Webinar: The Future of IF
Sponsorship Strategies


The sports sponsorship market has undergone significant changes over recent years, with competition for deals now more intense than ever.

Sports properties have been forced to move away from the more traditional sponsorship models and become much more flexible about what they can offer to brands in order to gain the support they need. In an online webinar staged by SportAccord Convention in collaboration with Media Partner SportBusiness International before this year’s Convention in Belek/Antalya, a panel of experts focused on how International Federations can maximise their sponsorship income.

The panel comprised Joel Seymour-Hyde, Vice-President of Strategy at Octagon UK, Brian Mahony, International Triathlon Union’s Director of Global Projects, and Didier Mieville, Marketing and TV Director at World Archery. The discussion was moderated by Matthew Glendinning, Editor of Sports Sponsorship Insider, which is published by SportBusiness International.

At the beginning of the discussion it was highlighted that a recent survey by SportBusiness International found that brands will spend less on sponsorship activation in the future.

Azad Rahimov

However, Seymour-Hyde reacted by saying that such a blanket opinion cannot be fully adopted.

“It’s difficult to generalise performance in the sponsorship market,” he said. “In the period of economic downturn there was a saying that ‘flat was the new up’. It was definitely a different market to operate in. Now we are through the worst, we are seeing increases in rights fees. The flat is coming up again.”

However, he stressed that it is now vital for sports properties to offer a more individual approach to specific projects.

“The primary focus is around tailoring,” Seymour-Hyde added. “You have to tailor the inventory to suit local markets or the event location, as well as the brand you link up with. You have to ask if it is relevant for them and their business or marketing perspectives. So understanding how to tailor is really important.

“You also have to have a clear and concise offering about what you are and what you can offer. Get the brand in and explain who you are, why you are great and why they should sponsor you. It is critical to explain why your property is right for their business.”

Azad Rahimov

Mieville agreed with this sentiment, adding: “What you have to do is to establish what your unique selling point is. For example, our key point is that we can go anywhere and we don’t need a stadium. Our competitions are in the best places in each city – we’ve even been to the Eiffel Tower.

“It is also important to be flexible on what you can offer. We offer flexibility to our Sponsors to maximise their investment where it matters most. A solid proposal and great relationship help us to manage Sponsors and keep them on board.”

Azad Rahimov

Mahony agreed that sports properties must become more flexible when it comes to striking sponsorship deals.

He said that by forming a strong relationship with a brand, an International Federation can help to understand how the deal can be adapted to benefit all parties.

“People don’t want generic packages anymore,” Mahony added. “Now you have to really tailor them for your Partner. You have to build a relationship with the people you work with to understand them and make sure that they are clear on their own needs. We believe that a great relationship with our Sponsors is crucial.

“You have to establish what you have got that others do not have, what it is that makes you exclusive and then you can tailor your package to suit the Sponsor.”