Sports sponsorship can be seen as a challenging proposition for teams and companies. The biggest obstacle is the lack of quantifiable ROI combined with the financial outlays involved. Most shy away from investing in uncertain and subjective returns. So, what makes a great sports sponsorship? Teams and companies must be aligned, advertising or marketing must engage the fan, and focus must be on effective communication in order to foster unique activations that improve fan experience.
Aligning with well-known companies is a must in sports sponsorship. How do we accomplish this feat? We need to analyze the reasons, impacts, and capabilities for a company to participate. A great example of this is the Atlanta Falcons, whose new stadium is sponsored by Mercedes-Benz. That stadium sponsorship deal is just a part of the $900 million in sponsorship that they’ve raised so far. How have the Falcons been so successful in this sponsorship drive? The reason is they are more interested than interesting. They’ve spent their time to get alignment and have contemplated what brands would match the image of their new stadium. The Falcons wanted to align with a company that shares the values of their organization; someone committed to excellence, customer service, and a quality experience. The result of this alignment was the signing of the richest marketing deal in Mercedes Benz history.
We must engage the fans and be efficient marketers. If we want to deepen the relationship between fans and sponsored companies, we must make people happy. Pursue your potential as a company to align with sponsors and fans alike. Remember that a fun activation puts fans in a great mood and better aligns, connects, and engages them to the products or services offered. One of the more entertaining activations that I’ve seen take place was at an Atlanta Hawks game in 2015. The Hawks hosted a Tinder Swipe Right Night which received tons of press for the team and huge engagement with the fans. Fans were treated to flowers, breath mints, and a special Tinder suite while being encouraged to try and find their true love. The sports sponsorship expert Falcons have an entire activation area outside of the Georgia Dome dedicated to improving fan engagement. This idea will continue at Mercedes-Benz Stadium with all new outdoor fan plaza for attendees to enjoy.
Finally, we must effectively communicate in order to make the best connection to fans. All sponsorship is ineffective unless you can connect or effectively communicate to the fan base. Use the right content and let them have access through the right mediums to effectively connect. One of the ways the Falcons tried to connect their fans to the new stadium was wheeling the new stadium seats around Atlanta to inspire seat purchases. The construction of the stadium is meant to drive connection as well. There will be Wi-Fi throughout the stadium, state of the art audio to improve in-stadium communication, the world’s largest video board, and a window looking out at the Atlanta skyline. The builders want to connect fans more efficiently to their surroundings, sponsors included.
With the right content, appropriate access, and state of the art mediums, the Falcons are rising up and crushing sports sponsorship.
By: David Meltzer