Before you dive in, if you are interested in sport sponsorship, check out these titles in our “sponsorship for sports” series:
- Resource Page for Sport and Athlete Sponsorship
- How to Write a Sports Sponsorship Proposal
- The Definitive Guide to Sports Fan Engagement
- Why is Sponsorship Important in Sport?
- The 7 Best Sports Sponsorship Activations
- The Rise of Insurance Companies in Sports Sponsorship
Compared to other areas of sponsorship, sports sponsorships tend to produce huge investments, often tens of thousands of dollars and sometimes millions of dollars. Much more so then, you must have a solid sports sponsorship valuation strategy in place. What do I recommend?
Here are 5 sports sponsorship valuation strategies to utilize in your sponsorship program:
- Create sponsorship properties
- Provide specifics for each asset
- Have current, detailed audience data
- Know your brand value
- Work with the sponsor to determine the most valuable assets
Valuing assets in sponsorship is often a stumbling block for my clients, yet making errors here can be a fatal flaw for your sponsorship program. This guide will tell you how to avoid those fatal flaws so your sports team can fulfill more of your goals through sponsorship!
5 Sports Sponsorship Valuation Strategies to Implement Today
Create Sponsorship Properties
At the start of your sports sponsorship asset creation process, I always recommend sitting down with key stakeholders and brainstorming. In the case of your sports organization, those stakeholders might include the owner of the organization as well as other major movers and shakers.
The point of the brainstorming session is to throw things against the wall and see what sticks. I tell my clients not to be too discerning about what the assets are at this point, as valuing them is where you’ll separate the wheat from the chaff.
You could end up tossing around 50, 100, maybe even 150 potential assets, which can seem overwhelming. Don’t panic yet. Some of those assets won’t work, either because their value is too low or–through discussions with the sponsor–you realize the asset isn’t really what the sponsor wants.
For the assets that survive, I recommend organizing them into properties. A property in sponsorship refers to a collection of similar assets.
For example, perhaps one group of assets you want to offer the sponsor is all about sports arena signage. In this property would be your sponsorship naming rights, exterior signage, interior logos and signage, etc.
Even a sports tournament can technically be its own property. Here are some other great asset property ideas that you can utilize for sports sponsorship:
- Fan appreciation events/days
- VIP events
- Races or marathons
You shouldn’t be afraid to whittle down your properties. It’s much better for you to have three superstar assets in a property than seven assets where two or three are great and the other four or five are so-so.
Another option you can do is calculate the value of all assets in a property and then assign the property a value as a whole. Do this for each property you’re offering.
You might look at some properties side by side and determine that assets in one property should be moved to another. That’s okay. You’re trying to get your sponsorship properties in tip-top shape, even if that takes some recalculating.
Provide Specifics for Each Asset
A while ago on the blog, I did a two-part series about sponsorship valuations. I had real sponsorship seekers just like you ask me their most burning valuation questions.
One of those questions that I think is pertinent here is about how detailed you should get when discussing your assets.
The answer, of course, is quite specific, but maybe not hyper-specific (at least not in your sponsorship menu).
Imagine this. You’re dining at a restaurant and browsing the menu. You come across a burger, and your interest is piqued, but that’s all the menu says. There’s just the one word: burger.
That naturally gives rise to a lot of questions. Are we talking hamburger or cheeseburger here? Are there any toppings? What size is the burger? Does it use beef or Impossible patties? Are fries included?
You wouldn’t feel very confident ordering a menu item that just says “burger,” right? And that’s exactly why your sports sponsorship assets menu should include more than just terms like “building naming rights” or “logos.”
What exactly constitutes the building naming rights? What size would a logo be and where would it go?
If your sponsor has to ask these sorts of questions, then your sports sponsorship assets menu is too bare-bones.
You need to provide more information, but there’s a fine line between adding helpful descriptors and writing a landing page’s worth of content for each asset. It’s fine if you want to detail your assets thoroughly and keep the information elsewhere, but you can’t fit that much info in your assets menu. It would look far too bloated.
Have Current, Detailed Audience Data
If you’ve read even a handful of posts on this blog, then you’ve probably heard me say it at least once. If not, then I’ll tell you now.
Your audience is the most valuable asset you can offer a sponsor.
Wait, your audience is an asset? That’s right, they are. After all, when a sponsor chooses a sports team or sports organization to partner with, they’re doing so to promote their products and services to your audience.
If your audience isn’t the kind who buys the products and services your sponsor sells, then it’s a poor match.
That’s why you need to put your audience data front and center in your sports sponsorship proposal, which will include your asset menu.
As I’ve discussed in my other sports sponsorship posts, you’re at an advantage when it comes to your audience data. You can usually review metrics like attendance records and merchandise sales to get a lot of the data you need on your audience groups.
To fill in any blanks in your data, send an audience survey. You can mail this out to your attendees and sports viewers. Each audience member who completes the survey is perhaps entered into a raffle for free sports tickets, VIP seats, or even a meet-and-greet with one of the star players.
You can choose what kind of prize you give away, but you must inspire your audience to do the survey by giving them a chance at a great reward.
Okay, so your audience data is current thanks to the survey, so let’s talk about making the data as detailed as it can be.
The way I recommend you do that is to niche down. That simply means that for every audience segment, you split them into as many hyper-specific groups as you can.
Think of it as straining food through a sieve of various sizes. As you make your way to the finer-meshed sieve, you get smaller and smaller food particles out of the sieve. When even those particles can’t fit through a sieve anymore, then you know you’ve filtered them down enough.
Another analogy I’m fond of is that of the Russian nesting doll. If each doll is one of your audience groups, you’d keep opening subsequently smaller dolls (segmenting your audience) until you reach the smallest doll (the smallest audience group).
I said in the last section that too many details about assets can muddy your assets menu. That is not the case with your audience. You want as many fine details as you can provide, ideally in a pie graph or a table.
Know Your Brand Value
Next, I want to talk about brand value, as it’s a handy valuation strategy for your sports sponsorship program. I’m not referring to brand awareness here, but rather, what you bring uniquely to the table.
Allow me to quote myself from my guide on sponsorship valuation: “Brand value is the additional benefit that your sponsors receive by reaching your audience through your property as opposed to other forms of media & marketing.”
As a sports team or organization, your brand value is a lot higher than many other sponsorship seekers. When a sponsor company partners with the local favorite team, of course the potential for your audience to convert is a lot higher.
Brand value isn’t something you just have. It includes a variety of factors, such as:
- Your knowledge of your audience
- Your audience’s loyalty to your sports team/organization
- Your reputation
- How unique your offerings are
- Your competition
- Your activation ideas
For each of those points, you need to assign yourself an honest percentage of how much you’re bringing to the table. Then you add up all the values to get a total brand value percentage.
I didn’t create this means of determining brand value, and it’s not a method that comes up all that often among my own clients, but it’s not a bad idea to have a firm grasp on your brand value as you proceed in your sports sponsorship program.
So what do you do with the percentage once you have it? You take the percentage and translate it to cents. Then you add that number of cents to each of your assets.
Few brands will have a 100 percent score, but let’s say you scored high at 90 percent. Now you can add 90 cents to each asset.
I know that doesn’t seem like much, but even if your asset was originally valued at a dollar, now it’s $1.92, so it’s almost a whole dollar more. When you add that up, it does lead to significantly higher-valued assets. You’re almost doubling your earnings due to your great brand value!
I can’t stress enough that you have to be honest about your brand value. If you say that you 100-percented everything, you’re artificially inflating the value of your assets.
A sponsor is always going to want to see how you came up with the asset value you selected. They’ll be able to tell that you boosted your brand value to get more money, and that will be the end of that deal.
This is also why I dissuade sponsorship seekers from copying asset menus they find online. Just because your sports competitors priced their assets one way doesn’t mean yours should be that same price. You might have a higher brand value, or perhaps they do. Either way, it’s going to be painfully clear to the sponsor that you copied someone else.
As you examine the market price for assets and calculate your brand value, make sure you document it. This way, you can prove your work. You’ll also have an asset valuation system that you can use for future sponsors.
Work with the Sponsor to Determine the Most Valuable Assets
My last sports sponsorship valuation strategy is this: customize your assets with your sponsor. They’ll choose your most valuable asset too.
Okay, what is the most valuable asset in your property? In all your properties? It’s the asset the sponsor says is the most valuable.
The sponsor company knows their pain points best. They can identify an asset that can help them solve a problem that perhaps you didn’t see the same way. The good news is that you can usually boost the value of that asset.
The bad news is that whatever asset you assumed was previously the most valuable will likely come down in price a bit. You also might have to retool your assets after painstakingly valuing them, but sometimes that’s just how it goes.
I’m not saying you should slash asset prices to please the sponsor. They might recommend a few price changes within reason. If you feel like the sponsor is asking for too much of a reduction, be sure to bring up your market research and clue the sponsor in on what an asset of that type is worth. They might not have even realized it themselves.
Sports sponsorship valuation is a tricky thing, but it doesn’t have to be so confusing anymore. The 5 strategies I covered today make asset valuation doable even if you’re a sponsorship beginner.
If you’re still struggling with valuations or other areas of your sports sponsorship program, make sure you sign up for my free training called How to Grow Your Sponsorship Program.
In this training course, I present my nine-part blueprint for sponsorship program growth, discuss the factors that influence a sponsor’s decision-making, and tell you which areas of sponsorship your time needs to go into.
Did I mention the training is free? Sign up today!
- About the Author
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Chris Baylis is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of The Sponsorship Collective.
After spending several years in the field as a sponsorship professional and consultant, Chris now spends his time working with clients to help them understand their audiences, build activations that sponsors want, apply market values to their assets and build strategies that drive sales.
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