars are in the millions or in the thousands, there are several
elements that should be evaluated before entering into any athlete
any other business endeavor, the bottom line with sponsorship
is what it can do for you. First and foremost, an athlete will
immediately endorse your company, product or service. This will
greatly increase the public awareness of your product or service
as well as establish reliable third party credibility. After
all, if XYZ athlete uses it, it must be good.
sponsored athlete will provide significant logo exposure. Your
company logo should be as visible as possible, as often as possible.
Place the logo on uniforms, training clothing, equipment, travel
bags, casual clothing, business cards etc. Be creative and don't
miss out on any opportunities. As you have seen, athletic icons
will often appear on television, be featured in magazines and
newspaper articles clearly displaying their sponsor's logos.
This is the type of exposure that your company could never buy.
athlete should be an integrated part of your overall marketing
campaign. Incorporate the athlete into your print, television
and radio advertising. Schedule them for appropriate events,
public speaking opportunities, charity events, trade shows and
VIP functions. But don't stop there. Form a foundation in the
athlete's name. Utilize their knowledge and experience for product
testing and design. Include information on your Web site, updating
it with your athletes? Current schedule, accomplishments, photos
and live chat sessions. Include major television appearances
in the form of streaming video that visitors can watch directly
from your site. With all of advancements in Internet technology,
the sky is the limit.
the potential of an athlete sponsorship, how much is it going
to cost? There is no simple formula that can identify the right
sponsorship for a company. Product and sport should obviously
be compatible and both partners should feel comfortable with
what your company is willing to spend you must do your homework.
What are you really looking to get out of the potential sponsorship
and is it really worth it? Then, put together a realistic budget
within your means. Typically, the marketing budget for a sponsorship
project will double the cost of the sponsorship. A common format
for a sponsorship agreement is to develop a monthly project
and retainer fee allocating bonuses for additional exposure
the finances allocated to sponsorship may appear large, but
in fact they are not nearly as high as the budgets dedicated
to advertising in the mainstream media. You also want to make
sure that you have someone who can manage the program. Realize
that you cannot just pay the sponsorship fee and sit back and
expect things to happen for your company.
have your bases covered and are ready to move forward, you need
to develop a contract that clearly explains the general terms
of your agreement, the specific sponsor needs and the athlete
compensation. Make sure all terms are thoroughly developed and
be willing to negotiate for the best offer.