Best Practices for Venue Sports Sponsorships


If you attended a live sports event in recent years, you have without a doubt seen an abundance of brand logos scattered throughout the venue. From scoreboard commercials to interactive displays, in-stadium advertising is everywhere. In recent years, the opportunities available for brands to connect with fans through innovative advertising mediums have grown exponentially. Advertisers are limited only by their imaginations when it comes to connecting with fans and creating a lasting, memorable impression.

With more and more amazing in-venue opportunities available, it’s important to understand the best practices so you can maximize your return on investment. In this post, we'll discuss some of the key considerations when investing in in-venue sponsorships and how they can help you achieve your goals.

Find audience alignment

To ensure your campaign maximizes its returns for a venue sponsorship, it is important to find audience alignment. By selecting a sporting event that typically attracts your target demographic, your campaign is more likely to resonate with fans. For example, the car manufacturer Mercedes would be unlikely to benefit from sponsoring an event like a rodeo as their audience may not have an interest in such a sport and those interested in rodeo are not necessarily interested in Mercedes. Rather, they would select activities and events that appeal more strongly to their target customer base - perhaps exclusive auto shows or trendy film festivals. Aligning your brand's message (and reputation) with the right events can make all the difference in making a successful impact through sponsorships.

At the same time, it is important to recognize that audience alignment does not have to be only about connecting with your current, best customers. If you are launching a new product or service to a new industry or segment then audience alignment can be connecting your brand to a new audience.

View the long-term

It is important for businesses to be aware of the long-term benefits of investing in venue sponsorships. Forging a deeper connection among customers by being present for multiple events can be almost like planting a seed. With each passing event, that seed grows and develops into something even more special. Continued exposure to your brand has the potential to form a long lasting organic bond between customers and businesses.

Such relationships not only bring greater recognition and awareness to the brand in question but also create word-of-mouth referrals, drawing other customers towards the same events which further solidifies your presence as an experienced venue sponsor. For example, Germania Insurance’s in-venue sponsorship with the Texas Rangers has positioned the company not just as an insurance provider, but also as a part of the north Texas community. This aligns the company with the team, showing fans that there is a shared fabric between their favorite MLB team and the local insurance provider.

Align with the team

Sports fans have an unparalleled passion toward their favorite teams and athletes, making sponsorship opportunities at sports venues incredibly lucrative. While there are many types of sponsorship campaigns that can be done to reach target audiences, aligning with the team on its messaging is perhaps the best practice for long-term success. Establishing a shared affinity between you and your audience builds a connection that’s difficult to replicate elsewhere.

For example, a TexMex restaurant offering fans in attendance of a basketball game a free taco when the home team scores more than 100 points is a great way to align with the team. The team succeeds and fans have reason to think of the brand. This positive sentiment is golden! Delight your fans by emphasizing messages such as loyalty, nostalgia, and passion to show that you have a similar commitment to their team or athlete as they do. This will create an instant bond with them and your campaign will see returns.

Go against the grain

Sports venues offer the perfect opportunity for sponsors to reach their target audience in a fun and exciting way. The best way to maximize impact from sporting events is to get creative. Consider veering away from the standard color palettes and messaging in lieu of something more bold and attention grabbing. Taking a position on the latest trends can be an extremely effective way to immediately grab your viewers' attention and connect with them. Going against the grain is often a popular strategy for a successful venue sponsorship.

Make it interactive and fun

Attention spans are short, so businesses need to make an impact when and where they can. One way to achieve this is by having campaigns that are interactive and fun. This not only captures the audience’s attention, but encourages them to interact with your brand and take something away after they leave the venue. Sponsors can offer social media engagement, kiosk surveys, or discounts for participation to ensure audiences are engaged. At AT&T Stadium, an in-concourse kiosk uses enhanced-reality to allow fans to “take” a picture with their favorite Dallas Cowboys player.

When audiences have fun at venues, they tend to remember it much longer than simply glancing at a static ad or sponsorship placement. Crafting an interactive campaign as part of your sports sponsorship strategy is a practice that all sponsors should take into consideration.

Test and iterate

The sports advertising industry is competitive and it's increasingly difficult to make sure your venue stands out in the crowd. To overcome this, businesses must get in the habit of making data-driven decisions. Executing a successful sponsorship campaign requires attention to detail and educated decisions, which means finding out how the data impacts the success of marketing strategies. Don’t just settle for what works.

Maximize Your In-Venue Sponsorships

Sponsoring a sports venue is a great opportunity to reach your target audience in a unique and interactive way. By taking the time to produce creative campaigns and understand what viewers are looking for, businesses can capture attention. With this in mind, it may be beneficial to find a partner to help. At Cast Iron Media, we strive to be that trusted partner and to help businesses engage with targeted audiences both at home and inside the stadium. Contact us to discuss how we can help you craft your in-venue sponsorship campaign.

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