Sponsorship Predictions 2016

Sponsorship has undergone a seismic shift in communications and it seems that everyone is finally catching up. This means great things for our industry – realising that sponsorship is more than a logo opens up a whole world of opportunity for industry growth this year.

Every January I like to start the year off with a handful of predictions for what I think will be in store and this year is no different. To gauge my predictive power, you can read last year’s sponsorship predictions here.

2016 trends:

  1. Sponsorship spend will continue to surpass advertising spend. Forecasts by GroupM project ad spending to increase by 3.8% while sponsorship spend is set to increase by 4.1%.
  2. People will continue to talk about engagement, but not truly deliver it. Attend a sponsorship conference and you are likely to hear ‘engagement’ being the key point of discussion; however, the activation strategies continue to remain the same.  Just because you call something engaging, doesn’t mean it actually is.
  3. Growth in non-sport sponsorship markets.  At Slingshot we have seen a new appetite for commercial innovation among governments and venues. This is quite exciting when compared to basic naming rights deals – allowing significant creative impact to make a real difference.  We think this is the year that naming rights will take on an entirely new meaning.
  4. Online will become more prominent with spend complimenting onsite sponsorship activation.  Online sponsorship is becoming more robust and clients have become more educated on how this drives brand ROI.  Slingshot have recently partnered with technology ticketing firm Billetto to be the first to introduce this concept across thousands of events in the UK and Europe – read more here.
  5. Brands take on the challenge of becoming rights holders.  Personally, I find this quite exciting – brands revolutionising the space, creating events themselves, and securing brand sponsorship to fund their actvity.  Initially launched with Vodafone Firsts many years ago, the concept is becoming mainstream and even smaller brands are understanding that if commercialised correctly, this is a cost neutral way to radically build your brand.

We wish you a successful 2016 and be sure to watch out for Slingshot – it’s going to be a big year for us

Billetto joins with Slingshot Sponsorship to develop digital sponsorship for event owners

Billetto, the ticketing platform has joined forces with Slingshot Sponsorship to develop an innovative activation platform for its event owners to connect with their fans.

The rich data Billetto has on each of its attendees is much sought-after by event owners wanting to engage with specific audiences based on lifestyle segmentation and with access to over 35,000 events across the UK, and an active email database of 250,000, the pickings are ripe for Billetto’s partner brands.

With access never before available with such ease, brands will now be able to hone into very niche audiences using demographics in addition to interest segments such as culture, music, sport and creative.
“Our USP as a data provider is that we can offer a model where the client only pays for the specific data they need, so if they are targeting a very small audience of 35-44 year-old foodies within a certain European region, they would only pay for the reach we could deliver,” explains Morten Jensen, Partner at Billetto.

Jackie Fast, MD of Slingshot Sponsorship says, “The potential of this is enormous and helps bridge the gap between online and onsite engagement. By working with rich data, we can segment campaigns and messages with minimal cost and resource. Equally there is the capability to create extremely widespread campaigns and develop continuity with the same consumer – regardless of which music festival or event they attend. It marks a shift in the way that brands and rights holders can operate in the sponsorship industry.”

To find out more about how your brand could utilise Billetto customer data to engage meaningfully with your target audience online, please contact Andrew Selby from Slingshot Sponsorship:
E: andrew@slingshotsponsorship.com
T: +44 (0)207 226 5052

Slingshot Sponsorship launch 2016 Workshop Series at world-renowned Shoreditch House

Following on from her successful workshops at Shoreditch House last year, Jackie Fast, Founder and MD of Slingshot Sponsorship today announces a series of six more workshops to take place at the illustrious member’s club for 2016.

“We had a great response to our sponsorship series last year at Shoreditch House and I’m very pleased to be able to offer more seminars in these delightful surroundings,” says Jackie.

“Our seminars are open to any rights holders who want to gain the knowledge to secure sponsors, identify their best assets to build into a sponsorship proposal and ensure their proposal is valued at the right level. We work with many companies now who didn’t initially think of themselves as a rights holder! Now they’ve realised they can open up this new revenue stream and bring in partners with expertise they didn’t previously possess, hugely benefiting their bottom line.”

Seminars which are offered to club members begin in February and run until June, the dates and titles of each seminar are below.
The final seminar gives you the opportunity to pitch your sponsorship opportunity to a panel of experts who will offer advice and feedback. The best pitch of the session will win a full day’s consultancy with Slingshot Sponsorship, worth £5k, so sign up today!

For more detail on each of the seminars offered and to register please visit:

February 16th – The future of sponsorship
March 7th – Sponsorship assets
April 5th – Sponsorship valuation
May 3rd – Perfecting your sponsorship proposal
June 7th – Negotiating your sponsorship
June 14th – Open pitch session: Pitch to win

Jackie Fast, MD of Slingshot Sponsorship announced as a guest speaker at International Confex 2016

Slingshot Sponsorship today announce that Jackie Fast, MD and Founder of the agency will be attending International Confex, the exhibition for Event Organisers at London Olympia on March 2nd and 3rd 2016.

On 2nd March as part of an educational programme at the Association Events Forum, Jackie will present a seminar entitled ‘How associations maximise sponsorship potential in 2016’ to attending delegates such as MacDonald Hotels & Resorts, Emirates Old Trafford and Eventbrite.

On the following day Confex welcomes the AEO Sales Conference delegates to Olympia’s Pillar Hall for a cutting-edge programme of education where Jackie will be giving a talk on ‘Sponsorship sales – the pinnacle of client engagement.’

To find out more about International Confex at Olympia and to register please click here.

Dare2B Announced As Official Ski-wear Supplier For Snowboxx Festival 2016

Dare2B have been announced as the ‘Official Skiwear Supplier’ for Snowboxx Festival 2016 with the agreement brokered by Slingshot Sponsorship.

This year, Avoriaz in the heart of the Port du Soleil ski region, will play host to Snowboxx Festival. In a new development for 2016, Snowboxx is creating something never before seen at winter festivals, its own ‘Snowboxx Village’. This village will host a plethora of events, main stage performances, off-the-wall festival features & local food and drink stalls.

Dare2B’s decision to partner with Snowboxx is fuelled by their desire to become the skiwear choice on the slopes in 2016. To celebrate the launch of the partnership, Snowboxx are running a ’12 Days of XXmas’ promotion with the chance to win £200 worth of Dare2B ski clothes.

The partnership will see all Snowboxx staff equipped with Dare2B merchandise for the duration of the event. In the run up, Dare2B will also be included in all promotional actitivty across Snowboxx’s digital and social chanels whilst discounts will be available for all festival attendees to ensure they are ready for the week-long extravanganza.

Catherine Tait, Marketing Assistant for Dare2B, commented: “The choice to partner with Snowboxx for a second year was an easy one after last year’s Festival. This year’s event will provide another fantastic platform upon which to engage with our core demographic. It will also help us achieve our ultimate goal of becoming the skiwear brand everyone is wearing across the slopes of Europe.”

Last year, Snowboxx witnessed the explosion of Jungle, who featured on the main stage with the likes of 2manydjs and Eton Messy. This year, Sigma, one of the biggest acts of 2015, are headling with DJing royalty Grandmaster Flash for what will be a week of unforgettable music, skiing and partying.

Aden Levin, Managing Director, Snowboxx remarked: “Dare2B’s partnership with Snowboxx was a natural one but what really stood out for us was their vision for the brand. We were delighted to be part of that and I look forward to seeing Snowboxx staff hitting the slopes in their Dare2B skiwear for what will be the biggest ski festival of the year.”

Register your interest for Snowboxx 2016 now at http://snowboxx.com/

Sponsorship Revolution in Iran, the unexploited market of the Persian state

Earlier in the year we saw a massive development in international relations, as Iran signed the nuclear non-proliferation treaty. The treaty, has the objectives to inhibit the spread of nuclear weapons and weapons technology, promote cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, and to assist in the goal of nuclear disarmament (depository states of the non-proliferation treaty include United States, Great Britain and Germany). Before this, Iran was seen as an outsider in the global community due to world super powers freezing many financial assets, implementing trading embargo’s and sanctions that were crippling the nation’s economy and society.

To prevent an economic collapse, the Persian state succumbed to the West’s demands and signed the treaty. With this change, there is a commercial revolution afoot. The youth of Iran are in search for a taste of modern western culture – which makes this an area of opportunity for brands looking to grow in the Middle East. Sponsorship can be the tool to forge new revenue streams in prime markets such as tech, consumer and sport products.

Iran’s demographic has shifted considerably in the past 20 years. The archaic revolution era of the 80s has passed as the left wing followers are growing old and having a smaller effect on the country’s political direction. The new youth of today are inter-savvy and pushing change underpinned by this improved relationship with the West.

Where does sponsorship fit into all this?

Iran adores sport, especially football. The Iranian Football Premier League, consists of 16 teams and is ranked by the Asian Football Confederation as the 3rd best league in Asia, and the National team are the highest ranked Asian team placed at 38th in the FIFA world rankings.

In 2011 The Iranian Football Federation secured TV rights of both Iranian Football Premier League and national team matches worth $96.5 million that ran until 2014. If a country that was under major sanctions can generate a football league that is one of best in the Asian peninsula and a T.V. deal of almost $100 million, what potential does this nation now have with these sanctions now revoked?

A real life example

An example of a country that has had a major development in sporting infrastructure is India. In 2008 the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) used a heavy mixture of commercialisation, international stars and Bollywood glamour to transform and unlock India’s immense market for sport, with the creation of the Indian Premier League for twenty20 cricket. This concoction of sport, culture and glamour has enabled the league to become the most-watched twenty20 competition in the world.

At its height the Indian Premier League had title sponsorship deals with Pepsi Co. worth $71 million (2013-2015) and DLF Group, India’s largest property developer, worth $50 million (2008-2012). On top of these monstrous sponsorship deals, a T.V. partnership was created. It was made up of India’s Sony Entertainment Television (Set Max) network and Singapore-based World Sport Group. Both of these entities secured the global broadcasting rights of the IPL with a record deal that has a tenure of ten years at a cost of US$1.026 billion.

All of these factors have enabled The Indian Premier League to be one of the most watched competitions in the world, resulting in the league currently being worth in excess of $3.67 billion. By replicating India’s platform, the Iranian Football Premier League could be looking at exponential profits.

Here are three ways in which The Iranian Football Premier league can emulate the success of The Indian Premier League:

  • The Iranian Football Premier League could look to branch away from the state ownership of teams and move into a more corporate ownership or stakeholder structure. Clubs who do so could have the potential to increase their sponsorship opportunities as they are more commercially viable to brands due to their business strategies.
  • The popularity of the league is clearly demonstrated with the average attendances of each game (Esteghlal Meli-Sanati Khuzestan Football Club average attendance is 50,000). Packed stadiums emanate an exciting and appealing league that is tempting for broadcasters
  • Finally a league that is appealing to broadcasters will be lucrative for sponsors. This means the league needs to begin to look further than the Persian Gulf and Asian continent in order to maximise and increase its audience and following.

By moving into a more corporate playing field, leveraging the sports obvious popularity and expanding its TV reach has enabled the Indian Premier League to become one of the most popular and profitable completions in the world. Iran now has the opportunity to follow that same blueprint.

Should the Tate Gallery have refused BP’s corporate sponsorship following Deepwater Horizon?

On 20th April 2010, BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded, sinking the rig and causing the largest marine oil spill in history. Following the disaster, the news coverage surrounding BP thrust the spotlight on the oil conglomerate’s sponsorship programme – most notably their 26-year long relationship with the Tate Gallery in London.

Since Deepwater Horizon, pressure has built for the Tate to end this relationship. The greatest criticism has been levelled by pressure groups Platform and “BP or not BP”, whose argument centres around the premise that cultural institutions like the Tate should not be accepting sponsorship from corporations with debatable environmental records.


Corporate sponsorship v corporate philanthropy

BP or not BP’s argument that the conglomerate is “not doing this (sponsoring the Tate) out of the goodness of its heart” is correct. Corporate sponsorship involves no philanthropic element yet pressure groups leverage their argument around this demonstrating how misunderstood the relationship between corporates and the art world is.

Corporate sponsorship is a business transaction and differs markedly to corporate philanthropy, which is where a corporation makes a charitable donation with no expected return. Sponsorship, on the other hand, is entered into by corporations for the rights available through the fee they pay. These could be naming rights which, in BP’s case, have been activated through the BP Displays series.


Benefits v reputational damage

As an indication of the benefits of BP’s quarter-of-a-century long sponsorship, 37 million people have visited BP Displays, BP’s free collection displays across the Tate group of galleries. Of those, 6m schoolchildren have visited the Displays and BP’s Art Exchange, which provides access to the Tate’s collection and archives, has reached 10,000 schoolchildren in 50 countries since its launch in September 2013.

Despite the short-term reputational damage to the Tate through being associated with the Deepwater Horizon spill and the subsequent fall-out, it is clear the benefits of BP’s long-standing commitment to the gallery far outweighed the temporary reputational damage. This was reiterated by the Tate’s trustees who concluded the “benefits of BP’s support far outweigh any quantifiable risk to our reputation.” They added “BP fit within our (sponsorship policy) guidelines and their support has been instrumental.”


Corporate sponsorship of public bodies

There has been little evidence of overwhelming public rejection of BP’s support for the Tate, particularly after Deepwater Horizon. The public response to BP’s sponsorship has been led by marginal environmental pressure groups combined with a smattering of Tate members and artists.

As a non-departmental public body, funded by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and home to the national collection of British art, the public have a right to be involved in the debate surrounding corporate sponsorship of the Gallery. However, BP’s sponsorship has been scrutinised a number of times by the Tate’s Ethics committee who have concluded that “taking a moral stance on the ethics of the oil and gas industry remains outside of the Tate’s charitable objectives”.

This lack of public support to end the sponsorship was most apparent this summer when protest group Liberate Tate spent 25 hours scrawling climate change messages on the floor of a Tate exhibition. Thousands of visitors passed through believing them to be part of the exhibition, with the protest not even registering on the public’s consciousness.


When approaching potential corporations for sponsorship, arts organisations should be mindful of these issues. Furthermore, when a deal is struck, they should seek to communicate the nature of the sponsorship, the benefits to the organisation and the wider public in order to directly challenge detractors.




Snowboxx Festival Secures Rockstar Energy Drink as Official Partner

Rockstar Energy Drink has been announced as the ‘Offical Energy Drink’ for Snowboxx Festival 2016 with the agreement brokered by Slingshot Sponsorship.

Snowboxx Festival has found a new home in Avoriaz, the heart of the Port du Soleil ski region. The festival is creating something never before seen at winter festivals, its own ‘Snowboxx Village’ in the heart of the town. The village will host a plethora of events, main stage performances, off-the-wall festival features & local food and drink stalls.

The partnership will see Rockstar Energy Drink integrate throughout Snowboxx 2016 having been granted use of use of a range of Snowboxx imagery and assets. This will be further supported by VIP competitions to offer attendees the opportunity to experience Snowboxx 2016 as a true Rockstar.

Gordon Donald, Brand Manager for AG Barr commented “Rockstar Energy Drink has always had a close connection with music and winter action sports so partnering with Snowboxx felt like a perfect and natural fit for our us. The festival has grown each year and the Rockstar team are excited to bring our unique brand of energy and party to Avoriaz!”

Following sell out attendances in the last three events, Snowboxx 2015 featured the likes of Jungle, 2manydjs, Blonde and Eton Messy for a week of music and slopeside activities. Now Snowboxx 2016 is set for an even bigger 2016 lineup with chart topping duo Sigma and double Mobo award winner Stormzy already featured on the bill alongside hip-hop legend Grandmaster Flash.

Aden Levin, Managing Director, Snowboxx remarked “The partnership with Rockstar Energy Drink is really exciting for Snowboxx. The brand embodies the Snowboxx spirit of living life to the full and there is a great crossover between the event attendees and their audience. We look forward to welcoming them to Avoriaz!“.

Final tickets now remaining for Snowboxx 2016 now at http://snowboxx.com/

Slingshot Sponsorship Walk Away with Two Bronze Awards at the Field Marketing & Brand Experience Awards in London

Last week the Slingshot team attended the Field Marketing & Brand Experience Awards at the Troxy. It was a really great night with eccentric British themed activities, topped off with two bronze awards! We were rewarded for the Outsourced Sales Performance of the Year for our work over the past five years with the What Car? Awards as well as the Most Effective Sponsorship Activation for our work with Ableton at Outlook and Dimensions Festivals in 2014.

Slingshot came on board with the What Car? Awards in 2011 transforming the sponsorship revenues within the first year; however, being retained since, revenue has continued to increase year on year.  Beyond that sponsors now working with the What Car? Awards have been integrated throughout other areas of the business – illustrating how partnerships are integral to the overall organisation.  As one of Slingshot’s first clients, their success and multi-award winning sponsorship programmes is recognition for our new approach to developing sponsorship in today’s changing landscape.  Find out how we did it on the case study here.

Securing bronze for the Most Effective Sponsorship Activation is particularly relevant this year – outlining how Slingshot worked with a rights holder to develop new properties based on insight.  The development of the Knowledge Arena is the first activation of its kind worldwide.  This development of roundtables, show and play technologies, and panel discussions at a music festival was welcomed and become a key driver for music software and technology companies partnering with the festival overall.  See the full case study here.

Given the fierce competition, we are really proud of this achievement which is a testament to the team and the clients who worked hard to make this happen.

To Buy or Not To Buy – Michael Jordan & the Cost of Two Coupons

Money is almost always a closely guarded secret, whether between friends, business relations or colleagues.

Nowhere is this more prevalent than the world of sports business with undisclosed fees for player transfers and the value of sponsorship deals rarely disclosed, so not to alert others to an inflated bank balance or be extorted for a fee. However, what happens when a company uses rights it has no possession of?

This was the focus of an unusual dispute between Michael Jordan, Safeway and Jordan’s long-term sponsors Nike.

Following Safeway’s unsolicited use of the Michael Jordan name without permission the two recently visited court to settle a proposed $10 million payment from a 2009 infringement.

In 2009 a subsidiary of Safeway’s placed in an advert and coupon incorporating Jordan’s name and Chicago Bulls number within a commemorative Sports Illustrated issue (of which only two were ever redeemed). However Jordan’s lawyers and endorsement history advise that he would not have accepted such a deal. Safeway believed this should be in the region of $126,900, more widely reported as closer to $500,000 from a licencing agreement which MJ held at one point over the last decade.

The argument posed by the athlete is that Jordan name is such a force in the marketing world that this requires a substantial rights fee, something he is keen to reinforce following a statement reporting an income of over $536 million in sponsorship alone from 2000 to 2012.

This is where Nike and other sponsors take interest.

As MJ and his legal team seek to prove how much an organisation typically purchases these rights leading to Judge John Blakely to rule that Nike and other sponsors must divulge their contracts to the court – something that they neither asked for, nor were keen to divulge to their competitors.

Despite being desperate to retain the fiscal anonymity within Michael Jordan’s contract, (a document so closely guarded reportedly only three member of staff have access and it is held in a separate area to all other contractual agreements at the Nike headquarters) the judge ruled this must be shown to the court.
The case is now settled with Safeway ordered to pay $8.6m in rights fees to Jordan, despite Michael expressing “it was never about the money”.

In the world of sponsorship it is always better to acquire those rights than use without permission – who knows it might just save you $8.1m in the long run.

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