This guest article was written by Dirk Schluenz who is the Managing Partner of DAVNIS Sports Limited.
On May 28, 2016 the UEFA Champions League Final 2016 took place at the sold out Giuseppe Meazza Stadium in Milan front of more than 80.000 spectators. Given the more than 60 million people in Europe alone that watched live on TV, as well as the more than 200 million all across the globe, the event looks to have captured a huge audience for advertising.
Moreover, during and after the match more than 27 million users sent more than 74 million social media tweets on Twitter and Facebook. Right in the middle of the action, which kept the viewers glued to their TV sets for more than two and a half hours, they saw: “PLUS500” – the Israeli online trading platform, prominently displayed on the shirts of the brave fighting side of Atletico Madrid.
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Taking into account the additional matches of Atletico Madrid in this year’s UEFA Champions League season and their appearances in the worldwide broadcasted Spanish Primera Division football league, PLUS500 received a benchmarking media reach with this sponsorship in the recent season among all European shirt sponsors. This was achieved for a fraction of the amount that Dubai-based “Fly Emirates” has to transfer to Atletico’s rival Real Madrid.
European football still offers a wide variety of great opportunities and chances for sponsorships for further clients from the online trading and FX industry. But how to initiate such a project and how to work it out effectively and more importantly, efficiently?
Decisions and Branding
At first, the decision to utilize sport and in particular football as a communication platform has to be taken – not an easy one but there are many good reasons for such a choice, like the increased, steady and year-through brand awareness and subsequently improved brand reputation. Things that should be of keen interest to any online trading platform.
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Then the evaluation of potential clubs begins. Crucial criteria, amongst others, should be the international and geographical reach and impact, i.e. whether a Spanish or UK team is reaching substantially more viewers worldwide compared to a German team. This is caused by a dramatically wider international distribution of broadcasts of the Spanish and the UK leagues.
Furthermore, a team that stands for success is needed. It is very important to harness the reliability and solidity of a club – altogether, core values you will want to be transferred to your own brand and of course, and finally, the availability and costs. An independent and professional consultant should be at your side to give professional advice on all of those aspects – you would not build a house without an architect or create an advertising campaign without an agency either.
However, while German and French teams have in most cases long-term contracted marketing agencies to represent them and to offer sponsorships on their behalf, English, Spanish and Italian teams in most cases do not. Hence, and as UK and foremost Spanish clubs should be your closer focus due to their stronger international impact, you should establish direct communication with your club of choice and reject categorical that any external agency be involved.
As such, it is important to insist that the club commits to an extension that no external agency is involved in the background and would be remunerated in case of closing a partnership deal.
Any reliable and serious club would comply with this request and this will save the usual 10-20% on an agency commission you would pay indirectly with your sponsorship licence fee. Next, it’s crucial to set out the key sponsorship tools you look for and do not accept the standard offers the clubs will present but rather individualize and improve the sponsorship package towards your company’s needs. This can result in a larger number of hospitality VIP tickets and/or in wider digital and social media activities.
Moreover, groups need to try to negotiate the deal more towards performance based bonuses rather than high basic sponsorship license fees – for some clubs it could be worthwhile even to reward sixth place in their league as this will entitle the club to participate in an international competition in the season thereafter and increase the media presence.
Last but not least, make sure that the key people in your organization support the project – your VP sales will be the one to invite client prospects and host them with his team and your VP marketing needs to integrate the sponsorship into your overall marketing and communication and drive it to a real success contributing to your business goals.