Basketball is a sport played and watched by millions around the world. Professional basketball players today such as LeBron James, Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant are recognized as celebrities across the globe. Their stardom is in part due to their particular skill set and the league in which they play in. However the real fame and fortune comes from endorsements and sponsorships. In 2017, for the first time in league history the National Basketball Association (NBA) ruled in favour of allowing teams to seek sponsors for their uniforms. While the move was shocking to some in North America, in the world of professional sports, sponsorships are a highly established practice.
By now we have all seen the logos on the jerseys, the banners, and even on the jumbotrons at the stadiums. Company names are tacked on everything from the tickets to the equipment used by players. So it’s a great deal for the players as they get a big chunk of money and some free stuff, pretty sweet right? But there’s also a great number of benefits and opportunities for the sponsors of these teams and events. Sponsorship is basically a marketing investment which gives businesses positive exposure. As a marketing strategy this can in turn lead to increased sales, heightened brand awareness and customer loyalty. This type of campaign should not be limited to only the big corporations, local shops and small budget businesses can also benefit from sponsoring semi-pro, college, and amateur sporting events.
Local teams often need help with covering the costs of: expensive equipment, uniforms, and other expenses necessary to operate as an organization. As a company, sponsoring a local team can be utilized as a marketing tool to increase presence in the community and improve rapport with its members as sponsorship not only creates substantial publicity, but is also a gesture of goodwill which speaks highly of a company’s values. There are countless opportunities for businesses to support local sports teams while also promoting the growth of their businesses. For example you can receive exposure by way of courtside banners, printed game schedules or ads placed next to scoreboards. Community initiatives such as these provide unique opportunities to get your business message out to your customers and prospects.
Although sponsorship is often associated with big corporations, smaller firms can also benefit from these practices. Seeking out to support local sports teams and events may not translate directly into dollars right off the bat, but it will reward your business in the long run through: increased brand awareness, customer loyalty and word of mouth. Since there are a number of different programs that businesses can get involved with, it is important to determine the objective of sponsoring an event or team. For example, if your goal is to increase brand awareness you may want to consider who your target audience is and approach organizations that have access to this audience. By seeking out organizations with different audiences than yours, you will be reaching a different demographic which may offer additional business opportunities for you. It is important that the organizations you team up with are all working towards the same objective to ensure a successful sponsorship campaign.