The era of digital sponsorship – TRT Spor

I think we have come to the end of the global epidemic, but it is necessary to assess the effects of the pandemic process, which has brought new concepts to the sports industry for more than 2 years, in all areas of the sports industry from different points of view. From sports law to the content of sports organizations, from sports media to digital sponsorship processes, this is our topic today.


Are traditional sports sponsorships a thing of the past?

I am personally optimistic about the future of sponsorship and investment in sport, I believe it will not only return to previous levels, but also in a more efficient, digital and data-driven way. I think the question that needs to be asked is how to plan the new global sports industry sponsorship architecture.


The beginning of the digital sponsorship revolution and the digitization of sports management

The digital transformation of the sponsorship industry had begun long before the pandemic. The digital sports sponsorship market in 2014 already had digital competitors trying to do the same, digitizing the sponsorship industry. But the market was not ready. I still vividly remember that the sponsorship manager of a third division German football club laughed at us at a conference where the issue of digitalization in sports management was discussed when I was at the Ajax academy in the Netherlands in 2012. He told us that no professional sports organization will use digital sponsorship tools and they won’t need additional sponsors anyway . The year is 2022 and it’s hard not to see that you’re wrong. Fast forward to 2022 and the digitalization of the sponsorship industry continues in full. Currently, companies investing in the latest trending sports technologies are showing that they are ahead of digital sponsorship.


How technology is transforming sports sponsorship

Technology has transformed the sports industry in recent years. Assistive technologies such as the video assistant referee (VAR) in football or the Hawk-Eye system in tennis have changed the rules of the game. In addition, new distribution channels and formats have had a significant impact on how live sports are consumed by fans.

Social media has allowed brands to dramatically increase their reach and make their image more global. New applications such as virtual reality (VR) or augmented reality (AR), holograms or exclusive online content such as Formula One’s Virtual Paddock Club are entering people’s daily lives and the business world sports organizations.

These developments offer significant opportunities for sports sponsorship. First, new digital advertising rights can be used in addition to existing physical rights. A partnership with Amazon Web Services (AWS) and the National Football League (NFL) immediately comes to mind. This sponsorship not only created additional marketable rights, but is fully aligned with AWS digital brand values ​​and enhances the fan experience by providing additional sports insights. A clear win-win for all parties involved…

Second, digitization also increases the reach of traditional sponsorship by replicating the same content across multiple channels. Third, digitization allows sponsorship managers to make better decisions based on measurable data. The importance of this cannot be overstated. Sponsorship competes with other forms of marketing, and always has. While many have long included complex audiences and access to data in their offerings, even a reliable measure of projected sponsorship reach has long been difficult to obtain. Finally, the sponsorship management process is also becoming increasingly digital. This significantly reduces transaction costs and allows brands and rights holders to focus their time on activating sponsorships rather than administration. Admittedly, sponsorship remains a human activity and we doubt that will change. The human intuition behind sponsorship decisions cannot be completely replaced by algorithms or any other artificial intelligence. However, the process of identifying possible opportunities for a shortlist of partnerships, the contact process and all the administrative work after signing an agreement can be almost entirely digitized.


Summary of the summary: We will see digital sponsorship processes in all branches of sport. The expectations of companies investing in sport are no longer the same as before and the mutual gains seem to be on different platforms. We will wait and see.

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