With the recent successes and the rising popularity of Canadian Olympic athletes, more and more sponsorship dollars are gravitating towards amateur sport. A few statistics from the 2013 Canadian Sponsorship Landscape Study are shared below that highlight this reality (see footnote ). Naturally, many sport organizations are looking for ways to attract new sponsorship revenue. Depending on the size and scope of these organizations, some have marketing experts committed to sponsorship, some have staff with sponsorship as part of their expansive portfolio, some have volunteer marketing committees, and some do not have sponsorship assigned to any personnel. Regardless, many sport organizations are seeking new sponsorship opportunities to generate revenue, increase member value, and support their bottom line.
Attracting new sponsors can seem to be a lot like fishing, patiently casting your bait over and over again trying to catch the big fish. Unlike fishing however, you also need to build the rod, the reel, the line and of course, the bait. This begins in the form of your sponsorship package and how you present it to potential sponsorship partners. Every package is unique and varies based on the properties available to sell and the resources available to sell them. Creativity and flexibility are two critical components of your sponsorship package. If you do it right, you should get more bites on your line!
Your properties are essentially any asset of the organization, tangible or intangible, that will provide any form of benefit to a potential sponsor. Properties can range from signage at your event to logo placement on your apparel to VIP hospitality at your facility. They can range from youth programs to lapel pins. Social media has grown dramatically as a property of interest; as evidenced by a growth in activation from 3.9% in 2009 to 16.1% in 2012, per the 2013 Canadian Sponsorship Landscape Study. You can extract some form of value from just about any asset and use it to provide increased value to a partner.
Property Menu and Pricing
Begin by taking an inventory of your properties (this should be revisited every year) and value each of your properties independently. You can do this on your own or you can seek out professionals for assistance (we can help!). Make sure that you know your inventory and what value should be assigned to each inventory item.
When creating your package our recommended approach is to treat your sponsorship properties like a menu. Let the potential sponsorship partner decide what they want. Partners don’t want the whole buffet; they want their sponsorship a la carte. This gives them maximum buying power and it gives you maximum appeal. Outline the different properties and their values first, highlighting the various potential benefits to a sponsor. Then provide a pricing grid from which they can select the marketing assets that they covet most. Allowing the partner to handpick the collection of properties that they believe will maximize their sponsorship dollar increases your likelihood of securing that partnership.
When a potential partner tells you what interests them the most, you can then potentially ‘upsell’ additional properties that align with their interests. For example, a potential partner who is focused on brand visibility tells you that they want to sponsor event signage and sampling promotion for your upcoming event series. Do they want to consider high visibility web placement and a targeted newsletter as well? Can you propose a customized package that adds more value but stays within their budget goals? This discussion can further lead to discount bundling, whereby the more properties a partner acquires, the greater overall discount you can provide. Using the above example, the added properties of web placement and newsletter feature may be valued at, say $500 and $150 respectively, but bundling them with the overall package may only cost the potential sponsor an additional $400.
A word of caution: there are two critical mistakes you need to avoid. First, you need to make sure your pricing is not out to lunch. If you are not sure how to properly value your assets it is strongly recommended that you ask for support (we can help!). Second, avoid overwhelming your potential partner with a cluttered menu. Try to get to know your potential partner first and then provide a streamlined menu that best suits their needs. If you know them better, you can show the partner that your mission is to increase THEIR value.
These are just a few general tips to assist with the development of your sponsorship package. You still need to do your research, prospect the right partners, complete the sale, and finally activate on your agreement. If you have any questions or need support with your sponsorship goals, feel free to contact me at [email protected]
NOTE: Jason is hosting a webinar “Sponsorship: Identifying and Selling Your Properties” on June 24, 2015, at 12pm EST. To learn more and to register visit: https://sportlaw.ca/webinar-series/
 The 2013 Canadian Sponsorship Landscape Study estimated that in 2012, sponsorship spending for amateur sport totaled approximately $440 million dollars. Professional sport garnered approximately $644 million of the total estimated $1.57 billion dollars allocated to the Canadian sponsorship industry. Furthermore, the study revealed that sport generated the greatest ROI (Return on Investment), and that amateur/Olympic sport was the best category for building community brands. According to the study, 72.5% of sponsorships had specific objectives at the community level (Canadian Sponsorship Landscape Study – O’Reilly & Beselt, August 2013).