Slingshot Sponsorship nominated for four ESA Excellence Awards 2017, including Agency of the Year 7th November, 2017

Slingshot Sponsorship is pleased to announce that they have been shortlisted for four awards at the prestigious European Sponsorship Association Awards.

The ESA Excellence Awards, hosted by the European Sponsorship Association, is an awards show that recognises and celebrates the achievements within the sponsorship industry across Europe. The European Sponsorship Association is in charge of regulating shareholders and owners in the sponsorship sector and making sure members are being sustainable and ethical. They also maintain a duty in improving and keeping standards in the sponsorship industry, which they do by educating members, through policy and networking opportunities.

Slingshot Sponsorship’s nominations at this year’s ESA Awards include:

  • Rights Holder of the Year: having won this category for the last two years, Slingshot Sponsorship are thrilled to be nominated again for two clients: The Holi Festival of Colours and the Extreme Tech Challenge held on Sir Richard Branson’s Necker Island.
  • B2B Sponsorship of the Year: a sponsor with the Extreme Tech Challenge, the activation of iTutorGroup showcased how the tech event could support female entrepreneurs in China, providing them a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to attend and pitch.
  • CSR Partnership of the Year: a deal brokered with Slingshot the Aramco and Bloodhound SSC partnership aims to engage 50,000 children in 6 months in STEM.
  • Agency of the Year (Single Nation): after a highly successful year, Slingshot are delighted to also be nominated in this category at the prestigious ESA Awards.

Slingshot Sponsorship, renowned for disrupting and moving away from logo-centric partnerships, specialise in brokering sponsorships for their rights holder clients. Through a highly strategic approach, Slingshot Sponsorship continually delivers world-class partnerships.

Jackie Fast, the MD of Slingshot Sponsorship, commented “It’s a wonderful achievement to be shortlisted for so many awards, for an association that holds as much weight as ESA. But we are not content, we are aiming to get better every year and show the same level of quality at all times with all our clients.”

The winners this year will be announced at the ESA Awards on the 7th of February 2018 at the Science Museum, London. The event will be attended by over 350 people across Europe.


XTC 2018 – MEET THE TOP 25 NECKER ISLAND HOPEFULS! 16th October, 2017

Slingshot Sponsorship client Extreme Tech Challenge (XTC), the world’s largest startup competition, is back again for its fourth annual year, unveiling The Top 25 contenders moving on to the next phase of the challenge, slated to take place this January at CES 2018. The Top 25 was formally announced at CTA Innovate! and Celebrate at the Intercontinental Hotel in San Francisco, and presented by emcee and renowned tech writer Brent Rose.

XTC’s selected Top 25 will be narrowed down to the Top 10 Semi-Finalists who will then pitch on stage at CES to compete for the ultimate prize of global visibility and invaluable resources, with three finalists to pitch their ventures to Branson on Necker Island alongside a phenomenal panel of judges.

Making discernible waves overseas during last year’s challenge, XTC is poised to welcome its largest pool of international contenders to date. The 2018 Top 25 companies reach far beyond American borders, representing countries such as France, Norway, Australia, Germany, Rwanda, and Singapore. The industries these companies represent are as diverse as their home base, with emphasis placed on verticals such as Blockchain, Sustainability, FinTech, Transportation and IoT.

Among international frontrunners to the finals in February 2018 are Norway’s climate action tool chooose.today, touch-free gesture control interface creators BlueMint Labs’ Bixi hailing from France, Powerledger – an Australian company creating a blockchain-based peer-to-peer energy trading platform, and Germany’s sustainability stewards AIRY – a plant pot designed to ventilate root systems.

Stateside, the bank of competitors is stacked with brilliant minds from Silicon Valley to the east coast covering a wide range of cutting-edge trends that span the spectrum of tech industries from BioTech and Gaming to Healthcare. Companies such as Mountain View, CA’s NextBiotics – a biotechnology platform engineering viruses, infant healthcare platform Owlet Baby Care Inc., and Florida’s Immersed Games – an online game world for real STEM learning experiences, are all prospects who may have never crossed paths, yet now find themselves on a leveled playing field competing for the ultimate prize.

Other noteworthy aspirants include Bluefield Technologies, who is utilizing microsatellite sensors to analyze high-value methane emission data and Neurotrack, a company transforming the diagnosis and prevention of memory loss.

Past iterations of XTC have showcased the latest breakthroughs in sectors such as Virtual Reality, Healthcare, Genetics and Transportation, and this year proves to be even stronger. In an inspiring showcase of the evolving landscape of startup-driven discoveries, XTC serves as the platform where science and ingenuity collide to create a new paradigm of advancement in consumer, enterprise and medical tech.

XTC 2018 is proud to present the pioneering Judges’ panels for the Semi-Finals and the Final Round:

  • Sir Richard Branson, Founder of the Virgin Group, Investor & Philanthropist Returning XTC Finals Judge
  • Gary Shapiro, CEO Consumer Technology Association, Returning XTC Semi-Finals Judge
  • Koichi Narasaki, Chief Digital Officer, Sompo
  • Valery Vavilov, CEO, BitFury
  • Tom Siebel, Veteran software entrepreneur and founder of C3 loT, Returning XTC Finals Judge

XTC 2018 TIMELINE

  • Stage I – October 11, 2017 – Top 25 Announcement
  • Stage II – November 9, 2017 – Top 10 Announcement at CES Unveiled NYC: Two months ahead of CES 2018 10 Semi-Finalists will be selected from the Top 25 XTC challengers. In addition to unveiling the Semi-Finalists, the annual event showcases the future of tech before the new year.
  • Stage III – January 11, 2018 – XTC Semi-Finals at CES: Extreme Tech Challenge returns to CES Las Vegas for the semi-finals in 2018. This stage of the contest will see the chosen Top 10 pitch their tech live on-stage in hope of being one of three companies selected to move onto Necker Island.
  • Stage IV – February 28, 2018 – XTC Finals on Necker Island: Top 3 Finalists present to a panel of all-star judges, spearheaded by Branson.

XTC would like to extend special gratitude to the current sponsors on board for 2018 – SompoOWCZoomJungle CreationsCiscoQualcomm, and Meltwater. Thanks to their generous partnerships, XTC 2018 will be the most comprehensive iteration to date!

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About Extreme Tech Challenge
Extreme Tech Challenge is a competition that empowers entrepreneurs and their companies by providing visibility, resources, and it gives competitors the ability to grow exponentially in scale and knowledge at a low to no incremental cost. XTC strives to inspire and provide growth to up and coming entrepreneurs and businesses by surrounding them with mentors to help guide them as they build on product success with business success.

XTC pulls this all together into an experience that money cannot buy with showcase events at the world’s largest technology trade show, CES, and also at Sir Richard Branson’s own Necker Island.

Hurricane Irma Relief
XTC alongside Richard Branson and The Virgin Group continue to do everything possible to support and assist the local BVI community that they call home. Please explore the various donation options & spread awareness to Richard Branson’s efforts with Virgin and their support of the BVI relief fund . By covering all of Virgin Unite’s Hurricane relief overheads, Richard Branson and the Virgin Group have made it possible for 100% of the donations received directly to the local BVI communities.

EXTREME TECH CHALLENGE 2018 TOP 25

ABRA – AirSwap – AIRY GREENTECH – Bansen Labs – BioCellection Inc. – Bixi Bluemint Labs – Bluefield Technologies – Chooose.today – EVmatch – Immersed Games – Lavabit – LYNQ – Neurotrack – Nextbiotics – Owlet Baby Care Inc. – Piaggio Fast Forward – Powerledger – Rayton Solar 2018 – REVL – SafeMotos – Square Lovin – TenX Wallet – CoLoadX – Tissue Analytics – WooHoo by SmartBeings


Football Clubs: getting the most out of gambling sponsorship 25th September, 2017

There has been a large increase in the amount of betting companies sponsoring football clubs in the top two tiers of English football. And for clubs looking to improve and maybe mount a challenge in their respective leagues, looking for bookies to sponsor your club may actually be step one into doing so. But beware, time is running out, as it is only a matter of time before regulatory bodies intervene.

Betting is now the latest industry to monopolise the sponsorship sector of the footballing world, with match and training kits being sponsored by many gambling companies across the world. However, for clubs and rights holders, your time is running out as authorities will soon put a stop to this, just like in 2003 the Tobacco Advertising and Promotion Act caused tobacco advertisement to be prohibited. 2005 saw the ‘Gambling Act’ passed, allowing domestic and offshore gambling companies to advertise on TV. In 2007, 4 out of the 44 clubs in premier league and championship had kit sponsors pertaining to gambling. Over the years, this figure has dramatically grown, and now out of the 44 clubs in the top two leagues, 22 clubs are sponsored by gambling companies.

The takeover of betting companies

If we take away the top 6 clubs, because they are separate entities from the rest of the top two tiers of English football, over half of the clubs are sponsored by betting companies. Betting companies in 2007 took up just under 10% of the market share or kit sponsors, but 10 years later, it is now at 50%, but what effect does this have on the future of football?

More competition in the Premier League

With the rise of gambling companies, clubs are now able to challenge the top six more than ever before. With an increase in sponsorship money, clubs can inject that money into new players and new infrastructure, giving them a better chance of winning. As a gambling company, sponsoring a club is a win-win. They not only gain more awareness, but if they are giving clubs more money, with the industry spending £47.3 million this causes the gap between the top six and the rest of the Premier League and Championship to shrink as clubs are able to afford more. The quality of players and facilities will improve which makes games much more even, thus containing much more upsets which is beneficial for gambling companies as there is now much more of a chance for favourites to lose.

What does this mean for betting companies, and how to make the most of it?

Football is the largest sport betted on in the world, and with the increase of gambling companies sponsoring football clubs, sports betting will become even more prevalent. With this being said, due to the ethical issues that come with gambling, such as addiction and the breaking up of families, it’s only a matter of time before there is some sort of regulation causing gambling companies to refrain from being the shirt sponsors of clubs in England. Just like with tobacco, gambling advertising in the premier league will become extinct. So in order to get the best out of gambling advertisement, gambling companies need to act now as opposed to in five or ten years’ time.


My controversial stance on “the current climate” 5th September, 2017

The British public have been told that funding and corporate sponsorship is a bleak business.  Our sports, health, arts and culture sectors are battling those strong arm brands who are becoming increasingly “difficult”.  Nevertheless, those underdogs continue their uphill struggle whilst we root from the side lines.

I hate to burst your bubble, but despite the hundreds of articles, interviews and broadcasts, this is just not so.

Let’s start with the facts:

  1. Industry: sponsorship spend in 2016 was $60.1 billion USD, which was a 4.6% increase since 2015.  The amount of sponsorship dollars spent has continued to increase.  More importantly sponsorship growth has outpaced advertising growth since 2014 and just recently surpassed marketing/promotional spend in 2016.  In short, sponsorship spending is on the rise.
  2. Market: sponsorship is being purchased by businesses and business is also on the rise.  Globally there are over 100 million start-ups launched each year and in the UK alone we have seen 429,950 businesses launch since the start of this year.  We have also seen an increase in businesses of all sectors start contributing to sponsorship with law firms, online networks, and new technology getting in on the action.

So if both spend and new customers are increasing dramatically, why the sullen faces when it comes to pitching sponsorship opportunities?

The fundamental issue is the proposition.  No one seems to know what they are selling.

The best and worst thing about sponsorship is that it can be very intangible – you can’t touch and feel a sponsorship like you can a t-shirt or even an employee.  The benefit of this is that you can work with your future partners to shape and structure the end result.  The negative is that many people find it incredibly difficult to sell something they can’t see.

However, there are many individuals and agencies who can help NGOs and rights holders build a strong proposition and formulate the opportunity so it’s easily understood (but most importantly bought) by brands.  The issue is that 99% of these people go out and try and do it alone.  Most fail to recognise that this is a specific skill set and experience is required first and foremost to build the opportunity.  Once packaged properly and the people going out to market are equipped with the right tools and information, sponsorship sales becomes much simpler.

My one tip before going out to sponsors – get some help to first identify what it is you are selling in the first place.  You’ll soon find that the “current climate” isn’t so difficult after all.


The Smell of September 4th September, 2017

September is my most favourite month at Slingshot – mainly because it is the kick off of our busiest quarter and ‘buying season’.  Over 80% of big brands purchase their sponsorship deals in this period, which means if you are in sales, the majority of the quarter is spent closing everything you’ve worked so hard on for the calendar year thus far.  For those less cut-throat, it is also the time when your ideas and pitches finally come to fruition.  Outlining execution and following through on the deliverables of programmes, it’s when creativity comes alive.  It is both the most commercial and creative quarter of the year – which is where Slingshot as an agency excels and when our clients truly feel our value to their bottom line.

Many people assume that our success lies in our ability to close deals, when in actual fact it’s how we combine our creative flair for partnerships into a commercial deal.  This synergy is the reason closing becomes easy.  There are better ways to sell sponsorship than cold calling and I truly believe sponsorship deals cannot exist without understanding both the commercial and creative value.  Yet most of the sponsorship industry is still wholly divided with activation agencies and sales consultants.  What makes Slingshot’s strategies work time and time again is understanding the client’s vision and finding the right brands to partner with where both visions align.  Insight and foresight is incredibly important to create the lasting partnerships that are necessary in this churning industry.

If you haven’t ever seen them or need a refresher, I encourage you to have a look at our latest case studies here.  And if you ever want to have a cup of coffee to discuss how we do what we do, I’d love to.  You can reach me at jackie@slingshotsponsorship.com subject ‘Coffee Break’.

It’s September after all.

 


How to Create a Professional Sponsorship Proposal 7th March, 2018

When you’re looking for a sponsor for your event or company, having a winning proposal can be key to sealing the deal. But what is a sponsorship proposal and what should it include? These five key tips should help you come up with a winner. Continue reading “How to Create a Professional Sponsorship Proposal”


How eSports are Shaking up Sponsorships for Brands and Mainstream Sport Rights Holders 18th July, 2018

It’s time to cast aside any predispositions you may have about competitive gaming or the people involved in them: eSports are now very much a force to be reckoned with and are not going away any time soon.

The scale of eSports’ audience growth in recent years is simply quite staggering to get your head around. Right now, a brand could potentially be put in front of up to 320 million consumer eyeballs, should they take up the option of sponsorship within eSports.

Current estimations value this market at a whopping £1bn, with audiences set to double to over 600 million by 2020. Proof, if ever it were needed, that the elite professional gaming industry is beginning to take over the world at an ever-increasing rate!

How is this happening so rapidly?

As you perhaps can imagine, eSports tap into a more youthful demographic. It is these Millennials who are now coming of age and becoming ever more influential in this space; it’s estimated eSports’ core audience of approximately 145 million people is largely made of this demographic.

A prime example of this would be the League of Legends’ University eSports Masters, a hugely popular competition which pits teams representing universities and national leagues against their European rivals to compete for an overall title.

This technologically savvy demographic is increasingly relying on online entertainment, in turn helping to fuel eSports’ wild growth. As a result, eSports offer considerable instant value to brands looking for sponsorship opportunities, given its product is essentially available on tap 24/7 across the globe.

Case Study: Twitch in eSports vs live sport

Back in 2016, live video platform Twitch became the official streaming partner of eSports gaming events for immensely popular multiplayer games League of Legends, Call of Duty and Counter Strike. This agreement ensured Twitch are able to stream coverage of these tournaments to 100 million people instantaneously, completely free of charge.

To put this into perspective, more people in the United States watched watched the League of Legends Championship final than the NBA Finals, golf’s Masters Tournament or the NHL’s Stanley Cup Playoffs. It’s fair to say eSports have made their mark – and are only going to get bigger.

What this means for mainstream rights holders – and what they can do about it

eSports are already selling out stadiums, commanding giant audiences online around the clock and attracting major brand sponsorships from the likes of Orange, Apple and Samsung. This means traditional mainstream sports rights holders are now faced with the challenge of deciding how to compete with eSports for global brands’ sponsorship budgets – or whether they should even take them on at all.

Indeed, some of these rights holders have already embraced this new industry by not viewing eSports as a competitor, but rather as another vehicle to grow their own brand. Paris Saint-Germain – one of Europe’s elite football clubs – decided in 2016 to create their own dedicated eSports team for League of Legends, for example. Although this team only ran for a year, it’s important to note this particular game is in no way linked to football; it simply helped the club to spread awareness and tap into an entirely new fanbase.

Key takeaway

Quite what are the correct strategies for mainstream sport rights holders to take on or co-opt this new market presence is yet to be seen. However, one thing is for certain: eSports are fast disrupting the landscape beyond recognition and they are here to stay.

They will not spell the end of mainstream sports sponsorship, but sensible commercial teams in this sphere will need to seriously review their proposition and strategy within the market – or risk being left behind altogether.


How to Get Sponsors as an Influencer 1st August, 2017

Most bloggers, vloggers, podcasters and Instagrammers started out treating it purely as a hobby, so working out how to get sponsors as an influencer can seem daunting. But it doesn’t need to be. If you’re good at what you do and have an audience that loves your content, brands will want to work with you just as much as you want to work with them. Follow our advice on how to get sponsors as an influencer and you’ll be inundated with offers in no time!

Be yourself

It’s easy to look at the biggest and most popular influencers in your field and think “I want to be like them,” particularly if they are working with lots of cool sponsors you’d love to partner with. But copying someone else will only ever lead to you being a second-rate copy of them. And if brands want what they have, they’ll go to that influencer, not someone trying to imitate them.

Let your own unique personality and passion shine through. This will help you build an audience who love you for what you do, and make you a unique offering to potential sponsors. No one else can do you as well as you can. And there will be certain sponsors who want exactly what you’ve got.

Think audience first, sponsors later

In a world where influencers are today’s celebrities and more school kids dream of being a YouTuber than an actor or footballer, there are some people who get into blogging or vlogging hoping to make a quick buck.

Audiences are savvy to this, and will be drawn to someone who is genuinely passionate about the topics they’re covering and the content they’re producing far more than someone who sees it as an easy moneymaker.

Do it because you love it and create content you’re proud of. That will help you build a loyal audience that sponsors will appreciate and want to harness in partnership with you.

Get yourself out there

That doesn’t mean you should be afraid to make brands aware of who you are and what you’re doing. As your audience grows, brands will likely become aware of you anyway, but interacting with them on social media can help speed along the process. Just be careful to do it in a subtle manner, not replying “PLEASE NOTICE ME!!!” every time they post something on Twitter.

Getting out and about in the industry and meeting people face-to-face can often be the best way to build relationships with sponsors. If you’re a fitness influencer, you could attend FitCon, the biggest fitness event in the UK.

Any event that brings together your whole industry is a great place to connect with other influencers you may want to collaborate with, and sponsors you may want to partner with.

Don’t be afraid to say no

When you first start working with sponsors, the temptation can be to agree deals with as many as you can. But you need to remember what’s most important: your platform and your audience. Allowing yourself to become saturated with sponsored content can cause you to lose your authenticity and make your audience turn off. Commit to much of your time to sponsors and you can also find that you simply no longer have time to produce the content you love making that attracted your audience in the first place.

Work with the right sponsors

If you work with sponsors in the right way, you and your audience will benefit. You’ll be able to offer them fantastic content that you wouldn’t have had the means or access to produce without the sponsor’s help. And the sponsor may offer opportunities and prizes that your fans will love.

The key is working with sponsors that are a perfect fit for you and your audience. This will make the partnership seem natural, not forced.

A good general rule is “would you have any interest in this brand if you weren’t being paid?” If the answer is “no”, think very carefully before agreeing to work with them as a sponsor. If the sponsor fits in naturally with content you would produce anyway, that’s the dream scenario for you, your audience and the sponsor.

Remember the important people

You may have grown a huge audience and be working with sponsors on huge projects, but the people that matter most are still your fans. Make time to reply to their comments, tweets and messages. This will keep the relationship strong and show sponsors that you have a strong connection with your audience.