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The Problem with Sports Sponsorship

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Peter Abraham wrote this piece recently about one of my favorite Professional Cycling Teams, Cannondale Pro Cycling. I worked with this team personally from the start (2007-2015) when they were a development squad called TIAA-CREF. They've come a hell of a long way. Their leader is a smart, innovative man and most of all, a survivor. Lots of respect for JV. I have watched as he has had to do what he had to do to keep his program alive, which included merging with other teams over the years and brining on a committed partner who helped back the team when financials got tough. However, reading Mr. Abraham's Linked-In article reinforced what we, as sports sponsorship professionals here at HIG, have known for quite some time...and that is....brands need more than just licensing rights. In this day in age, 'branding' (or as the article refers to as impressions), is simply an appetizer benefit for sports sponsors. They need the meat, or the full meal for you uncarnivorous folks. And for the top partners, the wine and desert. For the brand who has an experienced sponsorship staff and more importantly, an activation budget, this might mean leveraging the storyline of the sponsored entity and letting them simply produce performance results and engaged fans. But in my experience, those sorts of sponsors are rare. Instead, sports figures/teams need to take the bull by the horns and craft a real ROI. Of course, the real question is....how do they do that while focusing on their reason for being (aka to perform, to win, to thrill fans and consumers with their extraordinary athletic skills)? This is where the in-house team sponsorship guru must deliver.

Our solution is coming soon.

Enjoy this well written article here