Take Your NTR Across the Finish Line
Sports Marketing Can Benefit Your Clients and Your Station


  • Sports marketing can be a great promotional vehicle for your clients. It’s not restricted to corporate giants, either; companies of any size can participate in sports marketing.
  • Sponsorship spending figures for 1999 are an estimated $7.6 billion, a 12 percent increase over 1998. Two thirds of that total are attributable to sports sponsorships.
  • Sports sponsorships used to be simple exchanges of money for event tickets or banner exposure. Now, they have evolved into multifaceted cross-media marketing vehicles that include everything from media exposure to promotional partnerships.
  • A key starting point is to understand your client’s specific marketing objectives. You can ascertain these objectives by conducting a needs analysis interview with the prospect before developing a sponsorship package.

Take Your NTR Across the Finish Line
Sports Marketing Can Benefit Your Clients and Your Station
Editor’s note: This issue of Radio Sales Today is based on an article by Andrea Graham of info-now.com.

Nowadays, companies have to get creative to achieve name recognition. Advertising on the Radio can help a lot, but greater opportunities for branding occur when you supplement your clients’ ad schedule with promotional sponsorships.

Sports touches the lives of more people than any other promotional vehicle. Sporting events have become a prime entertainment phenomenon worldwide; as a result, corporate sponsorship of those events is exploding. Sports tie-ins, endorsements, ads, and other promotional tactics have become the centerpiece of many corporate marketing strategies.

When many people think of sports marketing sponsors, they often think of corporate giants such as Coca-Cola or ATA&T. However, your client’s company doesn’t have to be a large multinational to benefit from sports marketing. The smaller companies on your prospect list may well find it advantageous to tie in with such local events as road races, marathons, local sports teams, and community and youth leagues. Moreover, if your station takes an active part in building a roster of sponsors for local events, you will benefit from the exposure as well as the advertising revenue you’ll derive.

Some Key Statistics
The International Events Group (IEG) estimated 1999 sponsorship spending in North America (both sports and nonsports) at $7.6 billion, a 12 percent increase over the 1998 figure of $6.8 billion. Sports-related sponsorships account for two thirds of that figure, for a total monetary share of $5.1 billion.

The Changing Face of Sports Sponsorships
Sylvia Allen, author of How to Be Successful at Sponsorship Sales (to be officially released at RAB2000 in Denver next month), remarks, "Traditional sponsorship has been around for a long time. However, it has changed over the years. In the ’60s and ’70s, sponsorship was a linear relationship wherein a corporation gladly gave money in return for tickets to a performance, or for banner exposure. The sponsors handed the money to the sport or event, got their benefits, and were happy. That’s no longer true.

"Today’s sponsors are more sophisticated and recognize that sponsorship is just another component of their marketing mix. As a result, sponsorships must have a variety of components such as media, cross-marketing opportunities, promotions, partnership recommendations, and event extensions to get the greatest return on investment." With experience, your station can be the sponsor’s point of contact for all of these components of the sponsorship.

Sports crosses over virtually every lifestyle category; no matter what your client’s target audience, there is a sporting event for them.

Launching the Campaign
Once you’ve decided what form your client’s sports promotion will take, consider the following points to help get it underway:

  • Understand thoroughly the specific marketing objectives of your client’s company (you should have uncovered these during a fact-finding or needs analysis session with the prospect).
  • Identify your client’s target audience. Different sports attract different demographic and interest groups. A classical music station or a luxury car dealership might want to think twice before setting up a sponsorship deal with a monster-truck rally, for example.

  • Integrate as many elements as possible into the client’s program. The best results (and the healthiest revenue!) come from promotions with a variety of elements that build on each other. For example, you could sell your clients on a package that includes a consumer contest, awarding prizes such as box seats for a few games or even season tickets. To publicize the campaign, of course they’ll want a hefty schedule of commercials and promotional mentions on your station — which you’ll be all too happy to sell them.

The basic principles of sports event marketing are the same whether the event is large or small. Sales professionals with the savvy and ambition to master sports marketing will provide their stations — and their paychecks — with a new stream of non-traditional revenue.

For more info about event marketing, contact RAB’s NTR/Co-op Department at (800) 232-3131, ext. 6786..