Sponsored By Gyms.co.nz
The Speights Coast to
Coast. The Flora London Marathon. The American Express World
Golf Championships. The Heineken Tennis Open. The ASB Womens
Classic. Sponsoring sports events has become common place nowadays
as large companies fight to gain increased exposure. Admittedly the
events listed above attract large, often global, companies with million
dollar marketing budgets. However, small businesses, such as local
fitness centres, can take advantage of sponsorship opportunities to
increase their profile and assist in attracting new leads for their club.
Normally a sponsorship arrangement is a financial or merchandise
contribution in exchange for naming rights or exposure at a given event.
However, before you sign your life away at the next local event in your
area there are a number of considerations to address.
Image. Does the event fit the image that you
are trying to portray in the community?
Audience. Who is going to attend the sporting event?
For example, if you are a women's fitness facility, then sponsoring a
local women's fun run may be a great way to make women aware of your
service and to attract new leads. Sponsoring a
mixed fun run where perhaps only 30 percent of entrants are female may
not? It is important that you consider the audience, competitors and
spectators alike, at your chosen event.
Lead Generation. It is crucial
that you negotiate the right to gain leads at your chosen event before you
sign any sponsorship arrangement. Again using the example of your
women's fun run, this should be used as a chance to offer trial days, or
perhaps membership 'deals' to attract qualified leads for your club.
Exposure. It is absolutely crucial
that your brand becomes associated with the event that you are sponsoring.
This may mean ensuring your logos is on T shirts sold / given away, on
race numbers, drink bottles or other such merchandise. Make sure you
are aware of exactly how much coverage you will receive before signing any
Naming rights. If you are the
major sponsor then it is crucial that any reference to the event utilises
your brand and that it is mentioned first. For example, the Adidas
NZ Track and Field Champs is far more memorable than the NZ Track and
Field Champs sponsored by Adidas.
Cost. This one is pretty obvious.
You need to ascertain the return on investment that you are gaining for
sponsoring your event. With sponsorship it can be difficult to
determine this as a large part of the benefit is increased brand exposure, perhaps
more than new memberships obtained. However, consider the number
of people at an event in your target market and the amount of exposure
your brand will receive. Look at cost involved and consider - is it
There are a huge number of local events out there now that require
sponsorship that will not cost you an arm and a leg but may gain you
valuable brand recognition. Talk to your local triathlon, rugby,
cycling, netball and other such clubs and find out what is on in your
hour fitness is a large fitness chain in the USA. In 2003 they
negotiated a sponsorship deal making them the official sponsor of the USA
Olympic Team until 2008.
Fitness First, a large worldwide club became the sponsor of Sport Relief
in the UK and gained a large amount of additional exposure for their
brand, not to mention the 'nice guy' tag for their association with this
However, do not despair. Creative Marketing is NOT solely for those
that have a huge marketing budget. Sure we see some fantastic and
innovative strategies that large companies adopt, but it is possible to
use low cost strategies to create exposure on a smaller (and more
Linford Christie wore a pair of Puma contact lenses for an interview back
in 1996... an innovative approach that gained a huge amount of publicity
for the financial investment it required!
Vodafone's logo was portrayed to thousands of rugby fans when they paid 2
streakers a paltry sum to run onto the field during a rugby international
(Note: this did however backfire on the company and damaged their
reputation when details got out!)
Closer to home, Les Mills ran a series of seminars for expectant mothers
on pregnancy, exercise and childcare last year that attracted a large
audience. Seminar costs were probably a small price to pay for the
numbers that attended.
The bottom line. Get creative. If you are bored of using the
same old marketing methods, imagine what your potential customers think of