Club Support - Sponsorship Tips
Tips for how to gain your Club Sponsorship
 

Summary

Sponsorship is undoubtedly one of the key sources of income for all clubs, irrespective of their size. Without a successful sponsorship programme the clubs will struggle to reach their income targets.

It is therefore essential that the optimise all of the opportunities they have to find sponsorship and in order to achieve this they will need to understand;

 

  • Which “property” they have which might be of interest to a sponsor
  • Why there is a business value for the sponsor and what it is
  • How to put the sponsorship package together
  • How to sell the package to a sponsor in the face of competition
  • How to service the sponsorship and retain it

 

Companies use sponsorship in order to fulfil their business needs;

Magners began their sponsorship of London Wasps to coincide with the launch of Magners in London in March 2003. Their research had shown them that their target audience was very similar to the rugby audience. There was a perfect fit between the two brands and obviously many of the Wasps fans lived in London. They went on to sponsor the Celtic league because they a) wanted to expand into Scotland and Wales b) they already knew the fit between the rugby fan and the Magners customer.

Chang, the Thai beer brand, have signed the Everton shirt deal to a) retain their market share in Thailand where the Premiership receives enormous coverage b) to promote the brand worldwide 3) to give the brand credibility by aligning it with the Premier League.

 

Both of these deals, like a majority of sponsorships were used to grow the sponsor’s business

 

What is Sponsorship?

Sponsorship is when a person or business supports a person, group of people or sporting club (this could be financially or in kind) in an activity which provides a profit for the recipient, In return the sponsor usually receives some business benefit, although philanthropic sponsorship does exist.

 

What does the Sponsor want from the deal?

 

As we have mentioned there are some sponsors who will provide sponsorship funds for philanthropic reasons. For the purpose of this paper we are going to assume that all sponsorships exist to fulfil business needs for the sponsor.

There are five main reasons why a business might buy sponsorship;

 

1)     to find it more customers

2)     to assist it in retaining its existing customers

3)     to assist in developing brand awareness for the business

4)     To build up the reputation of the business in the local community and wider world.

5)     To motivate and reward it’s work force

 

 

Can we easily provide these for a potential sponsor? Of course we can – they find new customers through the use our data bases and in our match day attendees. We can help them to retain customers by providing high quality corporate hospitality when they can build up the relationship with new and old customers. The Community programme provides them with the idea opportunity to build up their reputation in the area and we can provide a discounted match day package or Family summer schools to assist them in motivation/rewarding their staff.

 

 

What we need to realise is that one sponsor may want something completely different from another. Because of this we need to understand what the sponsor wants before we give them a finished package. We need to understand what it is we have that could assist them to fulfil their business needs

As we previously discussed we need to sell these packages and in order to do so we need to understand what it is we have to sell and who wants it.

 

Building up a sponsorship proposition

 

Step 1

Decide what you have to offer. Do we have data base with 5000 local families on it which could be of use to a local business? Do we have high quality hospitality suites which could be used by sponsors to build relationships with new and existing customers?

Step 2

Decide what value it has. Is there an equivalent package in existence which we could use to value our inventory?

Step 3

Build up a list of targets, carry out research on their sponsorship strategy and isolate the individual responsible. There will always be the usual” suspects” but can we build up the target list from a range of sources. Does the economic development department know of any businesses moving to the area? Can we get a list from our Directors of successful businesses that they know, are there any brands already involved in sport with a local connection or can we get a list from the local economic development department of the companies with the greatest turn over and greatest number of employees in the region.

The most important point here is for us to try and find out through research on the internet or through conversation with employees a)what it is that we have that might

Step 4

Prepare a sales document for the sponsorship – we will see more about this below.

Step 5

How do we contact the potential sponsors?

One thing that we need to realise is that we are in competition for any sponsorship funds and therefore we need to present as professional image as possible because if we don’t be sure that your competition will.

Firstly research all potential targets as far as possible, on the Internet, through employees or simply calling business and asking questions. Make sure that you have the correct contact name and job title.

My preferred technique is to make initial contact on the telephone using the sales call technique.  The aim of the call is to get a meeting with them where we will be able to find out more about their sponsorship strategy. If this fails we may have to send them something in the post but if this is the case do try to find out some information about their sponsorship strategy from them before you put the telephone down!

Making this telephone call is a specific skill and we will talk more about the marketing skills needed in a future article. You may consider that it is worth sending your sponsorship manager on a Chamber of Commerce training day on “How to make a sales call”.

 

Step 6

If you get a meeting, make as professional presentation as possible.  You are in competition with others!!

 

Writing the Sponsorship document

I have outlined below one suggestion for the structure of the sponsorship document of power point

 

Section 1

Background on the Club. This is an opportunity to show how the club has grown or the importance of the club historically

 

Section 2

The Ambitions of the Club. The potential sponsor will want to be aligned with an ambitious, forward thinking and successful sporting business. This is your opportunity to “sell” the club to the potential sponsor

 

Section 3

The Numbers – this is a very important section because it is often this section that the potential sponsor with use to value the sponsorship

        Size of database – demographics of numbers etc

        Website – number of hits.

        Number of mini/juniors playing

        Coverage in local newspapers

        If there is a sign on the road at the entrance to the club house, how many cars go past it every day?

 

Section Four

The Sponsorship Rights;

        Access to all database

        Advertising

        Memberships for sponsor’s employees

        Summer school for employees

 

Section Five

The Package;

        Cost

        Payable when

        Term

 

 

 

Key Points

 

  • Understand that sponsorship has to be “sold” and that the potential sponsor has business” needs” that he has to fulfil.
  • Preparation is vital – know what it is you have to sell, build up a target list and prepare sponsorship/marketing collateral. Try to find out through research how you could help a business to fulfil it’s business needs
  • Be professional at all times – your competition will be!
  • If you don’t have the necessary marketing skills (do you know how to make a sales call or write a sales letter) find a local course that will teach you
  • If you sign a sponsorship deal don’t forget to service it.!!

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