Three Steps to Finding the Perfect Partner for a Meaningful Sports Sponsorship

If you are considering a sports sponsorship, it’s important that you really consider it. Don’t go for the flashiest thing because you like seeing your name in lights. Sports sponsorships can be hugely beneficial, but only if you are both aiming towards the same goals. Otherwise, you’re likely to waste a lot of money and effort for very little return. Read on to find out how to find your perfect sports partnership.

What are the benefits of a sports sponsorship?

Sports sponsorships are a very powerful form of marketing. For example, a Neilsen study titled “An Evaluation of the Marketing Influence of Sports Alliances” said that 52% of fans are more likely to think positively of a brand that is sponsoring their team. Additionally, sheer exposure is up for grabs for any team, as sports sponsorships can gain the attention of a lot of eyes. Football has an estimated global viewership of 3.5 billion, the 2023 Super Bowl totalled 113 million viewers, and the total viewership for the 2022 Wimbledon Championship reached over 573 million across platforms.

Brands get in front of those eyes in ways that range from subtle to blatant. Wimbledon players are decked out in all sorts of carefully chosen kit, including gym bag and water bottle featuring labels that have paid to be there, but football strips feature a massive logo at the centre that say, American football jerseys would omit for their team logo. Then there are the field advertisements, which allow for massive TV exposure stats. The 2018 FIF World Cup resulted in six brands receiving $2 billion in TV exposure.

It even extends onto social media, where fans are more likely to follow and engage with a brand that they’ve seen their teams and players wear or support.

All this exposure leads to the brand becoming part of the style. People not only start to want a beer that they’ve seen on a football strip, but a football strip with that beer logo on it, inspiring loyalty, cult fanbases and nostalgia for the brand in the future.

Before you start…

However, this isn’t going to be the case for every brand pairing with every team. You aren’t going to get Super Bowl numbers if you’re sponsoring the Little League. It’s important to pair the right brand with the right team and align goals with them.

So how do you select the right partner? Well, like anything else worth doing, it starts with looking inward. Ask yourself two things:

· What are your expectations for the partnership? What business goals do you expect to achieve with it?

· Do these business goals match up with the goals of the team, player, event, or sports governing body you want to work with?

From there you can start narrowing down options until you have a collection of healthy partnership possibilities. But how do you narrow them down?

1. Understand your goals and your partners’ goals

The first step is to understand what you want and start matching that with brands that want the same thing. This means understanding the demographics of the fan base, geographical reach, social media influence and lots more. It’s important to align your needs with the benefits that the partner has and vice versa. This partnership can help you infiltrate new markets with its geographical reach, new demographics, or simply more eyes if that’s what you both work towards.

Consider if the brand uses to technology to enhance fan experience if you want to emphasise your tech innovation. Ask if your potential partner is a “challenger brand” like yourself. Support the underdog in an oversaturated market like your own narrative.

2. Understand your partners’ audience strategy

Do your research to understand the different levels and areas of reach that these potential partners can offer. Every team has a different demographic and they can be split on things you would never really consider, like family loyalty and personal and political history. Really dive deep into their audiences’ demographics. What are their household incomes, ages, geographical locations, etc?

You might have to pressure your partners to get the very latest data, but it will benefit everyone to know what you are getting into. Be sure that you know what the latest audience metrics and personas are to create the best plans for audience engagement as partners.

3. Assess goals for brand ethos and messaging

Keep this at the forefront of your mind: What are you trying to accomplish?

This should be what you ask yourself before every decision. It’s important that you stay true to what you are trying to achieve with your sports sponsorship, so you should keep your main goal in mind. They will be the basis of your KPIs, the indicator of the best partnerships, and will stop you from straying into the most glamourous option.

Going back to an earlier example, it’s not logical for everyone to want a Super Bowl brand partnership. It wouldn’t serve everyone’s purpose. If the little solicitor firm family business got themselves a Super Bowl commercial, they would have wasted money reaching people who aren’t in their area, aren’t the right demographic for their work, and aren’t going to travel to get a consultation.

Make sure that you aren’t swayed by the glamour and that your partnership would actually be beneficial to you. Taylor Swift keeps getting rumoured to be doing the Super Bowl halftime show, but why would the biggest star in the world with the highest profile tour in 2023 need that?


Be sure your goals align with your partners’ and you will create a fruitful marketing campaign partnership.