Sponsorship is one of the means open to a company to bring itself or its products to the attention of consumers and present itself in a favourable light.
Sponsorship seeks to enhance the company or brand messages by association with an event, club or team which shares similar image qualities and values. This association can be very powerful because it is perceived as an endorsement by an independent third party. Consumers are aware of the costs of sponsorship but the message retained is more subtle than that from the more overtly paid-for advertisement.
Sponsorship is a commercial agreement between a company and a sport. In return for a financial contribution a sports organisation will allow the use of its name in commercial activities. These activities can be as varied as the imaginations of the participants. Some of the most obvious are:
- Display of the brand name on kit, banners around the venue, advertisements in programmes, and on other merchandise.
- Use of the club, event, team or individual in advertisements and other promotions undertaken by the brand.
- Personal endorsement of the sponsors products by teams or individuals by use of their products, kit or equipment.
- Production of joint websites or developing close links between separate websites.
Most sponsorships are paid for in cash, but in-kind sponsorship can be useful and effective. Instead of money, the sponsor provides equipment, services or management expertise as all or part of its fee for the rights to a sporting activity.