A Company’s Sponsorship Budget Should be “a” Factor Not “the” Factor When Choosing a Property
Feb 26, 2010
Among the numerous considerations a corporate sponsor must wade through to determine which properties to sponsor, cost is usually at the top of the list. Unfortunately, focusing too much on cost can sometimes lead a sponsor down the wrong path or create unnecessary boundaries, ruling out properties that might otherwise be appropriate.
More often a sponsor’s budget restrictions will rule out a corporate sponsorship that would seem to be priced above its budget threshold, but the opposite may be true, a sponsor may also rule out a sponsorship that is priced below what it has available to spend.
I do think budget guidelines can help guide a sponsor in its decision making process, especially when faced with what might seem to be an insurmountable number of choices, but first, all avenues need to be explored or at least considered. It needs to be stressed that budget considerations are “a” decision making factor, not “the” decision making factor.
It is true that prestigious, broad-reaching and generally longer-term properties such as professional and colligate sports, some national causes and large entertainment or arts properties have some of the highest sponsorship rights fees, often in the millions of dollars annually, and when activation costs are included, overall sponsor spending can be in the tens of millions of dollars or above.
On the other end of the spectrum are all types of local, niche or shorter-term properties such as local festivals and events, grassroots causes, niche associations and small arts properties. Here, sponsorship rights fees can start below ten thousand dollars.
However, the majority of properties fall somewhere in the middle of the range. To further complicate matters, even properties on the high-end and low-end of the range typically offer corporate sponsorship opportunities at several price points.
Is a short-term, lower-level sponsorship of a major property better than a higher-level, year-round sponsorship of a small property? Surprise, surprise, it all comes back to a sponsor’s objectives. Let’s look at two possible avenues for a sponsor with a low to mid-six-figure budget.
A shorter-term, lower-level sponsorship of a high profile property may coincide with a sponsor’s high sale season, provide a sponsor with desired broad visibility and a broad audience and allow a sponsor to bask in the halo of a highly prestigious property. Or perhaps the draw is the VIP hospitality opportunities, access to decision makers or influential cosponsors that a major property can offer. Although, the property provided assets may be limited, hopefully the benefits are the right assets and the platform provided is ripe with activation opportunities. As a small sponsor, the key is not to get lost in the shuffle. Find something to own and activate the heck out of it. Just because a property is high profile doesn’t mean there aren’t opportunities for smaller corporate sponsors.
A longer-term, higher-level sponsorship of a smaller, niche or more local property can extend a sponsor’s promotional time frame to maximize the investment in a property; it can provide a sponsor with a highly targeted and sometimes more loyal audience; a sponsor is less likely to get lost in a sea of sponsors; and the sponsorship typically will provide a full-suite of benefits and in some cases built-in activation opportunities. It can also offer a community focused platform. Additionally, although not always true, a sponsor can more clearly demonstrate how its involvement benefits a property. Basically, a sponsor gets to be the big fish in a little pond.
So, in summary, don’t let preconceived ideas about the cost of a property unduly influence sponsorship decision making. Remember it all comes down to value and the individual needs of a sponsor.
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