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Sponsorship Spotlight – The rise in ‘one-off’ sponsorship deals in football

Sponsorship Spotlight
Tim Reynolds, Sun Bets

‘One-off’ sponsorship in football has been thrown into the spotlight this week, as Sun Bets prepare to sponsor the Sutton United shirt for the club’s FA Cup fifth round match against Arsenal on Monday, shown live on BBC One.

The UK-based bookmaker, powered by Australian gambling company Tabcorp, will also receive a ticket allocation, full access to the players until one hour before kick-off, on-site activation and stadium branding behind both goals at Gander Green Lane until the end of next season. SBC News caught up with Head of PR Tim Reynolds to discuss the deal.

SBC: Do you think this is a template for bookmakers to follow, by targeting ‘one-off’ sponsorships for high profile events?

TR: “The Sutton United deal has worked out very well for us in terms of exposure, and we wouldn’t shy away from doing another deal like this in the future. It’s about being an opportunist and making the most of what is available at the right price.

“Football sponsorship at the highest level is an expensive proposal so this has allowed us to get involved at an attractive price. One great advantage we have over our rivals is having the paper on our side, which has given us the perfect platform to work with.

“Gone are the days when companies agree sponsorship deals based just on getting their brand on TV. It’s now more about maximising the opportunity by creating unique content that your audience can both relate to and engage with. I’m sure that if we hadn’t taken the Sutton deal, another bookmaker would have jumped at the opportunity.”

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Zena Melki, MBUZZSPORT

Earlier this year, sports media agency MBUZZSPORT announced a ‘one off’ deal to sponsor the back of Wigan’s shirt for their FA Cup match at Old Trafford. The deal was estimated to make the Dubai-based brand visible to 11 million UK viewers across BBC’s live broadcast and highlights package.

SBC caught up with MBUZZSPORT General Manager Zena Melki for her take on the deal. We put it to her that as millennials change the way they digest entertainment, focusing mainly on ‘the good bits’, brand visibility is arguably more effective during highlights than on the live broadcast itself.

SBC: Is this something you considered when striking the deal, particularly given that Manchester United were expected to score a lot of goals, and so the highlights would be longer? Or was this more about better value for a one-off sponsorship, and a brand association with the FA Cup?

ZM: “The reason we did the sponsorship was because we are a sports marketing company that offers novel and unique cost effective ways to promote brands through sport globally. We knew through the Wigan FA Cup deal, in a match against the mighty Manchester United at Old Trafford, that we would reach a huge audience and demonstrate the power of such media sponsorships.

“It’s a perfect case study for our clients on brand reach and market penetration even from a one-off deal. It’s important to target the matches people are interacting with, and make sure you become part of the conversation, whether that’s with brand positioning during a live broadcast, visibility from a highlights package or fan engagement via social media.”