Looking into Sponsorships as a Way to Boost Your Business

Sponsorships are among the most storied and trusted marketing tactics. It’s been around for decades, with sponsoring an event or team immediately unlocking exposure to large groups of people and even earning goodwill for the brand. Back in 2011, sponsorships suddenly boomed, making it a $3.4 billion market that continued to grow over the next several years. Now, with the internet offering even more platforms for events and teams to engage with patrons, sponsorships can be even more far-reaching.

What It Means to Be a Sponsor


The most basic way to look at sponsorship is that you, as the business, are offering to fund all of or a section of an event or team’s expenses in exchange for brand exposure and association. Due to this form of marketing being so widespread, you won’t find it difficult to encounter a group looking for a sponsor. Just about anyone who’s looking to run a successful event or organization will be on the lookout for a sponsor as it’s a clear-cut way to fund the venture even before it gets going. However, as a business on the lookout to be a sponsor, you need to make sure that there is plenty of value to your brand through marketing with them.

For this, you need to look beyond the advertising element that comes with having your brand on shirts, pens, or billboards. If done well, sponsorships can essentially be investments. The key is that sponsorships are best thought of as business-to-business applications as you’re looking to see how marketing with this other entity will help them as well as promote your business. From here, you look into what the potential consumers are interested in, building from the assistance being lent to the event or club towards the true target audience of your sponsorship arrangement.

There are many, many different ways that you can sponsor in the modern world. Online, this can come through partnerships with influencers, sponsored content in a blog, online reviews of products, or the hosting of online events. In the physical space, you can offer hosting services, cash and prize donations, fund aspects without charge, run educational or informative programs, and go with traditional sponsorship plans – such as banners, tote bags, and other branded additions. A fine example of a successful sponsorship campaign is with Red Bull. Not always a household name, the company would sponsor and hand out free drinks at sports and VIP events. After gaining notoriety, Red Bull went all-in on sponsoring extreme sports and epic stunts.

Sponsoring to Further Your Business

If you’re a new start-up business, the kinds of sponsorship deals that you’re used to seeing around are likely out of reach. Most of the sponsorships that you’ll be familiar with almost certainly pertain to sports teams. From drinks during interviews to stadium names and kit suppliers, sponsors are all over sports due to the massive exposure that teams offer. Businesses that go all-in on sports sponsorship often back several teams and events across multiple sports. This can be seen with the casino online that is the official principal sponsor of West Ham United in soccer, the Cheltenham Festival of horse racing, and Ninjas in Pyjamas in eSports. A key point shown here is that, even though it’s an Omni-gambling platform, even the unrelated section of casino games still showcases the brand’s sponsorship of these sports teams, proving the power of association. 

It’s big business and a huge part of the multi-billion industry. As you can clearly see on the home kits for Chelsea, Three and Hyundai sponsor the reigning Champions League winners, with those deals costing a combined £50 million ($68 million) per season. Even at these prices, the brand exposure and association make it worthwhile. However, even new companies can look at relatively small-scale sponsorship deals to raise awareness. While these multi-million Premier League deals may be out of reach, sponsoring a local sports team or club can be beneficial. As shown with the sponsors above, you don’t even need to be sports-relevant to find value in a sports sponsorship. Going down this route comes with additional benefits, too, including making a difference to sports enthusiasts, showcasing your values as a business, and expanding your reach to the wider local area. You can also look to sports events that take place throughout the year, such as amateur five-a-side soccer tournaments or local area flag football finals.

Of course, sports teams tend to have their sponsors settled for the season or a few seasons to come. So, if you want to get into the sponsorship game in the near future, looking to public, charity, or corporate events might be your best approach. Sponsoring such events, from sponsoring the entire event to certain aspects of them, can help with brand visibility, enhance customer perception of your brand, gain insights from target audiences, and even help with business-to-business relations. To make the most of your presence as an event sponsor, you don’t want to go over the top with your advertising presence, but offering tote bags and freebies is always a good way to win favor with passersby and especially those intrigued by your brand.

There’s a lot that you can gain from being a sponsor, especially if it’s in sporting circles, and there are always people, clubs, and organizers who are on the lookout for a business that wants to exchange funding for marketing.

About Carson Derrow

My name is Carson Derrow I'm an entrepreneur, professional blogger, and marketer from Arkansas. I've been writing for startups and small businesses since 2012. I share the latest business news, tools, resources, and marketing tips to help startups and small businesses to grow their business.