2020-04-01
How Sports and Sponsorship Can Rebound After Coronavirus
With global sport more or less grinding to a halt in the last month, brands have been forced to reassess the role of sponsorships. In this opinion piece, BenchVote founder Adam Mussa  shares his thoughts on how the outbreak will change sports sponsorships.Before we even got to the point where global sporting seasons were put on hiatus due to the global coronavirus pandemic, Australian clubs were facing a receding sponsorship market. Sports and sponsorship industries will certainly survive, re-emerge and I think there will be a reshaping of how sports clubs work with brands for the better.Having spoken to a number of sponsoring brands in the offseason, there was a growing sentiment that some clubs and rights holders were overvaluing their commercial assets, and underdelivering in tangible value.Australian sports are operating in a buyer’s market across both sponsorship and broadcast, and we’ve already seen frustrated sponsors move their spending elsewhere at a time television broadcast deals look to be contracting. Even prior to the coronavirus pandemic, I thought we were well on the way towards a ‘sponsorship GFC.’With the industry currently at a complete standstill, now is the time for a period of deep reflection and redefinition to deliver what modern, marketing-savvy brands are really after; a move away from one-to-many marketing to one-to-one personalised campaigns and conversations driven by content. Deep engagement gives sponsors an opportunity to build authenticity and trust when people are most engaged.The traditional sports sponsorship model has always treated this as an afterthought – too much emphasis has been placed on placing a premium on jersey placements and signage, but I feel their true performance is difficult to gauge as the analytics around it are poor.But while Australian sport is on its knees, now is the time to deeply integrate ‘always on’ digital sponsorship assets with the traditional to allow for two-way conversations and meaningful interactions with fans through things like interactive content, voting, trivia, quizzes, user generated content, coupled with data capture.I foresee more and more sponsors moving to conversion, insights and data and customer acquisition as their KPI’s, but the vast majority of teams aren’t equipped to offer what an increasing number of brands are asking for: hard data acquisition and lead generation to realise an effective ROI from their sponsorship. Clubs have got to understand what the brand needs to achieve out of their sponsorship and become a vehicle to achieve it with their captive audience. That to me is where the true value in sponsorship will lie.Only recently I had a conversation with a sponsorship manager at a ‘big club’ who lamented this exact scenario being forced upon them by a major partner. The need to adapt and evolve is a good thing from both the club and brand point of views in the long run.So, where does this leave us?It’s time to face the hard truth that we’re all competing for the same entertainment eyeballs and dollars. There is already some pain but the power is in the hands of the clubs, federations or rights holders during this time to come back leaner and better equipped to deliver what brands (and fans) will be absolutely desperate for when sport comes back later this year, or early next. This is an opportune moment for clubs and brands to become better collaborators.Less reliant on the old, better equipped to deliver always-on experiences where fans truly live (their phones) and valuing them appropriately. The beauty of digital is that fresh and interesting inventory is infinite.Although this is a truly difficult and unprecedented time for all of us, it’s also a rare gift and opportunity to pause, think and move forward better than we were before.The rest is up to us…Article as posted on B&T Magazine...
2020-04-01
Visa extends sponsorship of athletes following Tokyo 2020 postponement
Visa has told its global roster of Olympic and Paralympic hopefuls their sponsorships will be extended into 2021 after the Tokyo Games were postponed, providing some financial certainty amid the disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic.The credit card giant’s Team Visa scheme features 96 athletes across 27 sports, including soccer star Megan Rapinoe, gymnast Simone Biles — a quadruple gold medalist at the Rio de Janeiro Games — and two-time defending 800-meter Olympic champion David Rudisha.The athletes were contacted on Friday to be given the option of extending their sponsorship terms with Visa. It is the first clear commitment by a major sponsor to extend such sponsorship support after the unprecedented delay to the Olympics by a year was announced last week by the IOC.“We elected to stand behind our roster of Team Visa athletes and make sure they knew affirmatively we were planning to do so and that we were going to offer to extend our relationship with them into 2021,” Chris Curtin, Visa’s chief brand and innovation marketing officer, told The Associated Press.“They’re all dealing with how do they maintain their training schedules, discipline and focus at the same time they’re dealing with what’s happening with their families and their loved ones. One thing that we wanted to do as Visa was to take one potential point of ambiguity and maybe concern off their plates, because there should be none.”While a spring date for the rescheduled Olympics had been suggested, the signs are now pointing to the IOC using the same slot in 2021 as planned this year when the Summer Games should have started on July 24 in Tokyo.“I’m crossing fingers for all sorts of reasons, well beyond just the games coming back, that it reflects a reinvigorated marketplace and a reinvigorated sense of humanity and a renewed kind of enthusiasm about life,” Curtin said. “We have always been very bullish that this is going to be a special and and really important Olympics. But because of COVID-19 I think that’s now ramped up 10 times.”Visa had already filmed some promotional campaigns with athletes for the Tokyo Games that will require some reworking. More immediately, they have spent this weekend filming their own messages promoting hand washing and social distancing that will be published over the next week.“These are unprecedented times for all of us,” said Adam Peaty, the British swimmer who won 100-meter breaststroke gold four years ago in Rio, “but having Visa’s support makes these times of adversity quite a bit easier.”Article by Rob Harris as posted on AP News.Click here to view Visa's profile....
2020-03-30
WaveDirect Partners With Big Brothers Big Sisters of Windsor Essex, Provides Vital Technological Support To Organization's Daily Needs As an Official Tech Sponsor
WaveDirect, a telecommunications service provider, and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Windsor Essex, a national mentorship organization for local youth, has announced an exciting technological partnership.As Big Brothers Big Sisters of Windsor Essex's Official Tech Sponsor, WaveDirect will supply Big Brothers Big Sisters of Windsor Essex with a range of new hardware. Through this partnership, Big Brothers Big Sisters staff can continue to serve the children and youth of the local Windsor Essex community, including over 800 children through the organization's seven different mentorship programs. These impactful mentorship programs help to strengthen the lives of youth and local communities and lead to higher levels of educational achievement, better health outcomes, higher incomes, greater civic engagement, and lower instances of criminality among our youth population to generate a 23:1 return on investment for every dollar spent."Big Brothers Big Sisters of Windsor Essex is an important leader in our local community," commented WaveDirect's General Manager Ryan Davidson. "We all benefit from stronger communities and from empowering today's youth, ensuring every child who needs a mentor has a mentor. Our technological hardware will help Big Brothers Big Sisters of Windsor Essex support youth and its mentorship programs, reducing dangerous trends traditionally affecting at-risk youth."Proud to support this new partnership, to date WaveDirect has donated 10 new laptops to Big Brothers Big Sisters of Windsor Essex and has pledged to support the organization's evolving technological needs in other areas of information technology or networking to guarantee a continued impact on local youth."We are over-the-moon about this incredible partnership," remarked Adam Frye, Acting Chair of the Board of Directors of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Windsor Essex. To receive such a generous and useful gift that has now been a game-changer to our capacity to serve the children and youth of our community as we currently transition to "digital-nearing".Click here to view WaveDirect's profile....
2020-03-27
The Leucan Shaved Head Challenge Now Virtual
As hair salons are closing for at least three weeks, Leucan invites the population to take part virtually in the Leucan Shaved Head Challenge, presented by Proxim, by organizing a shaving at home benefitting the Association.Confined, connected and united for children with cancer"Indoor and outdoor gatherings are forbidden, but it's possible to stay connected and united with children who have cancer. Leucan invites the population to register to take part in the Leucan Shaved Head Challenge and to share their experience on social media through photos or live videos, in the virtual company of their loved ones", said Lysanne Groulx, provincial director, annual campaigns and communications at Leucan.A group of 21 people in Montérégie took part yesterday in the Leucan Shaved Head Challenge simultaneously in the comfort of their own homes in support of Julien Tremblay, 8 years old, who was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia on February 28. Together, the group raised close to $35,000 for Leucan. A video of their virtual collective shave is available on the Leucan Shaved Head Challenge's Facebook page.Pediatric cancer never takes a breakEven though many companies have had to pause their activities to stop the spread of COVID-19, Leucan's mission isn't on hold. In Quebec, nearly one family a day receives a pediatric cancer diagnosis or relapse. If the confinement measures last one month, that means close to 30 families will get the terrible news.It is possible to take part in the Challenge by clicking here.Leucan wishes to highlight the generosity of Proxim, the presenting sponsor of the event for a 5th year; Mia for creating the Earrings of Hope for a 6th year and donating the sales proceeds to the Association; and Subway for providing meals to volunteers at our shaving sites.About the ChallengeThe Leucan Shaved Head Challenge is a major fundraising campaign that engages the community in a solidarity wave to provide families of cancer-stricken children with the services they need. It is also a gesture of support for children having to cope with a change in their appearance in the form of hair loss, a side-effect of chemotherapy.Click here to view Proxim's profile....
2020-03-26
Amp Human Launches Sponsorship of Pro Women's Cycling Team TWENTY20
Amp Human announced today that it will be an official sponsor of Pro Women's Cycling Team TWENTY20."During this time of uncertainty, we're laying a foundation that will accelerate the reemergence of sport.  We're proud that we have the opportunity to prop up such a remarkable women's cycling team," said Naomi Clarkson, Chief Growth Officer at Amp Human. "In addition to being the best in the world, team TWENTY20's pioneering spirit with youth, adaptive and retired athletes is something we want to be involved in."Team TWENTY20 began as a program designed to create a pathway for athletes to the 2012 London Olympics. After success both there and in Rio 2016, the team is focused on Tokyo 2021, as well as promoting a healthy lifestyle and participation in community activities. While race season is currently impacted, Team TWENTY20 will remain leaders and role models on and off the bike."Currently, our athletes are training as normal, and connecting with each other on Zwift. Having partners like Amp Human helps maintain our focus on optimizing training and moving forward together," said Founder, Nicola Cranmer. "From an inspiring company vision to groundbreaking products that support our training and racing, we're excited to work towards competition at our best with Amp Human by our side."Amp Human optimizes human performance to help individuals achieve their potential. Their flagship product, PR Lotion, supports muscle function by buffering lactic acid, making it an ideal training tool for cyclists that's recognized at both elite and recreational levels.Click here to view Amp Human's profile....
2020-03-25
AB INBEV DIVERTS SPORTS AND ENTERTAINMENT SPENDING TO CORONAVIRUS AID, RELEASES ‘ONE TEAM’ AD
The $5 million donation will go to the American Red CrossAnhueser-Busch InBev today announced it will redirect $5 million that it normally spends on sports and entertainment marketing to the American Red Cross to support the fight against the coronavirus pandemic. The donation comes as the sports world remains shut down.The brewer, which describes itself as the nation’s largest sponsor of live sports and entertainment, also pledged to work alongside its sports partners to identify arenas and stadiums that can be used for temporary blood drive centers. AB InBev will also make available to the Red Cross its tour centers in Merrimack, New Hampshire and St. Louis. Additionally, the brewer will donate media air time to the Red Cross for public service announcements.As part of the announcement, AB InBev today released a Budweiser ad called “One Team” that begins with an empty baseball stadium, before showing scenes of frontline workers battling the pandemic, including healthcare professionals, researchers and Red Cross volunteers. One scene shows a teacher reading a story via livestream. The ad ends by making a shout-out to the “home team” against the backdrop of a house and then a larger neighborhood with people safely tucked inside their houses.The ad, by David, began airing on digital today and will run on TV starting this weekend. Gail McGovern, president and CEO of the American Red Cross, in a statement said that “we are currently experiencing an unprecedented number of blood drive cancellations. In fact, about 7,000 Red Cross blood drives have been canceled across the country due to COVID-19 concerns, resulting in some 220,000 fewer blood donations.” She added that “we are grateful to Anheuser-Busch and their sports partners for supporting new blood drives to help us to maintain a much-needed supply for patients counting on lifesaving blood in the weeks and months to come.”Today’s announcement follows a move earlier this week by the brewer to begin producing and distributing hand sanitizer that will be distributed at Red Cross blood donation centers and emergency shelters.“COVID-19 has changed how we all live our lives, but it hasn’t changed Anheuser-Busch’s priorities and our commitments as an employer, a business partner and a corporate citizen,” Michel Doukeris, CEO of the company’s U.S. division, said in a statement. “While we can’t solve this crisis on our own, we are proud to do what we can to serve and support our communities in need and the heroes on the front lines, using our capabilities, our relationships, and our reach to do our part. We invite other companies to use their unique capabilities to join us in this effort, however they can, so that together we can make a difference.”Article by E.J. Schultz as posted on AdAge.Click here to view Anheuser-Busch's profile....
2020-03-24
ESL Seals Western Union Sponsorship
ESL Australia has successfully sealed a sponsorship deal for the ESL ANZ Championship 2020 with Western Union, a global leader in cross-border, cross-currency money movement and payments.Western Union will sponsor a prize pool of AUD$20,000 to be awarded to the players and teams that best manage in-game resources.Western Union’s motivation for the sponsorship stems from its mission of bringing people together via money movement paving the way for individuals who cross borders to live and work. These individuals  realize their life’s aspirations, including enjoying life, while also concurrently supporting their family and loved ones back home. “I’m excited to be able to bring Western Union into esports,” said ESL partnerships manager Graeme Du Toit. “As we connect the ESL ANZ Champs with the ESL Pro Tour this year and send our players around the world, there’s a strong alignment with what Western Union does.”“I’m equally as excited that Western Union is transferring money into our prize pool and offering our players a chance at increased rewards from participating in ANZ Champs,” Du Toit said. “Sports brings the world together, and Western Union is driven by our passion for connecting families and communities, helping them move money for a better world,” said Western Union head of digital go-to-market,  Asia Pacific Mark Strathern.“We are pleased to collaborate with ESL, giving players exciting chances to win prizes. This collaboration will bring millions of fans and players together, enabling us to reach our customers and global audiences in a new way.”Click here to view Western Union's profile....
2020-03-24
Mayflower Advisors Celebrates History & Education with Mayflower Sails 2020 Sponsorship
Mayflower Advisors is proud to sponsor The Mayflower's ambitious restoration and steadfast commitment to education.To mark the 400-year anniversary of The Mayflower's epic journey from England to the New World, the historic vessel is nearing completion of a three-year, $20-million renovation that will help ensure its positive impact will continue for future generations.Mayflower Advisors is delighted to support these efforts and will be there to celebrate when the Plymouth landmark makes its triumphant return--sailing into Boston Harbor to dock beside The U.S.S. Constitution, aka "Old Ironsides," for a six-day maritime festival. Mayflower Advisors Managing Partner Larry Glazer notes, "Mayflower Advisors salutes the courage, resilience and independence of The Mayflower's passengers. It is an honor to sponsor Mayflower Sails 2020's worthy mission to restore an American icon and educate generations to come."In recognition of The Voyage That Made A Nation® and The Mayflower's quarter-centenary celebration, several members of Mayflower Advisors' team are volunteering to help local school children experience history.The Mayflower, a full-scale replica of the original ship, has served as a floating classroom since 1957 when the U.K. presented the gift in recognition of the friendships forged between the nations during World War II. The Mayflower has already hosted an estimated 25 million people and is slated for inclusion on the Massachusetts Historic Commission's National Register of Historic Places and Landmarks. To learn more, visit www.MayflowerSails2020.com/event.Click here to view Mayflower Advisors' profile....
2020-03-24
Olympics sponsors scramble, while CBC grapples with possibility of broadcasting a Games without Canadian athletes
Some of Canada’s highest-profile companies, along with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, were scrambling Monday to find a path forward after the Canadian Olympic Committee decreed late Sunday that it would not send athletes to Tokyo if the Olympic Games went ahead as scheduled this summer.Companies such as Bell, RBC, Canadian Tire, and Hudson’s Bay, which pay several millions of dollars a year for the right to call themselves Premier National Partners of the COC, must now quickly re-evaluate marketing plans that were set to shift into high gear in the final few months before the Summer Olympics, which are scheduled to take place July 24 to Aug. 9.And CBC/Radio-Canada, which is the official broadcaster of Tokyo 2020, is in a holding pattern while the International Olympic Committee continues to resist growing pressure to cancel or postpone the Games. On Monday, the public broadcaster told The Globe and Mail that, if the IOC proceeds with the Olympics this summer, it would be obligated to air the Games despite the lack of Canadian participants.Sponsors are striking a respectful tone, lest they be seen to be abandoning longtime partners in their hour of need.“The COC has made their statements, and until the IOC has a clear and definitive path forward, it's anybody's guess as to what the decision will be and how they have a plan to execute, if at all, on the Games,” said Mary DePaoli, the executive vice-president and chief marketing officer of Royal Bank of Canada, which has a decades-long history of Olympics sponsorship.“We were very proud of the stand [the COC] took, as difficult as it was,” said DePaoli, noting the move was the first in the world by a national Olympic committee. “It was the right decision, given the health and economic context, that we are all living in, globally. And a decision like that is bigger than a marketing partnership. It’s even bigger than the sports that make up the Olympics themselves.“Ultimately, the basic principles of health and safety have to come first. And so we respect that, and we admire that they took a leadership position, where the world was still pausing.”Bell Canada echoed the sentiment. “It’s a fluid situation, but no matter the outcome with the Tokyo Games, we’ll continue to support Team Canada and the Canadian Olympic Committee as a sponsor,” spokesperson Marc Choma said in an e-mailed statement.Companies such as Bell spend years planning campaigns designed to kick off at the Olympics. One person close to the Olympic movement said premier sponsors might spend upward of $5-million to $7-million a year to buy the rights to market themselves as official partners, then several millions more to capitalize on those rights with advertising buys and other programs during the years in which the Olympics are staged.Companies were believed to have been in the final stages of the planning and production of commercials intended to air during the broadcasts, as well as dozens or hundreds of ads intended for digital platforms.One person with experience in Olympics sponsorship suggested the COC’s move could provide its sponsors with an unexpected bit of good news, allowing them to hold off on spending those dollars at a time when there would be little point in marketing, anyway, with the economy in a tailspin and consumers suddenly showing extreme caution.RBC’s DePaoli agreed that any communications from marketers would face challenges in the current environment. “Any sporting event … that would try to occupy a moment in a consumer’s mind while we’re facing one of the biggest health and economic crises of our lifetimes, it would be very hard to [get people’s attention], given what is happening in the world today,” she said.If the Games were to go ahead, CBC would be bound by its contract to broadcast them, regardless of whether Canadian athletes are involved. While a person familiar with CBC’s negotiations with the IOC told The Globe and Mail there is language in the contract that might allow the broadcaster to opt out of airing the Games, CBC’s executive director of Olympics and Sports told The Globe it is not considering that option.“We would have an obligation and a responsibility to cover the Olympics, as per our contract. And we live up to our contracts,” Chris Wilson said.“In the long shot [scenario] that that’s what ends up happening, we would do it,” he added. “And so we’re just going to wait the four weeks that [the IOC has] asked for, until we hear an official statement from the IOC and then we’ll make our plans at that point. But clearly nobody would be wishing for that. And you could count us among that.”He did not say whether CBC would enforce the contracts it has with Canadian companies that had booked ad time on the Olympics broadcasts.RBC did not reveal whether the bank had yet scrapped its ad purchases pegged to the Olympics. “We now need to work closely with our partners and just navigate the path forward,” DePaoli said.CBC’s Wilson said the broadcaster had envisioned strong ratings for Tokyo 2020. (The 2016 Rio Games, which were held in a time zone that made them easy for the majority of Canadians to watch live, regularly pulled in more than three million viewers for the biggest events, with 7.2 million viewers watching Canadian sprinter Andre De Grasse place second to Usain Bolt.)One source familiar with CBC’s revenue expectations – whose name The Globe is keeping confidential because the source is not authorized to speak on the subject – said a successful Olympic Games could add tens of millions of dollars to the broadcaster’s bottom line: A rare bright spot at a moment in which other revenue lines are shrinking.Wilson said that, if the Games were moved to the summer of 2021, CBC/Radio-Canada would likely be able to find room in its schedule. He said it was too early to know what the broadcaster’s replacement programming for this summer might look like.“We were expecting the [2020] Olympics to continue to be the sort of iconic event that brings Canadians together in numbers that most other television programs can’t,” Wilson said. “To be frank, I think, when the Tokyo Olympics happen, I’m feeling it has a chance to do it again in a very big way.”Article by Simon Houpt as posted on The Globe & Mail.Click here to view Bell's profile.Click here to view RBC's profile.Click here to view Canadian Tire's profile.Click here to view Hudson's Bay's profile....
2020-03-20
Hockey Australia and Fortescue extend sponsorship agreement
Fortescue Metals Group (Fortescue) has announced an extension of its long-term sponsorship of Australia’s national men’s and women’s hockey teams, bringing the duration of the Company’s commitment to the sport to a decade.Announced during the Indigenous round of the International Hockey Federation (FIH) Pro League this month, the new agreement will see Fortescue remain a Naming Rights Partner of the Kookaburras and Supporting Partner of the Hockeyroos until mid-2021.The agreement encompasses the highly successful Fortescue Hockey Community Program, which provides Aboriginal students in the Pilbara the opportunity to engage in hockey and increase their engagement and attendance at school. The program has grown from its initial pilot status at Roebourne Primary School to now include 10 schools in Karratha and Port Hedland.Hockey Australia Chief Executive Officer Matt Favier said, “Fortescue’s incredible support enables the Kookaburras and Hockeyroos to compete among the world’s best and continue to be regarded as two of Australia’s most successful and highly ranked national teams.“In addition, the Community Program in the Pilbara remains one of our flagship community enterprises which is making a positive impact to the community and particularly to young people in regional WA.“We look forward to continuing to maintain this standing and having Fortescue with us as we both strive for prolonged excellence and success in our respective fields.”Fortescue Chief Executive Officer Elizabeth Gaines said, “The Fortescue family is pleased to continue our long-standing commitment to the Australian national hockey teams.“In line with our commitment to diversity, we are proud to support one of the most gender equal sports in Australia with our sponsorship contributing to pay parity for male and female athletes and to continue increasing the games’ footprint throughout the Pilbara.“The Fortescue Hockey Community Program is an integral part of our approach to ensuring communities benefit from Fortescue’s growth and success and to help improve social and educational outcomes for children living in remote regions.”Click here to view Fortescue's profile....