During the 2 years spent studying a master’s degree in Sports Management & The Business of Football at Birkbeck (it’s a great course, I’ll recommend it to anyone), whenever I had the opportunity, I would base a written piece of work on the African sports market to gain further insight on the continent. This included my dissertation, which was based on the African Sports Market; sponsorship; the balance of power in sports & 3rd party consultancies
The dissertation was thoroughly enjoyable and from research gathered, one key component that is needed to help boost the African Sports Market is sponsorships. Of course, this isn’t the only matter needed for the sports economy in Africa to grow. Many key factors are needed as a foundation for any sports market or entity to grow, such as (but not limited to):
- Quality of product
Once an attractive product has been established, this would increase demand. Bringing a fan base, TV and inevitably sponsors.
So below is a brief synopsis of what sponsorship is.
What is Sponsorship?
Sponsorship is a key marketing tool used by many sporting organisations for many reasons such as to increase brand awareness, give a positive affiliation with a brand as well as the commercial benefits these bring.
It is an integral component of a company’s marketing strategy in order for them to create a corporate image and a brand positioning. There are many different ways for marketing to take place such as TV and radio, but it is sponsorship that has proved to be the most penetrating of all marketing tools.
The basic of sponsorship is a business relationship between 2 parties; the sponsor and its stakeholders and the sponsored and their stakeholders, such as CAF’s sponsorship with Orange or Barclays sponsoring the Premier League. Both parties come into a sponsorship relationship with some value, for example the sponsor having some financial clout or services and the sponsored bringing an opportunity for the sponsor to gain commercial and competitive advantage.
2 important reasons why companies enter into a sponsorship agreement are:
- Create and/or improve brand awareness
- Change/enhance the company’s image
An example of an effective sponsorship agreement can be seen with Visa’s sponsoring of the Olympic Games. As the world’s leading sports event, Visa sought positioning in the market as the world leading payment system and therefore image association with the Olympic Games seemed the most logical partnership.
The power of an effective sponsorship agreement cannot be undervalued in its aim to change brand image; reach new markets and enhance brand reputation. Despite its benefits, some national governing bodies are yet to fully exploit the possibilities that sponsorship can bring.