One of the questions we receive is why is sports sponsorship event management so unique? When you compare managing sports or entertainment sponsorship events to managing general events and conferences, the differences become clear.
Sports sponsorship events start with sponsorship assets. Unlike typical business events, most sports sponsorship events are designed to activate and leverage a Sponsor’s investment in a sponsorship relationship. The event provides or enhances the value of a sponsorship asset, whether that asset is a set of tickets or the right to create and hold a special event associated with the property or one of its games or races. If you manage the event but forget about the assets and investment associated with the event, you will miss an important part of the management and assessment process.
Sports sponsorship events often include other sponsorship assets that require activation. In addition to the ticket assets associated with an event, the Sponsor often receives rights to other in-venue or general assets that need to be activated for the event. Overlooking or failing to optimize the activation of these assets can substantially reduce the return the Sponsor receives on the event and any related assets. For more on this, read The Importance of Linking Sports Sponsorship Assets & Events.
The fully-loaded costs of sports sponsorship events are critical to any assessment. The aggregate cost of virtually any sports sponsorship event involves two components: 1) the cost of the sponsorship rights associated with the event and 2) the cost of activating the event. Tracking or assessing one without tracking and assessing the other—and linking both together—will fail to show the total cost or the total return on investment. We are constantly amazed at the number of Sponsors and agencies that fail to capture and combine both components in their sponsorship analytics.
Visibility and expectations are especially high. Sports sponsorship events are typically high visibility events involving the Sponsor’s best customers and vendor relationships. Expectations are high, both for the Sponsor and its guests. Simply put, you don’t have the same expectations at a business conference that you have at a leading sporting event. As a guest, you are being invited because you are special, and you expect to have an exceptional experience. For some good tips on event risk mitigation, read Ten Risks to Avoid in Managing Your Sports Sponsorship Events.
The quality of the guest experience carries elevated leverage—both positive and negative. Three factors drive this leverage: 1) the reality (noted above) that the total cost of the event includes both the cost of event activation and the cost of the related sponsorship assets; 2) the likelihood that event guests will include key customers or other business relationships that can affect the Sponsor’s sales; and 3) the increasing impact of social media, where event guests can quickly post their experiences, whether positive or negative.
Analytics need to go beyond the event to the value of the overall sponsorship relationship. General business events are often assessed on a per event basis. Because they are an integral part of the Sponsor’s relationship with a property, and that property is only one part of the Sponsor’s entire sponsorship portfolio, sports sponsorship events deserve deeper and more comprehensive analysis across multiple events and properties to assess their relative value to the Sponsor’s overall sponsorship investment.
Managing sports sponsorship events is hectic and difficult. For many Sponsors, the sponsorship event management cycle is an ongoing campaign, week after week, with multiple sports, properties, events and guests. Event support staff are often on an endless treadmill of repetitive tasks and travel, with little or no time to consider new tools or solutions and execution risk mitigation frequently being the primary goal. As a result, spreadsheets and one-off apps are used to manage millions of dollars of sponsorship investments. Agencies are often caught in the middle, having to deal with the special formats and approaches expected by particular clients and collaborate with multiple properties who may seem more interested in sales and trademark protection than in robust fulfillment.
Why do these seven factors matter? Because the staff capabilities and tools necessary to plan, manage, assess and optimize the value of sports and entertainment sponsorship events are also unique.
Traditional event management tools do a fine job of managing general business events or individual event management activities such as check-ins or surveys. But these resources often come up short when the special needs of sports and entertainment events are considered. We built Sponsor Locker from the ground up to help Sponsors and their agencies manage their sports and entertainment sponsorships and the related contracts, assets and events, using best practices and workflows that reflect the special needs of those sponsorship relationships. By integrating everything into a single database - while still allowing individual applications and features to be implemented and used separately if desired - Sponsor Locker helps Sponsors see what they have and where they stand, improving collaboration, decision-making, activation and guest experiences across their entire sponsorship portfolio.