The Sponsors’ Perspective

Authored by: Benoît Séguin , Guillaume Bodet

Routledge Handbook of Sports Event Management

Print publication date:  March  2015
Online publication date:  July  2017

Print ISBN: 9780415858649
eBook ISBN: 9780203798386
Adobe ISBN: 9781135104306


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Sponsorship is a marketing communications tool that has been applied to various sectors including sport, arts, music, cause, and education. Sponsorship is now a significant part of the marketing mix, representing a substantial proportion of companies’ marketing budgets (Grohs and Reisinger 2005). The relationships between sports properties (sponsees) and sponsors continue to grow with large commitments in financial and/or in-kind resources (e.g. products, services, expertise) by sponsors in exchange for ‘exploitable commercial potential’ (sponsee’s assets, stake-holders, images) associated with the sponsees (Meenaghan 1991). When examined on a global scale, sponsorship is huge business. Estimated at $13.6 billion1 worldwide in 1996, sponsorship spending is expected to reach $55 billion in 2014 (IEG 2014). Sport sponsorship accounts for approximately 70 percent of all sponsorship spending (IEG 2014). The 2014 Sochi Olympic Winter Games alone raised $1.3 billion in national (domestic) sponsorship rights, more than any other Winter Games in history (Sochi 2014). In addition to domestic sponsors, the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) worldwide sponsorship programme known as ‘The Olympic Partners’ (TOP) programme exceeded the $1 billion in revenue for the 2013–2016 period covering the Games of Sochi (winter) and Rio (summer) (Owen 2013). When considering that sponsors are recommended to invest on average three dollars on activation programs (Eisenhart 1988) for every dollar spent on rights fees (3:1 ratio), the actual sponsorship-related spending around the Sochi Games may be closer to $4 billion. In addition, sponsorship of professional sport leagues and their respective teams such as the National Football League in North America, the Barclay’s Premier League in UK (Manchester United), or the National Rugby League in Australia (Penrith Panthers) have flourished in the last few years. But whether companies spend hundred of millions to be associated with these high profile sports or a few hundred dollars to support a local community sport event, they do so because they believe sport brings value.

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