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Sports Video Sessions: Sponsorship


Welcome to our sports video sessions provided by the Office of Sport. This video is all about sponsorship and social media. Traditionally, how is it the clubs raise funds? Obviously, through their membership each year, through events, through fund raising, for example, selling chocolates, for applying for council state government and federal government grants and, of course, sponsorship, and where does sponsorship come from? Local business, maybe some businesses that have national programs but, by enlarge, most clubs struggle at some point within their life cycle to either get a sponsor or, once they’ve got that sponsor, to retain them. What is the average sponsorship life cycle look like? Well, it should be to attract the sponsor, receive the money, spend the money on something useful for the club and then, ideally, the sponsor is happy and returns. But in reality, what does that life cycle actually look like? Consider the example of a league’s club, giving a local association $2,000. The association uses that money to upgrade their equipment, they might put a logo of the sponsor on the website, maybe in the newsletter but that’s about it. Come to the second year, and the club reapplies for sponsorship. They think, “Well, we got money last year. We’ll get that sponsorship again and maybe, we can ask for some more.” Ultimately, the league’s club says, “Well, we didn’t get a tangible benefit last year. There was no uptake in membership. We didn’t get any great returns. Sorry, we’re going to give the money to someone else.” So, the critical question is, once you get the money in year one, how do you service that sponsor to keep them coming back for year two, three and beyond? 

When servicing a sponsor, there are bunch of things that a club can do. There are traditional methods, branding rights, naming rights, impressions, invitations to events, but the critical one is social media and it has to be a strong focus. Looking at our traditional methods though, this is easy for a club to do. Branding is obvious. Name and logo on the club uniforms, events, banners, emails, website and critically, social media. Make sure that the brand of the sponsor is in you imagery, your photos you put up, the header at the top with the large splash of the sport. Make sure that all of that contains, in some way, a reference to the sponsor and it doesn’t have to be overt, it can be subtle. It’s easy enough to put a large panoramic picture at the top of your page, of your sport, of game day, lo and behold, they just happen to be some sponsor wind flags in the background. It is easy to be subtle about servicing the sponsor as well because, everywhere they look, there are hints that they are sponsor of your club. Another traditional method is naming rights and naming rights also are easy, pick a competition, insert the sponsor’s name, put their logo on a trophy, and make sure it’s of a reasonable size. If you put the logo digitally, make sure it’s not tiny in the corner but also make sure it doesn’t take half the page. It needs to be something that recognises what the sponsor has contributed and, if you have different levels of sponsors, then the naming rights, size of the logo, placement of the logo, is going to change, and naming right from major sponsor maybe on the front of your club, jersey, hoodie, tshirt, whatever that might be. Or, if it’s on the referee uniforms, it’s probably going to be on the back, because that’s what people are looking at. Smaller sponsors maybe relegated to the arms or their logos maybe smaller. So, just make sure you’re thinking about that when you look at naming rights.

A critical method that is traditionally being based in things like how many views your website got is impressions but impressions goes far beyond that. Most clubs would say, “Oh, our websites gets a hundred thousand views a year,” that’s great but there are other sources of information about how many eyeballs might see a sponsor’s logo, how many games do you have a week, how long do they go for, how long will that wind flag be up, and how many participants will be through the venue in that time, how many SMSs or texts, or emails do you send out, will the logo be in the emails, how many newsletters do you get printed, and what about membership cards? There so many ways that you can count impressions or eyeballs on a sponsor’s logo and these are all traditional methods but they are really important. Once you get these right, it’s easy to convert them in to a digital version for social media. And of course, social media is critical. It’s a way of engaging with your customers. It’s not just promoting content. It’s a two-way conversation. And by association, your sponsors are in that two-way conversation as well. They are able to benefit from that, and Australia is huge on social media, from 65% of us that are on social media, 95% of us use Facebook, and that’s a great sponsorship avenue. Lots of people put the sponsor on the Facebook page, but the sponsor has to recognise as well that it is a two-way street, and they can engage with your members as well. It’s all about how they market their business. Of course in managing this, you probably need a media manager. You need someone involve in a club that can actually facilitate putting this content on Facebook, making sure the sponsors get mentioned, making sure that you’re sharing interesting content that the sponsor is delivering and, of course underpinning that, you have to have clear policies about how to use social media and what to do when things go wrong. And we also, at the Office of Sport, have a whole video on this that covers all of these topics in greater detail.

And of course, the last way is by inviting your sponsor to events. The traditional method would be to invite your sponsor to awards nights, grand finals and registration days. However, social media plays a role here too. You can use social media, obviously, to invite your members to an event but the sponsor can as well. Let’s say you have a local sponsor and you have a registration day coming out, what a great way to cross-promote. The sponsor puts on their Facebook page, local club. Over here, it’s a having a registration day, “We’re proud to be a sponsor.” On your page, for example, you’re promoting “Hey guys, we have a registration day, sponsored this year by sponsor,” and, of course, “Come and see us and them,” at registration day. And then in physical real-life, you and the sponsor can both be there. So, it works both way, both you and the sponsor can be cross promoting when it comes to events and invitations. And of course, once this thing happen, you need to gather the right information. You need to give the sponsor report, how many members you have, how many competition days the wind flag will shown, what views your website got and, importantly, how you promote them on social media, and how you engage with your members around that. And lots of social network have analytics to help you. Facebook, for example, has a tool called ‘Insights’ which allows you to see things like demographics of the people that like your page. Now, this is really important because for a sponsor, for example, selling home loans, if your fans are 13 to 18 years old, that’s probably not relevant. If your fans are 25 to 40, that probably is relevant. So, lining up a sponsor with the right target audience, you can facilitate that very easily by looking at this statistics. And of course, once you’ve got those statistics, you need to put them in a report. Synthesise something that looks professional. It’s nicely laid out, it has all the dot points, and you give it to them with a framed gift or maybe a piece of signed merchandise, a trophy, maybe the sponsor logo is all over the merchandise that you give them, show them the physical proof that you carried out the sponsorship, and have a good working relationship with them. Nothing is worst than when you don’t get on with the sponsor. Make sure you understand your expectations, they understand the expectations, and it’s probably a good idea to get that on one piece of paper, “Here’s what will do as a club. Here’s what you’ll do as a sponsor,” and at the end of the year, he’s able to summarise that for you. That leads to a happy sponsor and they’ll be happy to return for years to come.