In Formula1, Sport Sponsorship, Sports Marketing

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.

Football-sponsorshipSponsorship 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).

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.

Brands Sponsors Partners
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
Weichai 2,0 M
Hublot 2,0 M
Mahle 1,0 M
OMR 1,0 M
Singha 1,5 M 0,5 M
Rayban 2,0 M
Puma 1,0 M 0,5 M
Infor 1,0 M
Swisse 1,0 M
Experis 1,0 M
SKF 2,5 M
Magneti Marelli 2,5 M
NGK 0,5 M
Brembo 0,5 M
Riedel 0,3 M
Iveco 0,3 M
Bell 0,3 M
Oz 0,3 M
Honeywell 2,5 M
Technogym 0,2 M
Veuve Clicquot 0,1 M
Pirelli 2,5 M
Prize Money 204,5 M
TOTAL 216 M 257,5 M

Obviously, important costs are associated with impressive marketing benefits and extraordinary image returns. See here 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 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.

Can we help you sign your best sponsorship deal?

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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