The Future of Sports Sponsorship in 2024

At Game Changing Media, we truly believe that sports sponsorship is an integral part of the marketing mix.  It’s a constantly evolving landscape with incredible opportunities for businesses looking to make their mark in the world of digital.  Likewise, it’s an opportunity for sports clubs to work with their partners more on stronger activation campaigns, that will in turn broaden their reach.  

The figures speak for themselves.  Reports from the Market Statsville Group estimate that the global sponsorship market is expected to grow from over $76 million, to over $134 million by 2033.  Why is it growing exponentially, and what does the future hold for their sponsors and partners?

An Increase in Digital Integration

Sponsorship will go far beyond logo placement in 2024. Businesses will be looking to complement traditional sponsorship marketing methods such as trackside advertising, matchday programme exposure etc with digital campaigns as a way to grow their presence online.  

Social media will be key for sports clubs. Partners will be looking into the digital content that is pushed out, the level of fan engagement on their media outlets – and how they can tap into it.  When sponsorship packages are being created, there will need to be more room for and increasingly innovative approach.

Technologies are improving, fan zones are becoming more impressive than before, and the capabilities of social media channels themselves are continuously evolving to allow better fan engagement and user generated content seamlessly in different ways.

Sustainability and Social Responsiblity

Sponsors are looking for more than to just attach a logo to a sports club, they want to have an affinity with them as a brand and their core values.  Sports clubs will be pushing more positive messaging that resonates with their corporate sponsors from a CSR perspective.  

When sports clubs employ CSR initiatives, this in turn gives fans a better perception of them and will result in positive word-of-mouth communication surrounding the club. Brand sentiment is a big thing from a marketing perspective.  Any business worth it’s salt knows they should only align themselves to a brand that is authentically working towards causes for social good.  

A More Prominent Focus on the Women’s Game

Last year was a historic one for women’s football – and there’s no signs of it letting up in 2024, We are seeing far more sponsorship opportunities surrounding the women’s game than there has previously been. We have already seen big brands such as Nike, Lucozade, Budweiser and many others backing the women’s game making it a more equal playing field.  Groundbreaking sponsorship from Barclay’s of the FA Women’s Super League that runs until 2025, and mainstream broadcasting on terrestrial TV and more support of grassroot clubs getting women involved in the sport from an early age is bridging the gap.  2024 will be a big year for companies to take advantage of this. 

Data-Driven Decision Making

Businesses will be looking for evidence to support they are getting a ROI on their sponsorship with sports clubs.  This means 2 things; the clubs themselves will need to be be more familiar with statistics on their digital presence.  It won’t be enough to give top-line stats, they will need to dig deeper into engagement levels, the best performing types of content, and offer sponsorship packages that aren’t cookie-cutter.  They need to be bespoke to the objectives of the potential partner.  

It also means that the businesses themselves will spend more time analysing the success of the campaigns. Marketers have more options available to them than ever before, and as such need to feel comfortable that there investment is a worthwhile one.  They will be looking at custom tracking, bespoke campaigns, engagement stats, sentiment analysis, and conversion rates.  

How Can Game Changing Media Help?

Game Changing Media can help both parties create partnerships that are mutually beneficial.  We can work with clubs to attach a value to their digital media presence, and work with them to accurately display critical information that marketers will be looking for and drill down to their data at a granular level to make their product more viable.  We can also help them uncover previously untapped commercial opportunities that can be monetised.  

On the flip side, we can also work with businesses who attribute a percentage of their marketing budget to sponsorship opportunities, and help them maximise their investment.  We do this by liaising with the sports club on their behalf, negotiating commercials and ensuring all aspects of the activation is implemented.  We will also be the creative lead, working with the clubs to adopt unique, strategic and innovative ideas that are aligned with the KPI’s of the business.  Perhaps most importantly, we can report on it’s success using both qualitative and quantitative data.  This means that any future decisions will be based on solid data, and that the campaigns will always be improving.