In Sport Sponsorship

Sports sponsorship activation – the basics

Signing a sport sponsorship contract with a team, a club, an athlete or an event is just the first step in a much more complex and rounded program. Yes, because brand exposure by itself cannot work effectively and you must try in every possible way to exploit the sponsorship and decline it to its fullest: it’s what we called a sports sponsorship activation or sponsor activation.

You need to start thinking about how you’re going to activate it,  – that means, how you’re going to deploy it so to ensure you will reach and connect with your target in the most effective way and then be remembered. After all, you might have signed a fantastic team sponsorship or be part of a major sport event but , if you do not communicate it, it won’t simply get the recognition it deserves. And unfortunately, with so much social media and messages in everyday life, we cannot expect to be noticed so easily. That’s why you have to energise your sponsorship: the sport sponsorship activations includes all the means one company/brand can use to maximise the exposure of the sponsorship program; promotions, in store activities, hospitalities, special events to engage fans, licensing, show cases, PR activities and so on. All of them can be clearly used both for B2C and B2B (consumers and business).

So, what are the first things to be aware of when it comes to sports sponsorship activation?  

Defining your objectives, they must be clear: whether it is direct sales, or more clicks, or brand awareness, or any other thing, you need to know what your objectives are before you activate any campaign, whatever scale or size it is. Once you’ve done this you need to make a very detailed and effective plan, that will ensure that your sponsorship will have the maximum impact in terms of both marketing and commercial objectives – whatever they happen to be.

sports sponsorship activation

Ask for Answers

Ensure that you have all the rights and permissions from the party you’re investing in before you begin any campaign or promotional activities; this is vitally important in order to avoid any unfortunate event. Consider the following basic questions before any sport marketing activations take place:

  • Do you have the owner’s approval to use the team/athletes images for any promotional activities both off line and on line?
  • Will your agencies be allowed to run activities or organize an event that involve the team/athlete?
  • Will the team or location be available at the time you’d like to have them, and will they be willing to participate?
  • Can you use their merchandise?
  • Will you be able to have guests at the event, location or tournament, and if so how many people you can host?

Once you’ve answered these and even more questions, it’s important to consider how many platforms and tools you can use to boost your sports sponsorship campaign, and how each of them might play an important role into the activation process.

Somethings you’ll surely like to consider include:

  • Regular press releases at key points in the campaign sent to relevant parties.
  • Social media promotion targeted to the demographic you want to reach
  • Pay Per Click (PPC), which can significantly aid the amount and relevance of the people reaching your campaign
  • Further PR activities and opportunities for press coverage
  • User generated content

These strategies can boost your reach, and therefore the success of your campaign. Other questions you might have could be: is this platform the right one for the people I want to target? How often do they use it, and for how long? Can I target specific people? Is this tool, process or platform going to offer tangible results?

If all this seems complicated, it doesn’t need to be – a sports marketing agency is here to support you in the sponsorship activation process, so it’s important to use its expertise if you want to create and run a top sports sponsorship campaign. Sport activations might be just a part of your whole marketing campaign, but it’s an important one and you have to be sure to achieve the most out of the sponsorship program you are investing in. You need to think strategically and then tactically, with all of the above aspects in mind.

If you’d like to talk more about sports sponsorship activation, or you’d like to go through some sponsorship activation examples in sports , our team at can help you.

RTR Sports Marketing

Since 1995 RTR sports is a leading agency in sports marketing, with a core business in MotoGP, Formula E (Read more about Formula E Sponsorship Agency), MotoE and F1 Sponsorship.
Get in touch today for an informal chat and to find out more about how sports can help your business grow.

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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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