The benefits of sponsoring sporting events like Niagara Cricket & Bollywood Festival
This summer the Niagara Cricket T20 and Bollywood Festival (NCF) will dominate the media headlines once again. Anyone with even a passing interest in sport of Cricket and Bollywood style entertainment will almost inevitably find themselves watching, listening to or reading about the achievements of some of the top cricket teams with players from all over North America, Caribbean, Europe, Australia, NZ and as far as South Asia competing in the Greater Niagara Region, Ontario, Canada.
The largest Cricket T20 Prize Money & Bollywood Entertainment Event in the country will be held on Aug13th-Aug 16th, 2015. The championship prize money games and festivities with Bollywood style dance concerts will be held at the largest cricket ground located at Niagara Cricket Center in the heart of Niagara Region.
For a number of major brands, the chance of grabbing a share of this special group of audience’s attention at the same time is a unique business opportunity. Companies such as Pennzoil, CCUSA, Popeye, Boston Pizza, Niagara Falls Duty Free, SOLO Heating, MIZRENTALS, Computan and Cantex have signed up to sponsor the event or already have a partnership arrangement with NCF.
The advantages of sports sponsorship
One of the clearest advantages of sponsoring major sporting events is that companies can still reach broad demographic audiences – something that is becoming more difficult in our increasingly fragmented media landscape. Other advantages include sport’s competitive, friendly, and dynamic nature; its emotional involvement; and its connection with positive values such as tenacity, good sportsmanship and team spirit.
Most marketers choose sports sponsorship as a way of linking their brand with these positive values, but it can also be an effective way of raising brand awareness. For example, in the late 1980s, Visa’s brand awareness in Asia was low compared with the Americas and Europe, but after it sponsored the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul it increased significantly in Korea, Japan and Taiwan. Had it tried to build awareness incrementally, country by country, it might still be trying to become the universally-recognized name that it is today.
Sponsorship is not the same as advertising
Companies aiming to get the most out of their sponsorship of the NCF-2015, or indeed any other sporting event, need to do far more than slap their logos on players’ shirts or the stadium’s hoardings – it should not be treated as just another form of outdoor advertising. Sponsorship involves a commercial exchange with a variety of parties, each pursuing their own objectives. Especially for the sponsor, sponsorship is about meeting its overall marketing objectives, and thus should not be seen in isolation from other communication tools.
The first step is to ensure that the event fits both the brand’s values and the target audience’s interests. The power of sponsorship lies in building or enhancing perception through transfer of values from the property to the brand, but this will only work if the selected property fits with both the brand and audience. It is also useful to choose an event that will allow the brand to build long-term partnerships; as with traditional marketing, frequent changes will simply confuse consumers.
If your company spent $5000 to $10,000 on the sponsorship of NCF-2015, surely you would want to know whether it is working or not? Measuring returns from sponsorship is difficult, but definitely not impossible with NCF.
By systematically defining the objectives and putting in place quantitative and qualitative targets and measures, companies sponsoring this year Niagara Cricket & Bollywood Festival can judge whether or not a sponsorship has worked. Most skepticism about the value of sponsorship arises because of a lack of clarity around objectives and inadequate systems for measuring results. This is, in turn, one of the biggest deterrents for some potential sponsors.
Measuring sponsorship should be viewed as taking a set of quantitative and qualitative criteria and then forming an opinion on whether it is working or not. The first step is to be clear on the marketing objectives. Without this clarity, organizations won’t know what to measure.
The second step is to understand how sponsorship benefits “soft” factors such as employee motivation and pride. For example, UPS decided to sponsor the Tour de France specifically to motivate its French employees. They calculated that sponsoring this key French event would help build employee motivation and pride. While it is difficult to measure employee pride quantitatively, all managers know something is working when they see employee enthusiasm and commitment translating into improved performance.
NCF-2015 has identified a number of key measures against which a sponsorship arrangement’s success should be measured:
- Top of mind awareness
- Market share movements in the selected geography
- Research results in relevant target audience and with respect to competition, covering image; prestige, shift in relevant attributes; brand preference; and increase in purchase intention
- Satisfaction surveys of customers, consumers and employees
- Media opinion
- Consumer/customer enthusiasm
- Observers’ feedback
- Employee motivation
Once organizations collate and analyze this information they will get a strong idea of whether or not a sponsorship arrangement is working. For this analysis to be effective, however, they must put measurement systems in place and involve appropriate experts from the outset of the project, rather than trying to define and measure objectives retrospectively.
There will only be one winning Cricket team with the prize money at the NCf-2015. But the sponsors of the NCF-2015 can maximize their association to the event will be best positioned to pull ahead of their respective competition and also come out on top.