Just like a long-lasting marriage, a successful property/sponsor relationship often boils down to one common denominator: communication.

From sharing information on new assets to offering real-time results, properties can add value by keeping sponsors updated on new developments on a consistent and transparent basis.

Below, three ways properties are keeping the lines of communication open.

Communication Mapping
The San Francisco 49ers create a “Concierge Calendar” each year to maximize sponsor communication and networking opportunities. 

The calendar contains two buckets: sponsor communication (monthly updates, mid-season recaps, end-of-season performance reports, etc.) and events (home games, away games, foundation events, etc.)

“We look at the calendar from top to bottom to determine where our touchpoints will be in terms of outreach communication and events,” said Brent Schoeb, San Francisco 49ers vice president of corporate partnerships.

The 49ers scout events that can be used for client hospitality as well as networking opportunities with team ownership and management. That ranges from VIP dinners in Levi’s Stadium to hospitality events at the U.S. Women’s Open Golf Championship at the CordeValle Golf Club in San Martin, Calif.  

“It’s about building relationships with our partners and giving facetime to our ownership group and executives. It makes our partners feel like part of the 49ers family.”

Real-time Reporting
Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment has replaced lengthy post-season recaps with real-time updates throughout the year.

The owner of the NBA Toronto Raptors, NHL Toronto Maple Leafs and other pro sports teams uses the updates to share results of on-site activation programs.

“By the time we did end-of-season reports we were headed into planning for the following season. There’s not much of a break between seasons, so we started real-time reporting,” said Patsy Coyle, MLSE director of global partnerships.

The updates include social media analytics, purchase information and other metrics tailored to the objectives of each activation program. MLSE provides the updates to sponsors who run large integrated activation programs; most conduct roughly three to four such programs each season.

MLSE continues to use post-season reports, but has replaced 200-page books with shorter documents that include attendance numbers, broadcast statistics, social media exposure and other information.

Other properties take a different approach to real-time reporting.

Brett Gorrell, Festivals Inc. vice president of marketing & sponsorship, goes out of his way to keep sponsors apprised of the status of their partnerships. That includes updates on move-ins and sharing suggestions on how to deal with inclement weather.

“Most sponsors are not onsite for the whole move in. I’ll take photos and send texts—It makes them feel better about how things are progressing.”

Partner Summits
While it may be a long-used practice, properties cannot deny the power of sponsor summits as a communication platform. 

In short, properties can use summits to accomplish the following:

  • Keep sponsors apprised of property news
  • Inform sponsors of added-value benefits
  • Share activation and measurement ideas
  • Open dialogue on sponsor cross-promotions
  • Facilitate property-to-property business opportunities
  • Immerse sponsors in property culture

Coyle points to MLSE’s sponsor summit as a key sponsor servicing platform. The company next month will host sponsors from across all of its properties (as well as prospects) at its annual summit at the Air Canada Centre.

MLSE uses the event to share best practices across sports, arts and culture (the company serves as the exclusive sales agency for Live Nation Canada). MLSE switches up the content each year with programming ranging from partner marketing awards to presentations by outside marketing experts (an expert on millennial marketing will serve as a keynote speaker at the 2016 summit). 

Best practices play a key role in the summit, both within and outside the MLSE organization.

“It’s not just about us. We take best practices from sports, arts and culture. We want to discuss who is doing it best.”