Who Takes the Most Cash From Sponsorship?

What is the richest game in town? Who takes in the most cash from sponsorship?

Recently on the Jungle Jim Hunter Radio Show where the Partnership Group – Sponsorship Specialists™ presents the “Business of Sport” each Saturday morning, Chris Reed, a senior consultant from the Partnership Group – Sponsorship Specialists™ team, spoke with Jungle Jim on this topic. (This can be heard with all other radio interviews on our blog site.)

I guess I will give the answer away. With the recent finale of the Euro-Cup two weeks ago, you guessed it—soccer… or as they say across the pond—football. In fact in 2011, soccer generated over $2.7 billion in sponsorship revenue. That doubles what the Olympics yield! Soccer is truly the number one sport in the world by viewership, revenue, and participation. Last year, the Olympics generated $1.3 billion and the NFL “just” $1.1 billion. These were followed by Formula One and NASCAR, each at $590 million; golf at $335 million; and basketball at $265 million. It’s interesting that our beloved hockey did not even make the top 10!

And who are the players doling out this cash? The telecommunication companies continue to be major players worldwide. Last year, telecoms spent over $1.29 billion versus sport clothing companies at $1.23 billion. Here in Canada, we watch the rivals play at the same sort of investment levels. From the Bell Centre in Montreal to the Rogers Centre in Toronto; the Shaw Convention Centre in Edmonton to the Rogers Place in Vancouver; and the TELUS World of Sciences in Vancouver, Edmonton, and Calgary, telecoms invest heavy in sponsorship. The financial institutions are also leaders with such investments as BMO and the Vancouver White Caps and Toronto FC; Scotiabank Centre and Place in Ottawa and Calgary; TD Jazz festivals; and the CIBC Run for the Cure. It is big money, and to play in the game, companies must do more than merely place their logos on buildings. It is all about activation.

The successful businesses activate their sponsorships. They know they must spend beyond their naming rights to see real ROI or ROO on their investments. They need to buy media or integrate the property logos or cultures into their own branding. They need to engage their employees. They need to do more than “hang a banner.” Failure to activate is like throwing your money away. Too often, I hear companies (large and small) complain at the end of their sponsorships that “it didn’t work for us.” In my mind, their inexperience and poor planning, which resulted in little to no activation, is the result of their failure, not the investment itself. Like a marriage, the investment is not just in the paper or sign, but in the ongoing effort and investment to make the partnership work.

These are just one person’s thoughts. Yours are welcomed as well. Please add your thoughts or comments below. Thank you for reading and your feedback.

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