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.


Top 5 Tips To Ensure Your Next Sponsorship Proposal Doesn’t End Up In The Trash 21st August, 2017

Far too many people fail to realise how crucial a sponsorship proposal is.  They are hoping that the reader can decipher the value through your iPhone photos arranged into a poorly formatted PowerPoint.  You wouldn’t get your haircut from a guy who handed out leaflets that he created with crayon, and the same goes with sponsorship proposals.  The lack of resource put into making an amazing sponsorship proposal outlines how people fall into the trap of how most people approach sponsorship.

Sponsorship is not free money.

Now that’s out of the way, the key is effective communication in a short space of time.  So how do you articulate the many wonderful benefits of your package succinctly?  Here are my top 5 tips on doing this well:

  1. Talk about them, not you. Sponsorship is purchased with the aim that it will help the sponsor achieve something.  If you spend the first 8 out of 9 pages talking about how great you are, it will become difficult for a prospect to understand how this great thing is going to benefit them.
  2. Use a graphic designer. You don’t have to invest in a photoshoot, but having a graphic designer format this will make all the difference – even if you don’t use any photos.  If you want to take it one step further, have a video made (example from one we’ve done here).
  3. Put in a cost. So many people fail to put in the investment of their sponsorship in hopes that someone will ring them back to ask. Whilst in principal this makes sense, it almost never happens in practice.  Don’t make people work too hard to sponsor you, give them all the information they need straight away.
  4. Use testimonials. Credibility is often an issue for sponsorship opportunities that don’t have broadcast backing.  Therefore, invest some time to ask your network and previous sponsors to write some quotes on how sponsoring your event helped them achieve their goals.
  5. Keep it short, but engaging. I have seen over 30,000 sponsorship proposals and only 1 of those was a great sponsorship proposal that lasted over 20 pages.  I’m not saying it can’t be done, but it’s unlikely you are the 0.003% of the population that can engage someone throughout a 10+ page sales proposal.  Our rule of thumb is that if you can say everything you need to say in 1 page, then keep it to one page.  This is rarely the case and our proposals tend to average 4-7 slides.  So keep it short, but informative!

Creating a proposal is only one small part of the sponsorship sales battle, so make it easier on yourself by putting in more effort in at the beginning so your proposal actually gets read. Instead of being like most and ending up in the bin.


Top 5 Ways To Uncover If You Can Get Sponsorship 31st July, 2017

Slingshot was launched with the ambition to help organisations uncover revenue that they weren’t capitalising on.  More often than not, it meant absolutely no change in the way things were currently done.  No additional investment, no additional resource.  Just free money.  And who doesn’t love free money?

But mining for free money is the key to what makes us different.  Unlike our competitors who mine for oil through guesswork, we have a strategic framework which allows us to ensure that targets can be met and understanding how strategic investment into certain areas of the business can be more beneficial (through sponsorship) than others.

There are some key things to consider when trying to understand if you are missing out on sponsorship investment:

  1. Your competitors make more in sponsorship than you do. By reviewing the competitive landscape, you can start to understand the potential.  If Coca-Cola sponsors every one of your competitors, but not you, you are obviously missing a trick.  This research can be done through a simple Google search and will start to identify whether there are sponsorship dollars you are missing out on.  The caveat: not all sponsors are cash sponsors, so beware of this as this might be misleading, but common sense should point you in the right direction.  It’s also worth mentioning, that just because your competitors don’t have sponsors, doesn’t mean you can’t generate sponsorship revenue.
  2. You have an audience. An audience is a fickle thing and is wholly dependent on whether your audience is B2B or B2C as to understanding if you are missing out on sponsorship revenue.  If your B2C audience is less than 100,000 then unfortunately it’s not going to make you millions; however, we’ve secured millions of pounds in sponsorship revenue for events with less than 100 people.
  3. You are unique. Although this is similar to your audience, the uniqueness is critical – the more unique you are, the higher value your audience becomes.  Again, if you the only person in the world who can balance a pen on your nose and no one cares, this is not a sponsorship platform.  But if you have a blog that speaks to young women who just bought a pug, then there is money in that.
  4. You currently generate advertising revenue and/or selling tickets. The fact you are making money through other means outlines that what you are doing is of interest, and more often than not, if it’s of interest, there is sponsorship value behind this.
  5. You have regular engagement. It is easier to justify sponsorship when you have multiple touchpoints for a sponsor to speak to your audience.  So even though you might have an annual event, you have a high open rate with your weekly blog.  These are the kinds of assets that help justify a sponsorship spend and create value for your sponsors.

We receive over 10 calls each week from events, charities, start-ups and sports teams enquiring whether they can generate more sponsorship (or new sponsorship) and almost 99% of the time we speak to them the answer is yes.  To find out how we’ve helped our clients succeed, I’d encourage you to read some of our rights holder case studies outlining how quickly we’ve increased their bottom line.  Then give us a call!


Slingshot Sponsorship Open Pitch Night at Shoreditch House – Win a Free Consultancy Session worth £5k 4th May, 2016

June 14th | 7pm | Shoredtich House

Slingshot Sponsorship are hosting an Open Pitch night with Soho House Group on June 14th at Shoreditch House for members (or friends of members).  If you want to nail your sponsorship sales pitch – come prepared with your deck and your choice of one of five brands to pitch to, present to our team of brand buying experts and get direct feedback that will take your pitch to new levels. You will also be able to watch other pitches live and gain further understanding of what brands are looking for, what questions they will ask, and what will ultimately make them sign on the dotted line. And the best bit?  The best pitch of the evening will also receive a full 1-to-1 consultancy day with Slingshot Sponsorship, worth £5k. This is not to be missed so come and take the stage! 

Brands you can tailor your pitch to (you won’t actually be pitching to these brands): Blackberry, Marks & Spencer, Chelsea Football Club, Rolex, or Red Bull.

To note, this is a culmination of our monthly events with Shoreditch House and our next free monthly event is going to be held on June 7th at 11am.

We will only be taking a limited number of pitches, so if you want to sign up please email Pitch@slingshotsponsorship.com at your earliest convenience.  Pitch spaces are on a first come, first serve basis.

If you are a member of Soho House you can find more details online and also ensure you register your place here.  To note, registration does not mean you have a pitch slot – it just means you can attend.  You must email Pitch@slingshotsponsorship.com to reserve your pitch slot.


“How Long Should My Sponsorship Proposal Be?” 9th March, 2016

I am asked this everywhere I go – it seems to be the thing that most people think is holding them back from securing that perfect partner.  As much as I’d love to provide a one-size-fits-all solution, unfortunately (much like most of sponsorship) this is not the case and the answers vary with each sponsorship platform.  The golden rule is to keep it as short as possible, but still retaining all the information a prospect absolutely needs to know.  As most people are not quite sure what information a prospect absolutely needs to know, I’ve created some tips to help you when creating your sponsorship proposal:

  1. Keep it short, sweet and concise. Sponsorship proposals are not the latest Grazia or best Faulkner – put simply they aren’t interesting and regardless who you send it to in whatever format, people are not desperate to read them.  Sponsorship proposals are just not exciting regardless of how exciting your actual property or opportunity is.  Rather than accepting this, people overcompensate the boredom by writing excessive copy hoping to draw people in.  This is simply not the case – mostly because you aren’t a copywriter and even the best copywriters in the world are unlikely to make your sponsorship proposal a page turner from copy alone.  Therefore, don’t try and make your proposal exciting just by writing more about it.  In our digital age, if you can catch their attention and imagination – they will Google you.
  2. Following on from above – make sure whatever they Google is good.
  3. A picture says a thousand words. If you have great imagery – use it in the best format possible which is typically in a landscape format.  Saying this, don’t fill the entire proposal with a load of the same pictures – if they want to look at pictures of an event or people at an event, they will go on Facebook.
  4. Put a price on it. Don’t waste people’s time.  If you are going to go to the effort of sending a sponsorship proposal, make sure everything that the buyer needs is in there and this includes how much you expect from them in return.
  5. Be professional. I estimate that over 95% of all sponsorship proposals in the world are done by the person looking for the investment.  You are often the Founder, Marketing Director, Event Manager or Sponsorship person.  It’s not your fault you are not a graphic designer, you have other important skills.  But it is important to recognise you are not a graphic designer.  People like things that look good.  You wouldn’t try out the new restaurant in town if they handed you a hand-drawn flyer made out of copy paper and crayons so how can you expect someone to part with budget when you won’t even invest on your own sales collateral?

In terms of a litmus test, I recommend taking your sponsorship proposal to a brutally honest friend and asking their opinion.  They don’t need to work in marketing to have an opinion – they just need to not worry about hurting your feelings.  Listen to them.  They will definitely help.

Failing getting a friend’s sign off, get some actual professional help.  Speak to a sponsorship agency for feedback and/or hire them to put together a proposal for you.  Slingshot obviously does this, but there are also many other agencies who can help too.  It is such a shame to see people fail at securing sponsors for their event because of a bad proposal, but not a bad property so don’t go it alone!

If you are interested in having Slingshot review or create your sponsorship proposal drop us an email: proposalreview@slingshotsponsorship.com


Sponsorship Sales Basic Series – Part Two: The Three As to Building a Package 17th August, 2015

 

We have been running a monthly Sponsorship Sessions event at our Head Office since December and some of the challenges and hurdles that are being faced by quite diverse companies we have been helping seem to be the same.  Therefore, I have decided to create a Sponsorship Sales Series for the beginner.  If you are an expert, this blog is not for you – you might be more interested in reading this.

 

Benefits are key to any partnership as they provide the rights and capability for any brand to activate.  Essentially they are the rights of usage.  It seems simple enough; however, surprisingly many people don’t truly understand what a sponsorship benefit actually is and how it differs from the use of that asset.

Audience:  Your audience is what a sponsor is interested in reaching.  Your audience is not a sponsorship benefit and shouldn’t be included in a contract. The sponsorship benefit is what enables a sponsor to reach your audience.

Asset:  An asset is the benefit you are providing a sponsor and is included in a contract.  This forms part of a rights holder’s deliverables during the term of the agreement.

Activation:  Activation is the activity a sponsors chooses to utilise with the asset(s) they have purchased.  Typically the more creative, engaged and insightful – the more the activation will resonate with the audience, which is key to driving ROI for all parties.  Activation developed alongside the rights holder typically engages audiences better due to the fact that the rights holder understands their audience better than the sponsor.

For example, in a sponsorship agreement with the benefit of social media for the sponsor the breakdown is as follows:

  • Audience = the rights holder’s Twitter network
  • Asset = 5 Tweets
  • Activation = running a Twitter competition giving away 5 prizes to the first person who responds to a Tweet

Far too often, rights holder bulk up their sponsorship package by creating a lot of benefits that is really one asset communicated in different ways.  Although this may make the rights holder feel like they are offering a great deal more, it doesn’t add any value to the prospective sponsor.  Additionally, because rights holders feel like they are giving so much away, then tend to overvalue what is on the table because they themselves are confused about the benefits and the activation of those benefits.

By truly understanding what your assets are, you will start being able to clearly identify what packages and the value of those packages will be – rather than over inflating your proposition.


Understanding Sponsorship’s Evolution Will Help You Capitalise 28th July, 2015

Sponsorship is not a new concept.  It originally dates back to 776 BC to the first Olympic Games held in Greece with wealthy citizens and local governments providing financial support to build awareness of their cities.  Sponsorship continued in this way until 1984, when the Los Angeles Olympics redefined sponsorship to the world by selling the Olympic symbols to brands.  With 43 major sponsors stepping forward, the Olympic Games made a profit of $225million and a new wave of sponsorship profitability ensued based on logo and brand recall.

Since then, sponsorship has undergone many shifts with partnerships becoming less about the logo and more about engagement.  Without engagement, brand sponsorship fails to resonate with consumers who are constantly bombarded with messages in our digital revolution.

The three key shifts of evolution with sponsorship:

1.  Sponsorship should be used by every organisation

When sponsorship is used with both creative and commercial objectives at the core, opportunities for this type of partnership benefit all organisations – no matter how big or small you are.  Small businesses particularly benefit for sponsorship as the impact on maximising commercial revenue tends to be greater.  However, the one challenge for small businesses undertaking or integrating sponsorship is not understanding their value beyond a logo.  When identifying the partnership USP is so vital, it is crucial to understand what assets they have and are prepared to offer for their partners.

2.  Sponsorship should not be seen as a monitory transaction in exchange for a logo

By uncovering your business assets correctly, you will be able to show potential sponsors what you can provide allowing you to approach sponsors by creating a business proposition rather than just awareness. Furthermore, looking at sponsorship benefits outside of logos can create partnerships with organisations you may not have approached before.

3.  Sponsorship provides brands personality

Sponsorship gives life to a brand providing brand character and differentiating it from its competitors. By partnering with sponsors who share the same values as your brand you will expose your brand to a broader audience and leave a lasting impression with that audience.

David Verklin, CEO of Carat USA once said, “Sponsorship shows respect to a viewer by not taking advantage of something that they involuntary give up – their time and attention.”

Sponsorship continues to evolve and by keeping ahead of these shifting concepts ensures you will continue to add value to your sponsors and continue to secure sponsorship funding for your organisation.  However, much of the information you can gather online is not as practically implementable or easily understood as it may seem.

By getting expert advice in this area, you can ensure you are not wasting time by trial and error.  As such, Slingshot Sponsorship has recently launched a monthly sponsorship training event which provides organisations with the tools to approach sponsorship from a forward-thinking and creative standpoint. If you would like to become part of the evolution of sponsorship attend a Sessions at our Slingshot’s London head office. One of our senior consultants will provide you with all the tools necessary to capitalise on your commercial potential.

To find out more about our sponsorship sessions please click here or call the Slingshot Head Office:  +44 (0) 20 226 5052.


How Small Businesses Can Maximise Sponsorship Potential in 2015 15th January, 2015

*This article was originally published on Smarta

Sponsorship isn’t just for Premier League football clubs – and despite what the front covers of newspapers might tell you, it can actually be more impactful for small businesses if you do it well. Jackie Fast, founder of Slingshot Sponsorship, has worked with big brands across the globe and the entrepreneur gives her 5 tips for securing sponsorship this year.

The benefit of being a small business in 2015 is that you have many more sponsorship assets that you can work with than ever previously, allowing you to create more sponsorship packages, additional value, and ultimately driving more revenue to your bottom line.

Here are my top 5 tips for securing sponsorship successful in 2015:

1. Don’t Just Think Money

There is a big misconception that sponsorship is a cash transaction. However, a lot of sponsorship is done through contra agreements or value-in-kind. You can significantly decrease expenses by partnering with experts in the form of Venue Sponsors, Photography Sponsors, Branding Sponsors, PR Agency Sponsors, etc.  Have a look at what is costing you the most and if your audience is of value, then there is an opportunity to work more collaboratively with your suppliers.

2. Think Outside of the Box for Contra Deals

Sponsorship can also expand activity you are doing, which may lead to an increase in sponsorship. For example, many smaller businesses do not have the expertise, resource, or money to be as digitally savvy as they wish they were. However, by partnering with other digital firms or technology products, you may be able to incorporate more digital based services or products which may help increase your core revenue stream.

3. Consider Being A Sponsor

Most small businesses rarely consider sponsorship as part of their marketing mix as they feel that sponsorship is only for big business. However, securing sponsorship rights can also be done on a contra deal and can greatly increase your marketing activity with minimal cost.

4. Don’t Forget Your Audience

Sponsorship isn’t just about money, sponsorship is about creating a partnership which provides mutual benefits for both parties. You need to understand your audience as well as the audience you are going after before you start considering how to create a partnership.  The better understanding of audiences and how those businesses can work together, the stronger and more sustainable your sponsorship will be.

5. Get Help

Sponsorship isn’t rocket science, but it also requires more than just going out and doing it. You don’t want to burn bridges and equally you don’t want to waste time, so some advice can help you get there much quicker than going it alone.  Read blogs and articles, attend sponsorship conferences and events, or get training (check out Slingshot’s Bootcamp or Sponsorship Sessions!).

You can network with Jackie by following her on Twitter


Sponsorship: It’s not all about the money 21st August, 2013

Recently I came across a short article posted by Richard Branson on Twitter where he stated that ‘people who focus on finance generally fail’.

Now although a little brash, Branson’s comment struck me as rather relevant when it comes to considering sponsorship. The value of a sponsorship opportunity should not be based solely on costing but on the value that sponsorship can bring to the brand.

Finding value in a sponsor proposition is a tenuous topic – brands enter into sponsorship for varying reasons and the true value of each sponsorship is dependent upon what the brand themselves want to gain from it.  For some, the value of a sponsorship opportunity might come from the reinforcement it could provide during a re-brand campaign while others may see value in reaching new audiences.   In this respect, a big budget sponsorship opportunity may not always fulfil the sponsor’s objectives in the same way a lower budget opportunity may see a sponsor reaping huge rewards.

There are of course big businesses with big budgets that can afford the high cost sponsorship opportunities and benefit greatly from them. Companies such as PepsiCo and Coca Cola spent upwards of $280 million on sponsorship in 2012. With budgets like this, these companies can consider the higher ticket sponsorship opportunities like the Olympics and the Super Bowl. But as the marketing director for Nokia said recently, if you can’t outspend, out smart.

In 2012, Inov8, a leading off-trail running brand, sponsored Mark Bayliss in his Arch to Arc (Marble Arch, London to the Arc de Triomphe, Paris) triathlon. This sponsorship was, in the grand scheme of things, a relatively low cost sponsorship but provided Invo8 with priceless opportunities. The success of this example lies in the synergy between the inov8 brand and Mark Bayliss. In completing the event, Mark Bayliss became the first person to complete the channel swim without a wetsuit, setting a new world record and raising money for SportsAid.

Mark’s achievement perfectly complimented Inov8’s brand values – celebrating the grit and glory of the committed athlete.  The reach of the sponsorship might not have been particularly broad, but it provided Inov8 with a direct channel to their target audience and allowed the brand to present their values in the form of a successful athlete.

In the current financial climate, it is important to consider all aspects of a sponsorship opportunity, understanding what your brand needs to gain from the sponsorship and the value that particular proposition can bring.