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In a previous article I explained the 10 steps to follow in order to gain corporate sponsorship for sport. This post is a follow up that covers eight characteristics of sport sponsorship, and explains how companies make decisions about whether to invest or not.

  1. Charitable organisations are more popular than sport, and larger sports are more popular than smaller ones, because of their profile and participation levels. Of total sports sponsorship football gets 35%, rugby union 15% and cricket 14%.
  2. Organisations who have not invested in sport are highly unlikely to invest in sport in the future. However on the flip side – organisations who have invested in sport previously are highly likely to invest in sport again.
  3. Grassroots level projects actually attract more investments that national or international ones. Smaller organisations (up to 50 employees) make up 92% of the investment marketplace. And despite some huge investments (up to £87 million) most investments are up to £5000. This is true for investments from both small and large companies.
  4. The top three reasons for investment in sport are to enhance corporate reputation, engage current and potential customers and motivate staff. These are normally measured through consumer research by measuring corporate reputation, increased brand awareness, and staff morale. Companies normally invest in sport in order to help improve facilities or equipment, increase participation, and improve coaching. So be flexible with community sport programmes in order to match the investors requirements.
  5. 72% of companies think that grassroots investment is sponsorship but companies with more employees are more likely to call it CSR. Investment is normally the best term to use. Whatever term you use it is important to be clear about the return that private sector organisations will require.
  6. The number one barrier to investing in community sport is the confusion and clutter of different organisations asking for money. Try and work with your local County Sports Partnership to coordinate efforts and make sure lots of sports groups aren’t all approaching the same companies.
  7. A tactic that can be used is to link elite level sponsorship into community level CSR. If a company is already sponsoring a national or international event or team then they will need to be able to leverage that sponsorship. This means they have to put money into grassroots level sport in order to make the most of their investment. It’s commonly stated that a company needs to spend 4 times what they invest in sponsorship nationally to get the most out of it.
  8. Most investors don’t know about matched funding. So you can increase your chances of getting funding by learning about these opportunities. To find out what options there are for matched funding talk to the Sport England investment team on 020 7273 1551.

This post is partially based on a piece of sponsorship research Ipsos Mori carried out for Sport England last year.