In Sport Sponsorship

At RTR we deal only with sponsorships so we could be accused of being, if we stay in sports, supporters of sponsorship…and this is a necessary premise. We will, therefore, try to give you only the facts, bare and raw so that you can form your own personal opinion.

Sponsorship is not always the best choice, sometimes advertising can be the best tool. When? When the Brand is not known. In the launch phase, sponsorship can be a valid tool to quickly increase brand awareness, but product and service must be simultaneously described and positioned…so this is the right time for advertising.

Food for thought: Intrusion vs. Inclusion

  • Advertising intrudes and forces itself; sponsorship takes you within the event you have chosen to follow.
  • Advertising can be annoying (because it interrupts what you have chosen to watch), while sponsorship is appreciated because it does not interrupt; rather it is part of the show.
  • Advertising gives some product info, positioning it, reinforces the brand identity and pushes the purchase. Sponsorship shows the brand, it focuses on emotion, on creating an emotional bond between Brand and spectators.
  • Advertising gives a certain return of visibility, proportional to the paid media. Sports sponsorship can, in case of excellent results, give very high and surprising ROI (e.g. victory of the world championship, Champions League…. and subsequent extra earned visibility).
  • Advertising must be adapted to the local culture of the territories in which it is transmitted.

Sport, and therefore sponsorship, transcends cultural, linguistic, religious and national barriers. The same rules for everyone, all over the world.

Moreover, using international advertising is complex and expensive. We need to plan the media in a number of countries, adapt the message, and coordinate everything. Sponsorship of international activities can, in little time, increase the global awareness of the brand, simplifying the company life.

Some disciplines and tournaments are broadcast in over 200 countries around the world. In this way, it is possible to avoid allocation of the budget in countless streams

  • Advertising has a credibility problem, the consumer knows that the company has produced a commercial and is paying to transmit it; he expects a positive message…
  • Sponsorship is much more subtle, the brand is linked to the target’s favorite activity, passion is the activity’s catalyst and over time the brand becomes a “friend” of the target, no products are put forward…but those of a certain brand is linked to pleasant moments. The moment in which consumers express their passion for something.

In Conclusion

I could go on and list many other points but I think you have already got a clear idea, so I come round to my old self, a fan of the sponsorship, and I give you today’s last point. It comes from a book: Buyology. Truth and lies about why we buy by Martin Lindstrom (2010).

“By the age of 66, most of us will have seen about 2 million TV commercials. It’s like watching 8 hours of advertising, 7 days a week, for 6 consecutive years.  In 1965 consumers recalled almost 34% of those commercials; in 1990, the percentage plunged at 8%. According to 2007 AC Nielsen research, a consumer could recall an average of only 2.21 commercials among those seen in their entire life”

  1. The sporting element can help the company to differentiate itself and to be listened to…The company will be able to communicate in pull and not in push, It will be looked at instead that having to fight for a little attention
  2. The combination of a brand and a sporting subject creates an emotional link between the brand and spectator and can become the element of differentiation between fungible products.

If you would like to talk about sponsorship you can always reach us at


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Riccardo Tafà
Riccardo Tafà
Managing Director for RTR Sports, Riccardo graduated in law at the University of Bologna. He began his career in London in PR, then started working in two and four-wheelers. A brief move to Monaco followed before returning to Italy. There he founded RTR, first a consulting firm and then a sports marketing company which, eventually, he moved back to London.
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