A few days ago I had a nice conversation with a prospect who was interested in investing in motorsports sponsorship, and the first question he asked me was, can you give me some ideas for starting a motorsports sponsorship program? Where to start? What should be evaluated? How do you make the right choice?
I was surprised and positively impressed by the questions, because in most cases the first thing of interest is always related to sponsorship costs and is always the most difficult to answer.
The world of motors offers many opportunities for companies that want to invest. But the choices are not obvious and there are many aspects to consider. One must first figure out which discipline is best suited for the company/brand, and then what kind of partnership to consider.
Different leagues, different opportunities. For any type of company or brand.
The first thing to consider is what discipline to invest in. Sponsorships in motorsports that in our opinion, as a sports marketing agency, are worth considering, start from the
, moving on from
, toExtreme E all the way to two-wheel motorsport with MotoGP at the forefront. All motorsport championships generally have a very similar target audience, passionate about engines, speed, technology and innovation, etc. The MotoGP is generally followed by a younger segment, especially on social media, but otherwise we can say that people who watch Formula 1 tend to watch other categories as well.
In terms of values associated with motorsport, we are again quite aligned on all the championships: as already mentioned, we have values to bind ourselves to such as internationality, technology, speed, adrenaline, innovation, research, teamwork, glamour, exclusivity, and then all the values related to sustainability as far as the electric championships are concerned. Motorsports is a traveling spectacle, touching various countries and continents around the world; knowing which territories are most interesting to invest in certainly gives us answers as to which championship to choose.
One must then try to understand what the company’s goals, target audience, values, territories and budget are in order to identify which area is most suitable.
B2B or B2C: another factor that can influence choices
The choice of which league to invest in can also change depending on your target audience and the audience you need to communicate with. If, for example, I have, as a company, the goal of doing B2B and perhaps doing great hospitality activities at an international level, probably Formula 1 is the best championship to be able to develop my program. But at the same time I can also evaluate the partnership with a MotoGP team with which I can develop ad hoc programs in a more streamlined way and adapt them according to my clients B2B. If brand awareness is not my primary goal then the idea should be to find the most flexible partner who will allow me to build a tailored program and offer me the services I need.
Championship or team: where is it best to invest?
Another important aspect to consider. Often companies that contact us think of sponsoring a team as their first and only option, but then in talking further we realize that it would probably be better to
sponsor a championship or a driver
It sounds trivial, but there are actually profound differences and different opportunities when considering sponsorship of an entire championship, or a single race or team or driver. Being a partner in a league allows you to bind and associate your brand with the “whole movement,” whether it is the MotoGP or the Formula E, you embrace the discipline, and as a result the communication you can build has different content; you speak to all the fans of that sport, without “wearing” anyone’s tunic. Within the various leagues there may then be different opportunities. For example, Formula E is raced on city circuits, thus ensuring that the city’s race-attending public can be engaged and entertained.
At the circuits, on the other hand, there are commercial areas where the public can go to buy products related to the championship, teams, drivers and partners. If the idea is to communicate the audience that follows motorsports and perhaps approach them directly and engage them, then the MotoGP commercial area offers excellent opportunities for promotion and sales. You can build real booths or entertainment areas and create all kinds of promotions according to your marketing and business goals.
Choosing to link up with a team has so many variables to consider: whether the
commodity sector is free
, reputation, what kind of other partners are present, track performance, credibility, and the project they offer. The team usually offers visibility on its vehicles and drivers and all the marketing benefits attached: possibility to use the team’s image and name for communication and promotion activities, social media content sharing, PR and hospitality activities, etc.
Are all the teams the same?
Clearly not. Sponsoring Ferrari or McLaren is different than sponsoring Aprilia in MotoGP. Investment depends a lot on the performance of the individual team, its fame and image, and the drivers who race there. Sometimes, however, it can also be a better idea to partner with “smaller” but more flexible “teams” than with a top-tier but somewhat “stiffer” team.
What about sponsoring a pilot?
Another idea to consider, again depending on the budget available and the goals of each individual prospect, is pilot sponsorship. It has happened to us very often to offer companies a partnership with a team and then decide to go and invest only in the driver. In fact, in most cases, in all motorsport championships, drivers have spaces that they manage directly and independently (usually these are spaces on the helmet or suit).
The sponsor then uses the driver as a real testimonial, exploiting his or her fame and image, personal characteristics and qualities, social media, and track record.
We had started by talking about 5 ideas for starting a sponsorship program in motorsports, but we have gone far beyond that.
This is normal, because when tackling a marketing plan that includes a sponsorship there are so many variables to evaluate and so many opportunities to consider in order to be sure to make the right choice and then make the most of it. That is why partnering with a sports marketing company is always the right thing to do; to have an overview of the market, evaluate every aspect and choose the program that is right for the individual brand.