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A-Z Guide: Glossary of Key Definitions in Sports Marketing and Sponsorship

by | May 2, 2024

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Table of Contents

Navigating through the intricate world of sports marketing and sponsorship can be daunting. But we’ve created a glossary that comprises all the commonly used terms in the niche. You can be a seasoned professional or just dipping your toes into the sponsorship game, but you are sure to find terms to broaden your vocabulary and make you a pro. 

You no longer have to wonder what to call a certain marketing campaign or how to professionally phrase your sponsorship proposal with our extensive guide. 

Don’t forget to bookmark this page, as we constantly update it with new terms. We’ve added a table of contents to help you navigate the glossary easier. 

What Is Sponsorship?

Sponsorship is a business relationship between a sponsor and a sponsee. A sponsor is usually a company or an organization that provides financial support in exchange for promotional opportunities during an event or for a team or a person. 

The monetary exchange benefits sponsors with recognition and brand visibility, and sponsees gain the resources to hold a conference or equip their teams. 

A sponsorship is a mutual and beneficial agreement between two or more parties that goes beyond traditional advertising. It’s often a long-term relationship that aids sponsors in reaching out and connecting with their target audience directly. 

If you want to learn more about successful sponsorship deals and secrets to making lasting connections with top brands, check out our blog for practical tips



Above-the-line is an advertising tactic in sports marketing that targets a broader audience and not one group in specific, for example, through launching TV commercials before or during the event.  


Activation is the process of bringing a sponsorship to life through various marketing initiatives. It aims to “activate” the target audience to engage with the sponsor. This can be done through digital advertising, in-stadium promotions, or through organizing contests involving the attendees. 

Agency Effect

The agency effect is an agency or an intermediary representing their clients, who can be a team, person, or brand. Their job is to negotiate beneficial deals by leveraging their expertise and skills. 


A sponsorship agreement is a formal contract that outlines the terms and conditions of a sponsorship deal.

Ambush Marketing

Ambush marketing is a marketing strategy in which a sponsor takes advantage of an event without paying the sponsorship fee. It can be done by launching a marketing campaign that indirectly links a sponsor with the event.

Arts Marketing

Arts marketing is a strategy that associates a brand or a sponsor with a cultural performance. Since music has been a big part of major sporting events, a sponsor can decide to link its brand with an upcoming concert that may be happening during a break. 

Audience Segmentation

Audience segmentation is the act of dividing a target audience into smaller groups based on specific characteristics such as demographics, interests, or behaviors. Segmentation helps identify the target audience of their events and whether they match the audience of their potential sponsors. 



Below the line is a strategy that targets a specific segment of an audience to promote products or services. This strategy can be done through utilizing direct mail, digital marketing, and sponsorship activation, as we’ve mentioned earlier. 

Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement (BANTA)

BANTA, as the full name suggests, is a way out of a failed negotiation or unaligned agreement. It’s an alternative that a negotiating party can take. 

Best and Final Offer (BAFO)

BAFO is a term you will come across often when working with sports events, as it is the finest offer a sponsor can receive. 

Brand Activism

Depending on the sports event, one of your sponsors may be more interested in conveying their values and making an environmental stand rather than in sales profits of brand products. Brand activism can be related not only to political issues but also to equality, justice, and environmental sustainability. 

Brand Ambassador

A brand ambassador in sports marketing is a person hired by a company to represent and promote its brand, often through endorsements and reputation.

Brand Equity

Brand equity is the perceived value of a brand that is based on customer loyalty, awareness, and overall perception. 

Brand Experience

Brand experience is the overall perception and interaction that consumers have with a brand, including all in-person and online touchpoints and interactions.

Brand Image

Brand image is the perception that customers have about the brand. In terms of sports marketing, the brand image of an athlete is shaped by their performance and lifestyle. 


Branding is the process of creating a unique identity and image for a product, service, or organization.

Broadcast Analysis

Broadcast analysis in sports marketing is the act of examining the performance and efficiency of communication means during an event. This could include the evaluation of how consumers perceive the message and to what extent they are engaged with the brand. 

Buzz Marketing

As the name suggests, buzz marketing is about creating a “buzz” in sports marketing and giving consumers a topic to talk about, especially when a new product or service is introduced. 


Cause Marketing

Cause marketing efforts center around a corporate agency making connections with a nonprofit organization, often to drive engagement around the mutually agreed topic (e.g., social justice or environmental issues). 


Clutter refers to the overwhelming presence of advertisements or promotional content bombarding an audience. An example is an excessive display of sponsorship signage or frequent commercials of the same brand. 


Co-sponsors are multiple sponsors collaborating on a single sponsorship initiative or event.

Community Engagement

Community engagement involves the local community in sponsorship activities to build relationships and support.

Competitive Advantage

A competitive advantage is a unique selling point of a brand that sets it apart from competitors. 


In sports marketing, congruence is a perceived alignment between a sponsor and a sports entity. When this alignment is strong, it enhances the credibility and appeal of sponsorship efforts to the target audience.

Content Marketing

Content marketing is the process of creating and distributing valuable, relevant content to attract and engage a target audience.

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)

CSR is a company’s commitment to ethical business practices and contributing positively to society.

Cost/Benefit Ratio

A cost-per-benefit ratio compares the expense of a sponsorship campaign and the results it yields during the sports event. 

Cost Per Thousand (CPM)

CPM is a common metric used in advertising to calculate the cost per thousand impressions of an ad.

Cost Per Point (CPP)

CPP is another metric used in sports marketing to calculate the cost efficiency per point or, in other words, per target audience reach. 


Cross-promotion is a collaboration with another brand to promote each other’s products or services.

Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

CRM is a process in which brand owners cultivate loyalty relationships with their customers, connecting with them and retaining them. 

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Demographics are statistical data relating to the population, such as age, gender, income, and location.

Digital Marketing

Digital marketing efforts utilize digital channels such as websites, social media, email, and search engines.

Direct Marketing

Direct marketing is promotional efforts that directly communicate with consumers, often through mail, email, or telephone.

Discovery or Exploratory Session

In sports marketing, a discovery or exploratory session entails engaging with potential sponsors or partners to gain insights into their objectives and requirements. These sessions serve as a foundational step in establishing the framework for a fruitful partnership.


Distribution is the process of making products or services available to consumers through various channels.



Engagement in sports marketing is the Interaction and involvement between a brand and its audience, often measured through likes, shares, comments, and other metrics.


Sports marketing often uses endorsement when a celebrity or an influencer shows their support or approval for a product, service, or brand.

Event Marketing

Event marketing is based on promoting a brand through participation or sponsorship of events, such as sports games, concerts, or festivals.

Experiential Marketing

Experiential marketing is a strategy that creates memorable brand experiences to engage consumers on a personal level. This can be done through organizing one-to-one meetups with athletes or dedicating an area of a stadium to fan zones. 


Fair Market Value

Fair market value is the approximate cost that a buyer and seller would deem acceptable in an open market. Examples of it can be the expense of sponsorship packages, media rights, or merchandise.

Fan Engagement

Fan engagement involves strategies and activities aimed at connecting with and engaging fans in the sponsorship experience.


In sports marketing, frequency means the number of times an advertisement or message is exposed to a target audience.


Fundraising is a process of raising money for a charitable cause or organization through sponsorship, donations, or events.


Guerilla Marketing

Guerilla marketing is a strategy that utilizes creative yet affordable tactics to gain brand exposure. In terms of a sports event, guerilla marketing can be inviting a famous athlete or placing a mind-blowing advertisement in the stadium. 



Hospitality is providing entertainment, accommodations, and perks to clients, partners, or VIPs as part of a sponsorship package.



Impressions are the number of times an advertisement or message is displayed, regardless of whether it is clicked or not.

Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing is a strategy that involves collaboration with individuals who have a large and engaged following on social media to promote a brand or product.

Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC)

IMC manages all channels of communication with consumers and ensures the message is consistent. Types of IMC include commercials, in-stadium advertisements, sales, direct mail, etc. 


Integration refers to seamlessly incorporating a brand or sponsor’s message into content or programming.

Intellectual Property Rights

IP rights protect intellectual property, such as names, logos, and trademarks. In order to use a sports team logo, that team first has to sell its IP rights to an advertising agency. 


Joint Venture

A joint venture is a business arrangement where two or more parties collaborate to undertake a specific project or business activity.


Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

KPIs are metrics used to evaluate the success of marketing campaigns and sponsorship activities.


Lead Scoring

Lead scoring is a strategy in sports marketing utilized to assess prospects (sponsors) based on a scale reflecting their perceived value to the organization. Factors influencing lead scoring may include company size (for sponsors), past purchasing patterns, and the extent of interaction with marketing content.


Licensing is a process of granting permission to another party to use a brand’s intellectual property, such as logos, trademarks, or characters, in exchange for a fee or royalty.

Loyalty Program

A loyalty program is a marketing strategy that rewards customers for their repeat purchases or engagement with a brand.



Make-goods refer to extra advertising slots provided to an advertiser to make up for any deficiencies in fulfilling the terms of the original agreement. This typically occurs when the agreed-upon number of impressions or viewership targets are not met as promised.

Media Equivalencies

Media equivalencies are an estimated value of exposure that was not ordered by a brand. Examples of it can include media coverage online and in the newspaper, mentions on social media platforms, and so on. 


Merchandising is a process of selling branded products or merchandise featuring a company’s logo or image.

Mobile Marketing

Mobile marketing focuses on reaching consumers on their mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets.


Naming Rights

Naming rights are the exclusive right to name a venue, event, or property in exchange for sponsorship funding.


Networking refers to building and maintaining relationships with individuals and organizations in the industry for mutual benefit.

Niche Marketing

Niche marketing targets a specific segment of the market with specialized products or services.

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Out-of-Home Advertising (OOH)

OOH advertising is typically displayed in public spaces, such as billboards, transit vehicles, or digital screens.



Partnership is a collaborative relationship between two or more parties to achieve shared goals or objectives. In sports marketing, it can be a sponsor and sponsee partnering together in exchange for mutual benefits. 

Pass-Through Rights

Pass-through rights are temporary transfers of rights to an advertising agency to use the brand’s logo.

Presenting Sponsor

A presenting sponsor is the primary sponsor of an event or initiative, often receiving prominent branding and recognition. Also known as the primary sponsor. 

Product Placement

Product placement is an integration of branded products or references into entertainment content, such as movies, television shows, video games, or sports events.



Reach is the total number of people exposed to a marketing message or advertisement. Examples include viewers of a sports game, ads on social media, and event attendees.  

Return on Investment (ROI)

ROI is a measure of the profitability of an investment relative to its cost, often expressed as a percentage.

Return on Objectives (ROO)

ROO measures the non-monetary performance of a sponsorship campaign in terms of exposure, brand loyalty, and level of engagement. 



Sampling refers to the distribution of free samples of a product to consumers to encourage trial and purchase.

Search Engine Marketing (SEM)

SEM is marketing efforts that increase visibility and traffic to a website through search engine optimization (SEO) and paid advertising.

Sell Rights

Sell rights are the rights that allow the display of advertising that is associated with a brand.  


Signage is on-site advertising that can be in the form of a banner, billboard, or digital display. 

Social Media Marketing

Social media marketing leverages social media platforms to promote a brand or product. Typically done through platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn.


A sponsee is a property that receives financial support from a brand that is looking for promotional opportunities during a sports event.  Sponsee can be an organizer of the event, an athlete, a team, etc. 

Sponsorship Asset

A sponsorship asset refers to any element or property that a sponsor can leverage to promote its brand, such as signage, logos, or hospitality opportunities.

Sponsorship Category

A sponsorship category is the specific segment or industry that a sponsor operates in, often used for targeting and differentiation.

Sponsorship Entitlement

Sponsorship entitlement is the rights and benefits granted to a sponsor as part of a sponsorship agreement.

Sponsorship Exclusivity

Sponsorship exclusivity is the degree to which a sponsor has exclusive rights within a certain category or industry.

Sponsorship Fee

A sponsorship fee is the amount of money a sponsor pays to benefit from an offered package. 

Sponsorship Fit

A sponsorship fit means the alignment between a sponsor’s brand and the sponsored event in terms of values, target audience, and marketing objectives.

Sponsorship Fulfillment

Sponsorship fulfillment is the delivery of the commitments and promises outlined in a sponsorship agreement.

Sponsorship in Kind

Sponsorship in kind refers to providing goods or services instead of monetary support as part of a sponsorship agreement.

Sponsorship Levels

Sponsorship levels are the tiers of sponsorship packages that offer different benefits and prices. Typically, the higher the level, the better and costlier the package is. 

Sponsorship Portfolio

A sponsorship portfolio is a collection of past partnerships and events that a company has worked on.

Sponsorship Proposal

A sponsorship proposal is a document outlining the details of a sponsorship opportunity, including benefits, costs, and deliverables.

Sports Marketing

Sports marketing refers to promoting products or services through sports-related activities, events, or partnerships.

Strategic Alliance

A strategic alliance is a formal agreement between two or more organizations to pursue common goals while remaining independent entities.

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Target Audience

The target or sponsorship audience is the specific group of people that a marketing campaign or sponsorship initiative aims to reach. 


User-Generated Content (UGC)

UGC is content created by consumers rather than brands, often shared on social media platforms.



In sports marketing, value means the worth of a sponsorship partnership. It takes into consideration things like audience reach, advertising capabilities, and other benefits. 

Venue Marketing

Venue marketing is a method of promoting the venue itself, e.g., a stadium or a conference hall. 

Viral Marketing

A viral marketing technique aims to spread information rapidly and exponentially through word-of-mouth or social sharing.

Virtual Signage

Virtual signage is digital advertising that runs commercials during a sports event. 


Word-of-Mouth Marketing

The word-of-mouth marketing strategy is based on promoting a product or service through recommendations from satisfied customers, friends, family, or influencers.