As the recent partnership between Adidas and Real Madrid shows, sports sponsorship campaigns can be worth big money – sometimes into millions of pounds/dollars/euros.
Because of this, it’s difficult to say precisely how much a sports sponsorship campaign might be worth, or how much it might cost a brand. One place to start, though, is by comparing sports that are similar in prestige and audience. Football, F1, MotoGP and tennis all have global audiences, making it easier to compare the minimum entry costs that are needed to allow brands visibility in this space.
Sponsorship in football
Given the expanse of the subject, we’ll limit ourselves to a few examples here – starting with the jersey partnerships seen in the 2017-18 Premier League season (1). Of course, Premier League games pull in a huge audience – but it still might be a surprise to find that the space available on the right sleeve of the top teams costs approximately £100,000 per square centimeter. This should give you a good indication of the type of budget you’ll need if you want to stand out amongst the sponsors of this level of tournement (2).
|TEAM||MAIN SPONSOR||MAIN SPONSOR VALUE||LENGTH||SLEEVE SPONSOR||SLEEVE SPONSOR VALUE||LENGTH|
|Arsenal||Emirates||UK£200 million (US$257.6 million)||signed 2018, expires 2024||Rwanda Tourist Board||UK£30 million (US$38.6 million)||signed 2018, expires 2021|
|Bournemouth||M88||UK£8 million (US$10.2 million)||signed 2017, expires 2019||Mansion||ND||ND|
|Brighton||American Express||UK£1.5 million (US$1.9 million) per season||ND||JD||ND||ND|
|Burnley||LaBa360||UK£3 million (US$3.8 million) per season||ND||N/A||ND||ND|
|Cardiff||Visit Malaysia||UK£3 million (US$3.8 million) per season||ND||JD||ND||ND|
|Chelsea||Yokohama Rubber||UK£200 million (US$257.6 million)||signed 2015, expires 2020||Hyundai||UK£50 million (US$64.4 million)||signed 2018, expires 2024|
|Crystal Palace||ManBetX||UK£6.5 million (US$8.4 million) per season||ND||Dongqiudi||ND||ND|
|Everton||SportPesa||UK£48 million (US$61.8 million)||signed 2017, expires 2022||Rovio||ND||ND|
|Fulham||Dafabet||UK£6 million (US$7.6 million)||signed 2018, expires 2020||ICM||ND||ND|
|Huddersfield||Ope Sports||UK£1.5 million (US$1.9 million) per season||ND||Leisu Sports||ND||ND|
|Leicester||King Power||UK£4 million (US$5.1 million) per season||ND||Bia Saigon||ND||expires 2019|
|Manchester City||Etihad Airways||UK£400 million (US$652 million)||signed 2011, expires 2021||Nexen Tire||UK£10 million (US$12.9 million) per season||ND|
|Manchester United||General Motors||UK£371 million (US$559 million)||signed 2012, expires 2021||Kohler||UK£20 million||ND|
|Newcastle United||Fun88||UK£19.5 million (US$25.1 million)||signed 2017, expires 2020||N/A||ND||ND|
|Southampton||Virgin Media||UK£16 million (US$20.5 million)||signed 2016, expires 2019||Virgin Media||UK£2.4 million (US$3 million)||signed 2017, expires 2019|
|Tottenham||AIA||UK£175 million (US$225.4 million)||renewal signed in 2017, expires 2022||N/A||ND||ND|
|Watford||FxPro||UK£9 million (US$11.5 million)||signed 2017, expires 2020||MoPlay||ND||ND|
|West Ham||Betway||UK£40 million (US$52 million)||extension signed 2016, expires 2020||Bassett & Gold||ND||ND|
|Wolverhampton||W88||UK£15 million (US$19.2 million)||signed 2018, expires 2022||CoinDeal||ND||ND|
Of course, there are lower profile options that you could take, which would command less of a budget – billboards and LEDs on the sidelines, for example.
Sponsorship in Italian football: two examples
AS Roma, 2018
Qatar Airways’ kit sponsor campaign with AS Roma is worth €11 million per season. The team also works with Hyundai (€8.5 million) and Betway (€5 million) (3).
AC Milan, 2018
AC Milan’s main sponsor, Emirates, brings in around €17 million. Other sponsors include Banco BPM, Toyo Tires, Snai, Tim, Mediaset Premium, Diesel, Frecciarossa, Gi Group, Nivea and StarCasino. According to Sports Sponsorship Insider, these agreements are worth between €1 and €2 million each.
Added to this are nine official partners, each with an investment of between €500,000 and €1 million: Alpenwater, AON, Fujitsu, GKFX, Nilox, Konami, Radio 105, Ricoh and DXC Technology (4).
If you don’t want to appear on jerseys but do want to take advantage of all the marketing rights of an official partner, €100,000 is enough to access packages with second-tier teams in Serie A. This time of sports sponsorship package can offer site border advertising.
Sponsorship in F1
The investment that it takes to sponsor an F1 team is hugely varied – title sponsors may be worth hundreds of millions of euro, whilst low-end partners are often around €100,000 (5).
An example is Scuderia Ferrari’s sponsors and partners: almost €40 million has been invested by the tobacco giant Philip Morris, whilst champagne producer Veuve Clicquot has spent €100,000 on its sports sponsorship campaign.
|Philip Morris||37,5 M|
|Alfa Romeo||92,0 M||8,0 M|
|Santander||30,0 M||0,5 M|
|Shell||24,0 M||3,0 M|
|Kaspersky||2,0 M||20 M|
|UPS||20,0 M||3,0 M|
|Singha||1,5 M||0,5 M|
|Puma||1,0 M||0,5 M|
|Magneti Marelli||2,5 M|
|Veuve Clicquot||0,1 M|
|Prize Money||204,5 M|
|TOTAL||216 M||257,5 M|
|GRAND TOTAL||473,5 M|
Obviously, important costs are associated with impressive marketing benefits and extraordinary image returns. See here https://www.theedgemarkets.com/article/petronas-continues-reap-benefits-f1-participation the benefits obtained by Petronas from their £40 million per year title sponsorship of the Mercedes F1 team, for example.
£1 million is the minimum necessary, according to the Mail https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/formulaone/article-5518147/Lewis-Hamilton-wear-112m-worth-sponsors-new-F1-race-suit.html to place your brand on the tracksuit of the F1 2018 world champion Lewis Hamilton.
Sponsorship in MotoGP
As with other sports, sponsoring MotoGP has varying costs. The market is diversified, and there are small operations, starting from around €50,000, as well as title sponsorships that reach €15 million. There are no pre-established packages or prices, but here’s a rough guide to what you can buy with various amounts:
€50,000 – Partner
This is the entry level for some grid teams, buying marketing and communication rights that allow you to tell a great story effectively. Visibility, however, will be minimal – it may be expressed in small logos on transport, or on the backdrop to races.
€50,000 – €100,000 – Technical / official sponsor
With this amount, you can start to have your own brand on the bikes or overalls of riders in satellite teams or unofficial houses. Your logo is likely to also be present on their transport, website, and other communication tools. This visibility, although not very extensive, allows you some return in terms of image, and to build brand awareness on digital and traditional media.
€100,000 – €500,000 – Official Sponsor
This figure allows for large spaces on the satellite and unofficial teams, and the opportunity to start approaching first-rate, official teams for less prominent spaces. The possibilities of activation are multiplied, hospitality and B2B become relevant, and the chance to use the Showbike and have a pilot presence at company events is starting to appear in contracts. Although not in large numbers, very clear initial strategic decisions are required.
€500,000 – €2-3 million – Official sponsor of the first level
This level of investment allows you to deal with any team in the world, and will offer good visibility – you will have standout spaces on second-tier unofficial teams, and interesting positions on teams that constantly go to points. The strategy that you want to pursue is fundamental here, so it’s important to be aware that a larger space doesn’t always lead to greater marketing results. At this level, there is a wealth of communication rights, team support and B2B potential that you can utilize.