How Sports Sponsorship is helping to bring Communities together
16th May, 2013
Last Thursday I attended the Innovation in Sports Business Summit, which was focused upon the theme of last weekend’s Euroleague Final Four. It brought together sports experts from various fields such as media, gaming, digital content, marketing, sponsorship and social responsibility. In times where marketing and CSR budgets increasingly overlap, the second panel, “The Power of Sport. How can Sport create a legacy?” was especially poignant . Headed by former Chelsea FC legend Graeme Le Saux and Simon Cooper, Head of Sport at Mayor’s London Office, the panellists discussed the influence and more importantly, responsibility that sport has on communities.
The European Sponsorship Association’s market trends survey revealed that CSR is increasingly becoming an integral part of sponsorship campaigns. Whereas in the past businesses and brands tended to spend their CSR budget on supporting arts or environmental based causes, they are beginning to acknowledge the power that sport has in terms of reaching and engaging with people on an emotional level.
There are many examples of how sports rights owners and brands are beginning to collaborate as a means to make a difference in people’s lives rather than just purely about the sponsorship – which in turn, is creating true value within the campaign. Here are three of my favourite sports sponsorship & CSR partnerships.
1. One Team – Euroleague Basketball & Turkish Airlines
The One Team CSR Marketing Programme was, of course, a focal point of the second panel at the Innovation in Sports Business Summit. Launched in 2012 in collaboration with Euroleague’s main sponsor, Turkish Airlines (their Founding Patron), the programme is additionally supported by eight Founding Partner Clubs and seven further Euroleague basketball clubs (by 2014 this will be extended 24 clubs in total).
The aim of One Team is to use the power of basketball to change lives. All 15 clubs involved in the initiative tailor and invest their community outreach with the aim to challenge key social issues faced by their communities. The clubs use an innovative methodology of assessment, outreach and results oriented analysis to create the maximum impact and results.
When discussing the success of the programme, panellist and architect of this European-wide development programme, David Butler, pointed to the importance of having the right measurement: “When asked ‘how is it going’, organizations tend to talk about increasing numbers, more children, more projects, more people, more scale, more geography. But that does not answer question properly. The question should be asked: ‘how much impact are you having? And how much positive change is happening?'”
Each one of the clubs works with disadvantaged individuals from their communities, with basketball as the integrating tool. An overview of all the different projects can be found here.
Temel Kotil, CEO of Turkish Airlines, expressed the importance of initiatives such as these stating “At Turkish Airlines we believe that sport is a unique language that can inspire and One Team uses that language to talk to those who most need to hear its message of positive values.”
2. NBA Cares – NBA & Kia
One of Euroleague’s benchmarks was the NBA Cares programme. Similar to Euroleague’s One Team programme, NBA Cares is a community outreach initiative that addresses important social issues such as education, youth and family development as well as health and wellness. Since 2005, the league has partnered with NBA teams in order to support a range of programs, partners and initiatives that strive to support children and families on a global scale. So far, more than $210 million have been raised for charity and more than 2.3 million hours of hands-on service has been provided by the National Basketball Association and its clubs. Through TV-Spots (such as this one featuring Miami Heat’s Dwyane Wade) at every NBA game, the league uses this content as a marketing tool to raise awareness about the issues surrounding many communities. Click here to see how the different teams and players are currently supporting NBA Cares.
Due to this success, the NBA has created a new sponsorship platform within the NBA Cares programme: the Kia Community Assist Awards that honour the NBA player who best reflects the passion that the league and its players have for giving back to their communities. This sponsorship deal is one step ahead of Euroleague’s partnership with Turkish Airlines as it engages with fans on a far bigger scale using Social Media channels such as Facebook.
3. Hamburger SV – “Hamburger Weg”
Football is probably the sport which has naturally the strongestbond to local communities. Hamburger SV is a very traditional football club in Germany and was one of the first clubs in the world who integrated sponsors into its CSR plans. The “Hamburger Weg” is a partnership between the football club Hamburger SV and local companies. The programme combines classical sponsorship with CSR, through donations. The club donates 1/11 of its sponsorship revenue to local organisations and charities to help them find the right footing in life. Hamburg’s sponsors are specifically branded with white logos on a blue perimeter advertising background which adds an additional affiliation between brand, charity and club.