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.


Heading off Piste – Solving Platform Issues With Sponsorship 31st March, 2016

Fresh from the success of Snowboxx 2016 just this month, we thought this would be a great time to shine a light on how Snowboxx has utilised sponsorship to develop the event.

Snowboxx is a week long snow escape combining the perfect ski holiday by day with the excitement and hype of a festival hosting world renowned DJ’s by night. Based in the picturesque resort of Avoriaz in France the festival has grown year on year, welcoming over 4,000 attendees to this alpine getaway. However when planning the 2016 event, Snowboxx faced a number of challenges which it felt were creating barriers to the event’s growth & customer experience.

In order to overcome these challenges Slingshot worked with the sponsors to ensure all activation was curated to create a positive contribution to the identified areas, whilst supporting the on-point brand activity. This allowed sponsors to not only project their desired messaging but to also provide meaningful engagement to the festival and attendees alike.

Sponsorship Solutions

The four sponsors of Coors Light, Rockstar, Jungfrau & Dare2B all brought brand activations and expertise to the event, highlights include:

  1. Social Media & Content

A key challenge to rights-holders is social media, the management of content and how to engage with the attendees in an engaging manner. As such Coors Light, the brand for ‘Damme cold’ refreshment had a huge focus on amplifying their sponsorship outside of the festival boundaries of France. With a thirst for content and social interaction Coors Light developed a social media centric campaign to support their sponsorship including the curation of a unique Coors Light Igloo Party, a Twitter competition to win tickets for the Igloo Party, in addition to the chance to win a trip to Snowboxx courtesy of Coors Light – now that’s refreshing!

  1. New Audience & Reach

Ensuring an event is reaching new audiences and providing unique experiences are key to growth and attendee retention. With a platform seemingly made for Rockstar who embody the spirit of music and adrenaline fueled activity, Snowboxx was able to benefit from the launch of the new Freeze product variety and the supporting campaign. Launching with striking point of sale creative across a number of key retailers both inside and outside of the UK, Rockstar offered customers the chance to win the ultimate VIP experiences at Snowboxx including accommodation, lift passes, flights and even onstage viewing during the acts. In addition to this Rockstar was onsite throughout the festival providing the added revival to all the attendees for the long slope days and late nights at the main stage.

  1. Customer Experience

In a unique development for winter festivals, Snowboxx 2016 introduced a festival village within the heart of Avoriaz in addition to hosting bars and clubs across the resort. Due to the sprawling site it was imperative that the customer experience wasn’t impaired by the cold or misdirection. As the official clothing partner of Snowboxx 2016 Dare2B wanted to align with the youthful winter sport market and be seen as the equipment of choice for the slopes. By providing the clothing for all onsite staff Dare2B had over 70 branded customer service reps roaming the resort.

  1. Retaining Momentum

Captivating an audience outside of the core entertainment schedule is a challenge not only restricted to the festival scene. Highlighting the periods of most downtime for attendees Jungfrau hosted activity from the Jungfrau Igloo atop the main festival site, to be the saviour for all those forgotten, hats, hip flasks and shot glasses. Through the festival Jungfrau provided refreshments throughout the down days with sampling whilst providing attendees with branded merchandise including glasses, bobble hats and the ‘piste’ de resistance, the Jungfrau branded shot ski’s revered by all the attendees’ onsite. This coupled with an engaging social team to support and interact with all captured content allowed Jungfrau and Snowboxx to connect with the attendees outside of the core entertainment times.

Results

Snowboxx 2016 was met with roaring acclaim from attendees, with one group describing it as “the best week of their lives” whilst on the final chair lift. No doubt with the increasing allocation of tickets next year the event is sure to sell out once again.

So much emphasis is focused on alternative revenue when right-holders initially look to secure sponsorship, rarely are the other benefits spoken of until this topic is exhausted. However when looking at the challenges or weaknesses in your own platform you can utilise sponsor expertise to help upgrade this thinking much below the initial surge in the bank balance.


What Car? Win Excellence Award with the help of Slingshot Sponsorship 16th February, 2016

What Car? was awarded the Rights Holder Achievement Award at the prestigious European Sponsorship Association Awards held at Café de Paris in London.
Overcoming strong competition from around Europe, What Car? impressed the judging panel after turning around dwindling interest from sponsors in their flagship event and bringing numerous new sponsors on board.
In 2011 the What Car Awards only had one sponsor which signalled the lowest event revenue in its 36-year history, at this point they enlisted the help of Slingshot Sponsorship to overhaul the commercial strategy and attract new sponsors.
Four years later, the first sponsor Slingshot brought on board in 2012 are still sponsors today, despite signing one-year contracts each year. What Car Awards and Slingshot Sponsorship have achieved this by creating the right partnership for each sponsor, delivering results year in year out – ensuring the delivery of truly sustainable sponsorship.
Jackie Fast, MD of Slingshot Sponsorship commented; “We are really proud of our work with the What Car? Awards who were actually Slingshot’s first ever client, the Awards are a fabulous event which now has the sponsor partners it deserves.
Slingshot are unique in the fact that we exclusively specialise in sponsorship sales – particularly how to creatively build a commercial proposition. This award win (one of many for this client) supports how our innovative approach significantly impacts our client’s bottom line for the long term without compromising the culture and personality of the event. We are thrilled!”

To find out more about the What Car? Awards please click here.
To read the Slingshot case study on What Car please click here.
To find out more about Slingshot Sponsorship please click here.
To see more news from the ESA Excellence Awards 2015 please click here.


Swift vs. Spotify – An insight into the Future of the Music Industry 7th November, 2014

With Taylor Swift’s recent decision to remove all of her music from Spotify, opinions have been forming as to whether this is a taster of things to come for the music industry.

 

In line with the release of her new album, 1989, Taylor Swift decided she no longer wanted any presence on the music streaming platform – Spotify. For years, Swift has been open in her opinions about music piracy and streaming stating ‘It’s my opinion that music should not be free, and my prediction is that individual artists and their labels will someday decide what an album’s price point is.’

 

In response to Swift’s decision, Spotify released the following statement: ‘We believe that fans should be able to listen to music wherever and whenever they want and that artists have an absolute right to be paid for their work and protected from piracy. That’s why we pay nearly 70% of our revenue back to the music community.’

 

Despite Spotify’s insistence that nearly 70% of their revenue goes back to the ‘music community’ – it is estimated that artists only receive $0.006 and $0.0084 per stream in royalties.

 

Most significantly, however, Swift’s newly released album ‘1989’ debuted at No.1 in the US and claimed the largest sales week for an album since 2002.

 

Impact on the Sponsorship Industry

It is worth noting, that Swift is one of the highest earning artists globally and has the ability to sidestep platforms such as Spotify, which is not an option for many artists.

 

This case however highlights two key things:

  1. The music industry is finally seeking alternative methods to overcome the issues faced through piracy and streaming
  2. Fans are still willing to purchase music and spend money on artists they admire – indicating that with the right model, the industry can be profitable

 

The state of the current music industry poses an interesting model for the sponsorship industry. In the past ten years, the commercial departments in record labels have increased two-fold. Gone are the days where a Number 1. slot goes to the individual selling 100,000 records, now, it’s more like 10,000 (see Rhianna in 2012). Sponsorship, it seems, has become a revenue stream to fill the gaping hole that has appeared through the decline in record sales.

 

Not only do brand partnerships generate additional revenue, but they offer artists a unique way to engage with their audience. Alongside brands, opportunities arise for artists to challenge their creativity and create products, design fashion lines and direct music videos (see the video FKA Twigs recently directed for Google Glass or one of the Slingshot team’s favourites Nas, Rakim, Kanye West and KRS One’s partnership with Nike’s Air Force One).

 

As an industry, there’s a huge amount of potential for artists and brands to collaborate across a plethora of mediums. In time, this will ensure that the music industry remains profitable for all parties involved and ultimately creates something truly unique for fans to enjoy.


Slingshot Sponsorship Appointed as Exclusive Sponsorship Agency for Snowboxx Festival 9th October, 2014

The highlight of the winter festival calendar – Snowboxx Festival, has appointed Slingshot Sponsorship as their exclusive sponsorship agency. The festival is to be held in March 2015 at the beautiful resort of Alp D’Huez, France.

Since its inception in 2013, Snowboxx festival has hosted attendees from across the globe.  A week long snow escape, Snowboxx, is the perfect ski holiday – granting audiences the chance to cruise alpine pistes by day and dance to world renowned DJ’s by night.  The festival will take over the town of Alp D’Huez this year, creating festival hubs, open air stages, après terrace parties and late night club parties.

With world renowned DJ’s headlining last year, this year’s festival promises to be the best yet. Festival Director, Aiden Levin stated: “we are delighted to be working with Slingshot Sponsorship. Snowboxx was built on the premise to offer something fresh to the festival market and we feel that Slingshot is the agency to help us maximise on this opportunity.”

Snowboxx not only focusses on the snow and music – the festival offers outdoor pool parties, world record attempts, tropical tea parties, live art on the snow and karaoke on the chairlifts. With a new location as well as bigger events and artists lined up for 2015, Snowboxx is shaping up to be the festival of the season.

Jackie Fast, Managing Director, Slingshot Sponsorship stated: “we were really impressed by the rate Snowboxx has expanded in two years. The festival market is becoming ever more saturated, so it was really refreshing to come across a festival like Snowboxx, which offers a truly unique platform for its audience and brands.”

Snowboxx festival will be hosted in March 2015 at Alp D’Huez ski resort, France.


Outlook & Dimensions Festivals launch video to celebrate partnership with D&AD and Red Stripe 27th August, 2014

To celebrate Outlook & Dimensions Festivals’ partnership with D&AD and Red Stripe at this year’s D&AD New Blood, the team have released a video to creatively explore the collaboration.

D&AD’s New Blood is a programme that inspires the next generation of creative talent and stimulates the creative industry. Each year New Blood hosts exhibitions at Spitalfields Market – encouraging young advertising and design heads to engage with a host of exhibitors.  As part of their partnership, Outlook & Dimensions hosted an exhibition at their offices which saw more than 20 young designers join the Outlook team to learn about the processes behind developing the festival from Marketing to Sales and the development of the festival Site-Art.

The innovative partnership also saw Outlook & Dimensions and Red Stripe develop and deliver a competition to their dedicated audiences to unearth promising and exciting new designers. The brief encouraged the designers to break away from traditional billboard advertising, to create something that would challenge the senses and embody Outlook & Dimensions Festivals.

The chosen design by Oliver Reynolds-Duffy – a 3rd year graphic designer at Manchester Metropolitan University was displayed on a 20 foot billboard in the heart of London’s bustling Shoreditch. Oliver’s designed was inspired by Dimensions Festival and concentrated on sourced materials which were used as different layered elements and pieces across the board.

The final part of the partnership culminated in the awards ceremony at the Truman Brewery and after party at Concrete, which was hosted by Outlook & Dimensions with a selection of the festivals’ DJ’s playing throughout the night.

Johnny Scratchley, Director, Outlook & Dimensions Festival stated ‘D&AD New Blood exists to inspire young, creative talent across the world and it has been a pleasure to work with them on this project and offer a platform for our audience to create on a global scale. Having a brand such as Red Stripe on board really rounded up the whole experience for our team – Red Stripe is synonymous with the music our festivals represent, so for me, this was the perfect partnership.’

The winner of the competition will be flown out to support the Outlook & Dimensions festivals’ site-art team this year.  Outlook and Dimensions are two music events with a passion for creating bespoke environments and quality underground music to be experienced. Dimensions Festival will be on from 27th-31st August and Outlook Festival will commence from the 3rd-7th September in Pula, Croatia.


Bank of America restoring faith in Super Bowl mania 4th February, 2014

Ah, the Super Bowl – the time of the year that makes little to no difference to my life, apart from on Monday, whenAdweek provides us with the glory of the previous evening’s ad-off; with the added bonus of no touchdowns in between.

This year, we bore witness to a Clydesdale horse falling in love with a puppy and (to many people’s dismay) another showing of Bob Dylan selling a car.  Dylan sticking it to the man aside, the ad that struck me most was that of Bank of America.  The Bank used its prized slot as an opportunity to launch the company’s partnership withAIDS charity (RED).  The 60 second slot showcased U2 with the release of their first track in 5 years, ‘Invisible’  and directed fans to download the track for free off iTunes for 24 hours after the ad’s airing, with Bank of America donating $1 for every download (up to $2 million).

The showcasing of this partnership leads perfectly from the piece Patrick Nally wrote last week for #Synergy30.   Within the article, Nally makes the crucial argument that for the sponsorship industry to progress, it ‘needs to be directly involved in the debate and examination of the relationships between sports and the worlds of commerce, education, technology, governments and politics and society in general.’  For me, this 60 second ad did just that.  The Super Bowl had the world at their feet on Sunday (well, until the second half) and granted Bank of America, U2 and (RED) a platform not only to gain global exposure, but to raise awareness and funds for the charity.

What is emphasised through this partnership is the endless opportunity for corporates to use sponsorship/advertising at global sporting events as a platform for greater good.  Through the ad slot, over 3 million free downloads were purchased on iTunes – reaching the $2 million mark within hours, encouraging Bank of America to continue donating further into the night.  Such an overwhelming response to this partnership emphasises the influence corporates, global sporting events and even aging Irish rock stars can generate when given the right opportunity.  Of course, the Super Bowl is at the highest end of the spectrum, but what we need now is for more rights holders to offer platforms that can facilitate these partnerships, and for sponsors to recognise the undeniable value in them.


Is Following your Passion Leading us Astray? 2nd December, 2013

I recently had the pleasure of guest lecturing for the amazing students at the University of Northampton.  I have been fortunate enough to have spoken at a number of Universities this year including Cambridge and Westminster and always find it invigorating – mostly because it was not too long ago that I was on the other side of the lectern.  However, this recent presentation included an opportunity to sit down with the students afterwards where I was able to ask them questions about their views on sponsorship.  When asked what their plans were after graduation, one student’s reply particularly peaked my interest – she wanted to work in football.  When I dug a bit further, I found she was so passionate about football that she would be happy with any role just as long as it was working in football.  Digging further still I queried whether she would take a similar role at a cricket club?  Her reply was unsurprisingly ‘no’.

Passion is what makes our industry different.  Our ability to tap into consumers’ passions – whether it is for sport, music, art, or even their own industry awards, enables us to derive value based on a connection to the audience.  It is what separates our marketing strategy from above-the-line campaigns.  It is what makes our industry unique.

However, I would argue that our biggest strength can also be our biggest weakness.  Far too often I meet Commercial Directors at sport clubs whose last role was on the pitch; Artist Liaisons and Media Managers for festivals that previously were lead singers of failed bands.  To make matters worse, there have been multiple occasions where we have lost pitches to other sponsorship agencies because we were ‘not passionate enough’ about sport or music – and in one bizarre case, yoga.  It seems that the criteria for being employed in sponsorship can sometimes be judged based on passion for the activity rather than the skill set required to do the job.

We have therefore hit the core part of the problem: the skill set is ill-defined and vague at best.  Sponsorship encompasses so many different types of roles in so many different industries that it is almost impossible to define who would excel or even who would enjoy the type of work.    In our agency alone, not one person entered the industry with the intent to become a sponsorship professional (I wanted to be a mathematician).  And even with the clients that we are working with, some of our most creative and successful work comes from industries/organisations I didn’t even know existed until a couple years ago; and therefore had never had the chance to become passionate about.

Though our industry is built out of passion; passions, unfortunately, do not create the pathway to success in sponsorship.  More needs to be done within the industry to define and communicate the attributes and skill sets of a successful career.  In addition, the industry needs to work closer with educators and course leaders to highlight opportunities that may be overlooked, in order to help realistically hone graduate passions into a career that they love.  This not to say however, that a passion for football won’t lead to success within football sponsorship – far from it.  Many incredibly successful sponsorship professionals have a strong passion for the industry they work in (whether it be sport, art, or music).   But it is experience in doing sponsorship – regardless of industry – that will prevail.  As Gladwell states in Outliers: The Story of Success ‘You need 10,000 hours of experience to become an expert’.

You better get started.


High Culture; a Thriving Market 10th October, 2013

Sponsorship of the arts and ‘high culture’ is a topic that has been vehemently discussed within the industry for years.  Indeed, the industry is one that has been criticised for its choice of partners; see BP’s sponsorship of the National Portrait Gallery and Shell’s long standing partnership with the Southbank Centre.  Yet, controversy aside, high culture such as the opera, ballet and classical music has a deep rooted association with large corporates.

It seems, however, that the industry is changing.  Over the past few years there has been an influx of new musicians that have begun to open younger generation’s eyes to high culture arts.  Take for example, musicians such as Olafur Arnalds and Nils Frahm, both of whom are classically trained, yet they appear time and time again on some of the UK’s most favoured music blogs.  Furthermore, in 2011 BBC Radio 1’s DJ Greg James played Ludovico Einaudi’s I Giorni as part of the ‘study break’ feature. The reaction was hugely unexpected with the classical piece reaching number 28 in the Top 40 Chart.

There are also a number of more intimate events and concerts popping up across the country. Ruthless Jabiru is a successful classical orchestra composed and directed by Kelly Lovelady and is entirely made up of Australian musicians living in Britain. Ruthless Jabiru runs a combination of intimate and large events across the country, playing in venues such as Australia House, London and LSO St. Luke’s, and has been recognised for its ambassadorial work by Buckingham Palace.

In the ever more saturated festival market, some brands are beginning to look elsewhere for inspiration.  Events such as those hosted by Ruthless Jabiru (see their up and coming event at Union Chapel Monday 14th October) are creating unique experiences for brands to interact with younger audiences.

Kelly Lovelady said, “Classical events like those of my own orchestra, Ruthless Jabiru, are a fantastic platform for brands to interact with consumers on a more intimate level. The passions associated with classical music in the distinctive and beautiful venues in which we perform can really create a unique experience for both brand and attendee.”

This shift in attitude is being helped by a development being seen in the events themselves, with classical artists adopting modern pieces and trading in traditional instruments for electric ones.  In light of this shift within the market, Slingshot has compiled two examples of consumer brands partnering with high culture events.

Peugeot and Bond

As always there are of course brands ahead of the curve. The Peugeot and Bond (Bond, not James Bond) partnership is one of the first examples of a big name brand sponsoring classical music band. This was designed to differentiate themselves from other brands and connect with a young, mass market. As part of the sponsorship Bond, a female electric instrument quartet, created a mini album specifically for the Peugeot 308 CC adverts, this was then given away as a free download on the Peugeot website.

Siemens and the Academy of St Martin in the Fields

A different partnership to that of Peugeot and Bond, Siemens sponsorship of the Academy of St Martin in the Fields is a prime example of a partnership based on the wide and international audience of the Academy of St Martin in the Fields as well as classical music in general. The orchestra allowed Siemens to access the typical ABC1 demographic of higher culture arts whilst also providing access to a younger audience through young musicians like Joshua Bell who are part of the St Martin in the Fields Orchestra.