Events present a huge opportunity for brands to connect with large audiences, and sponsorship around sporting events or teams is becoming a critical strategy for companies and brands. For brands, however, it is no longer simply a matter of posting a sign in the stadium or placing an ad in a broadcast. Sponsors understand the importance of taking advantage of fans’ deep emotional attachment and engagement to their teams.
Below, we’ve highlighted some of the best sports sponsorships going above the status quo and creating a great fan experience.
Adidas and the World Cup
Adidas was one of the main sponsors of the 2014 World Cup Championship, as well as the provider of the majority of the equipment used and worn by each team. In addition, they provided the official match balls and used this to their advantage to connect with fans. Fans were first allowed to choose the name of the ball – “brazuca” an informal local term meaning “Brazilian” was chosen. Adidas fans could then follow “@Brazuca” on Twitter, which gave fans behind the scenes access to the World Cup through GoPro cameras that had been installed in each ball. This Adidas campaign became one of the most talked about brands during the World Cup by connecting fans to all aspects of the championship.
Pepsi and the Super Bowl
Pepsi has been the sponsor of the NFL Super Bowl for several years now and it has been one of the best ways for them to gain exposure. For the 2015 Super Bowl over 114 million viewers were tuned in to watch the game, but over 118 million tuned in to watch Katy Perry’s halftime show, making that year’s halftime the most watched Super Bowl halftime show in history. Pepsi engaged fans by creating limited edition products that were branded with Katy Perry’s name and were made available to viewers during the performance through apps and Twitter.
AT&T, Coke Zero, Capital One and the NCAA Basketball Championship
AT&T, Coke Zero and Capital One have been sponsors of the NCAA Basketball Championship for a while, so fans are used to seeing their logos and advertisements. In 2014, however, these three brands took their sponsorship to the next level by hosting the “March Madness Music Festival” – a 3 day music festival with plenty of popular artists all for free of charge to the public. AT&T’s director of corporate sponsorships described this festival as a way for fans to connect their passion for sports and music in a unique and engaging experience.
Brands are turning to events to engage with their fans, and sporting competitions or stadiums are an opportunity for them to do so on a large scale. Because of evolving technology and the way consumers are engaging with their teams and events, brands should also be engaged and open to new ways of communicating with fans. While the brand sponsorships above had different goals and target markets in mind, they focused on enhancing the fan experience while promoting their brand at the same time.