The title of this post may sound a bit provocative, but it is not. The motivations underlying the decision to sponsor a specific sport may be many: people making the decision may be fans of a discipline or an event and be willing to sponsor it no matter what – irrespective of value consistency or visibility. Equally, they may like the idea of still keeping one foot in a sport they used to practice.
If you are a sensible company and having positive returns is what you are looking for, then you should always check whether a sports event is in good health. There is a simple and truly infallible way to do it: check the recent sales data of the ticket office.
A sport that can offer spectacular performances and emotions is always sold out. Highly advertised disciplines, which also have a large TV audience, but do not sell tickets should be food for thought or, less diplomatically, a significant ringing alarm bell.
Only events that can appeal to the audience to such extent as to induce them to take a trip and survive inevitable queues and some parking difficulties can actually be motivating for crowds and pass the positive values of the discipline on to your brand, with impactful results on sales. Why? Because these events are magic. They are unique and the audience wants to live them in person. They are exciting and appealing. These are the events the audience is willing to take part in, happenings that make the audience happy, unique moments to be remembered and making the audience proud to say “I was there”, such as the World Cup Final, a boxing match with Mike Tyson, the F1 races in Monaco.
If the sport you are thinking about has lost its magic, does not fill up stands and terraces, and is better to watch on TV, well let me tell you that you are going in the wrong direction. Healthy sports are sports where the organizers can create competitiveness at all levels, the result is not for granted at all, and twists are quite common. Alternatively, they are sports in which men’s talent gives way to unprecedented performances as is the case with games between Federer, Nadal and Djokovic or the last laps that Rossi, Stoner, Lorenzo, Marquez, and Dovizioso have entertained us within the past few years, making us jump out of our sofas, quoting Guido Meda, a very popular Italian MotoGP presenter.
These are the kind of shows that can appeal to the audience and you can use to your own benefit. They are a very strong communication strategy in that they give visibility and they are memorable. Boring events or events with a foregone conclusion should be avoided like the plague.
So, do not forget to ask about the ticket office trends of the sports property you are about to buy: this is the best health indicator of the event/happening you are going to support.
Of course, this exercise should be done over a period of at least three to five years in order to understand the actual trends. One single year is not a proper indicator, as it may be affected by factors such as rainfalls, political elections, petrol station strikes and many more (I am mentioning these factors because I personally had the chance to experiment them over the years).
If you want to know more about sponsorship read What is a Sponsorship Activation.
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