It’s not a secret that when you place your corporate logo on a jersey or in an arena you expect your reach to extend beyond the event itself. When brands spend six or seven figures to sponsor a team (or in the case of Scotiabank, $40 million per year for the next 20 years for naming rights to the former Air Canada Centre) they expect measurable return on their investment. Yet for too long, sponsorship has been an inexact science.
Digital has changed the way we consume entertainment; it has also changed the way brands approach sponsorship. With social media measurement tools, camera ad tracking and other digital innovations, rights holders and teams have a clearer understanding of the value of their offering, which helps to set realistic KPIs for brands.
Let’s look at how technology might change sports sponsorship in the near future:
Some sponsorship opportunities will be purchased programmatically and priced dynamically. Teams and right holders will capitalize on games with the highest viewership – or even individual plays within a game – knowing that they can prove the ROI to sponsors. Would Coca-Cola pay more to be seen on camera during the final moments of a decisive Game 7 in the playoffs?
Someone will own the market
Many companies currently offer sponsorship measurement tools to brands and teams, utilizing a variety of technologies. GumGum sports has created an analytics dashboard where brands can see the media value each day, measuring social, streaming, broadcast and digital reach. Elevant has created a similar platform with its own measurement algorithms. Signs indicate that “Google Analytics for Sponsorship” is coming. The question is whether one platform will own the market before leagues, teams or big tech companies can develop their own measurement tools.
Data leads to innovation
As sponsorship tracking improves and brands are able to gather accurate viewership and demographic data, how will they utilize this data to create more targeted, relevant and engaging content? And how will teams and rights holders use the data to develop more innovative sponsorship opportunities? The opportunities are there for the taking.