By Asaph Mwebaze
What do sponsors want? If you’re asking yourself this question especially in the context of Uganda football, this is what am going tackle and expound on this week.
There is no diction or written rule that a company or an organization must get into a sponsorship/partnership with your club or team, but your sponsorship opportunities should be presented as a win-win relationship.
In this article, I will deal with five key motivations for brands seeking sponsorship. Keeping these in mind can help your clubs reach out to sponsors.
Get brand awareness
Brands or companies will often sponsor a club so that they can get in front of their target customer. This is especially true when they’re relatively new to the market and hope to introduce the club fans to their product or service.
In the case of Uganda most companies will get into partnerships if they see an opportunity to tap into the club fans. The partnership between the Uganda Cranes with telecommunication giants MTN and currently Airtel is a great example.
Newcomers or smaller companies seek out smaller partnerships with more affordable sponsorship fees and will demand usually a lot from the club.
But an established brand might also want to sponsor your club in an effort to reach a new target audience.
Increase sales of a product
For some sponsors, brand awareness isn’t enough. For them to sponsor a football club, they’ll want to put their product or service in the hands of their customers usually by offering them a free sample.
Winning these sponsors, though, depends heavily on your ability to fulfil your agreement, some sponsor will be interested in the numbers of fans that attend games or in recent times how many people are following the club on social media platforms.
Food and beverage sponsors aren’t interested in opportunities that forbid them to serve food or drink to a club’s matchday crowd, that’s why people get problems with beer companies.
Reposition their brand
Unlike other forms of marketing and advertising, a football club can help alter the public perception of a brand in an incredibly impactful way.
The Emirates Airlines getting involved with teams like Arsenal, AC Millan and Real Madrid, placed them at the front of brand names in the industry ahead of aristocrats like British Airways and KLM.
In Uganda teams like KCCA FC, Sports Club Villa and Express FC if organized well could put themselves in line for better and more strategic partnerships.
Even when Hyundai made good cars for years, the perception in world was that they did not. So, they started sponsoring golf tournaments and clubs like Chelsea, Roma, Atletico Madrid and Olympic Lyon to foster their brand.
It’s one of the reasons why Hyundai is competing directly and even winning in some markets against Honda and Toyota.
Football clubs have to position themselves in a way as to be a solution to the marketing problem of the sponsor.
Understanding your potential sponsor’s competition is very important. Not only can the football club help a brand reposition their product or service, it’s also an opportunity to get ahead of their competition. A football club can help a brand get a big market share in business.
This can be seen with the partnership of Betway with Onduparaka in Uganda or StarTimes with KCC FC. Betway leapt ahead of other gaming companies in the country while StarTimes also crept forward a head of other Digital TV service providers.
Football clubs are moving billboards, especially when they traverse the country for away games. The sponsor brands the team shirts worn by the team and fans, team bus and press conferences before and after games.
Last but not least, the motivating factor for brands seeking to sponsorship and partnerships with football clubs is about more than just making money.
Instead, they’ll want to sponsor a club simply because it will align them to a cause or mission their customers are passionate about. For example, in Uganda most banks are more likely to sponsor institutional clubs because of the transaction of these institutions with them.
Clubs like Police FC, Maroons (prisons) and Simba (army) can benefit from this kind of arrangement. The Brands are trying to give back to the communities they are dealing with.
Many brands will tell you this is one of the key reasons they sponsor football clubs or teams. They want the world to know that they care about fans and the communities where the teams originate.
The author is a CAF B licensed coach he also holds a Bachelor’s of Commerce in Accounting and Finance degree and a Master of Arts in Public Administration.