In Marketing Sportivo, MotoGP, MotoGP, Sponsorizzazioni Sportive, Sport Sponsorship, Sports Marketing

Kicking off a MotoGP sponsorship program for your business takes time and a clear set of goals and priorities. While all major sport sponsorship programs may start from the very same foundation, the principles being the same for every discipline, it’s very different to build a program in motor racing and, let’s say, sailing or tennis. Not just because every sport has their own assets and nuances, but also because the schedules, the procedures and the active activation opportunities differ.

Today we’ll have a quick look at how to build a MotoGP Sponsorship Program for your business. 

We will break down the whole process in 15 steps. Each and every one of those actions would need of course another good amount of elaboration, but for the minute let us stick with the bigger picture. 

Before we dive headfirst, a word of caution: the following steps are meant for those companies wishing to fly solo without the help of a professional sports marketing company. We cannot stress enough how important the role of an agency is, especially for those firms dipping their toe in the water for the first time. However, while we are biased, we also understand there’s a number of people who prefer a more direct, DIY approach. Hopefully the following paragraphs will make it easier for them to understand how to enter a rather complex (not rocket science, not a piece of cake either) scenario. 

Here are the 15 steps you need to take in order to build your MotoGP sponsorship program

  1. Needs and Vision
  2. Budgeting
  3. Sport VS the World
  4. Commitment and planning
  5. Scouting the different sport properties
  6. Short Listing
  7. Proposals reviewing
  8. Fine tuning 
  9. Decision Making
  10. Contract definition
  11. Drafting of a sponsorship plan
  12. Roles and staff definition 
  13. Media planning
  14. Sponsorship Kickoff
  15. Analysis and Reporting  

Needs and Vision

If there’s one thing we have learnt in our 25-year experience as a motorsport sponsorship agency, is that this is the most important item on the list. A clear understanding of your company’s goals – both on the marketing and sales front- of where you are as a business, of your timings and of your vision as a brand are paramount for every sponsorship program.

Budgeting

Contrary to what some marketing officers seem to think, no, the budget is not there if management likes the project. Having a clear idea of how much money is available for the whole operation is crucial, as different properties have different price tags and different levels of sponsorship have different prices. Also, keep in mind that you’ll also need coin for the activation, the additional staff and the logistics where needed.

Sport VS the World

Sports marketing is not the only marketing. Make sure you and your team know very well why and how sports can be beneficial for your company. We are not saying to take a sports marketing college course, but to look around at the best practices and that extra bit of theory that might help you understand the lingo, the procedures and the processes.

Commitment and planning

To be effective, a good sponsorship program needs time and staff. Make sure you have your deadlines and key moments nice and clear and make plans accordingly. Also, engage with your staff and your team and work so that everyone is on the same page. When sports marketing projects are shared, enjoyed and appreciated by everyone inside the company, they become a fantastic ride for everyone.

Scouting the different sport properties

Different teams have different legacies, values and heritage. The same goes for riders, classes, circuits, events, and every kind of sports property. Understanding what’s the best fit for your brand is hard work. The name of the game here is to create the best possible combination to engage with your target market, product line, identity and presence. Your ego, and your gut feeling, should definitely sit this one out.

Short Listing

Once you have scouted the field, you should have a short list of possible names you’d like to talk to and work with. Ideally, that list should have 3-5 names in it: not too many, not too few. It’s time to get in touch with the key people inside the sport properties and ask them to send you a partnership proposal. 

Proposal reviewing

Not all sponsorship proposals are created equal. Pay close attention to what’s in every package and remember the devil is in the detail: how many social posts, how many paddock passes for your guests, how many riders’appearances, how many press releases and what kind of B2B support are just a few of your usual suspects.

Fine Tuning

Do ask for add-ons or edits to what you see on the proposal. If there’s something in the document you not need, get rid of that and streamline the marketing rights as much as you need to fit your objectives and identity. Your aim is to have something that’s as tailor-made as possible and that suits your business.

Decision Making

Time to make a decision and take a step forward. Once you and your team are happy with what you see, ask the property for a proper contract and, congrats, you are in business. Chances are that, before the formal document you’ll be asked to sign a pre-contract: it’s good for both parts so go ahead and don’t overthink it too much. Quick tip: it’s an important moment in your brand’s history and one that will go down in your books. Remember to celebrate.

Contract definition

The formal and official sponsorship contract will feature all the benefits, conditions and agreements of the sponsorship deals. It must be immaculate both on the formal and the substantial front. We recommend you ask a lawyer or your legal department to carefully review the document and, again, make the needed amendments. As always, don’t just trust the digital versions and demand for paper copies to be sent to your offices.

Drafting of a sponsorship plan

Time to get creative. A sponsorship plan is the overall system of actions that must be put in place for the sponsorship to generate the maximum value. There are several opportunities to do this, in the form of a calendar or a GANTT chart. The point here is to put on paper all the activations, events, races, promotions and so on in order to have everything at the ready when the lights go green.

Roles and staff definition 

You will need bodies and minds, even if the sport properties will offer some support from their side. However, the more activations you have in mind, the more people you’ll need around to manage the several areas of you program. Make sure your team is up to speed, well informed and properly introduced to the key people. Remember: a good MotoGP sponsorship (every good sponsorship, to be honest) is not something you can set and forget. Rather, you’ll have to perform daily maintenance and work, but do not worry: it’ll be worth it

Media planning

When a tree falls in the woods and there is no one there to hear it, does it make a sound? MotoGP is one of the world’s most popular sports, the resonance and coverage of the discipline being worldwide and super broad. It’s time to take advantage of the hundreds of media outlets and make a solid media planning to tell the world what you and your team are doing. Press releases, photo-ops, PR, press conferences and so on are your best friends. Stay in touch with the media and keep them informed on your actions: you’ll have plenty of resonance. 

Sponsorship Kickoff

Is everything set? Are the staff ready? Have you planned your media, changed the graphics on your website and checked the calendar (like, don’t announce your partnership on Christmas Eve or on the day of the Champions League final)? Great, let’s do this. Try and launch your sponsorship in a robust, organic way and make it a proper milestone for your brand. Simply put: make it unforgettable, make it remarkable, make it consistent, make it powerful.

Analysis and Reporting

Once you have hit the ground running, you can finally sit back and relax, right? Wrong! No rest for the weary. Continuous analysis, reporting and fine tuning are key in every sponsorship program. Keep an eye on the data and ask the sport property for visibility reports and have your team run ROI measurements. The good news is that in this day and age there’s a ton of data available on everything and countless technological devices and softwares to help you in your reporting. 

Final Words

This, of course, is but the surface of things. There’s so much more to MotoGP sponsorship, from the endless data and expertise that it’s needed to make a decision to the rich phonebooks of contacts you’ll need to get in touch with the right man at the right time. In a closed paddock there’s just so much room for mistakes.

It doesn’t mean -again- that MotoGP sponsorship is super complicated: this is no rocket science and there’s absolutely no hurdle that cannot be left behind with hard work, dedication or perseverance. Still, it’s a tricky business, and one that requires some finesse in the negotiation and a clear view of the playfield. Should you or your business need help from a professional sponsorship consultancy firm, do not hesitate to get in touch.

Emanuele Venturoli
Communication Manager for RTR Sports Marketing. A degree in Communication at the University of Bologna and a passion for sport brought me where I'm today.
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