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Title Sponsorship: What to Include? 

by | February 21, 2024

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Title sponsorship isn’t a topic I’ve delved into often on the blog, and today, I want to change that. After all, some of you reading this right now might have a title sponsorship on the horizon and feel uncertain about how to navigate it.

I’m here to help! This guide will explain title sponsorship in detail, then delve into what to include in your sponsorship property so you can grab the attention of your prospects and move your deal forward. 

What Is Title Sponsorship?

Title sponsorship has many names, including naming rights and presenting rights. The idea behind title sponsorship is selling the sponsor visible property assets, such as a podcast name, festival name, or building name.

That’s the gist of it: naming your sponsorship property after your sponsor.

Why do sponsors invest in naming rights? If you have a high-value property, the sponsor can reap massive exposure. Media publications and websites will pick up on the name and report on it, attendees will post about it on social media, and it will go into the annals of the event’s history.

Besides being highly visible, title sponsorship comes with the most benefits and activations, as it presents many engagement opportunities. 

That’s why naming rights are among the most expensive and valuable assets you can sell a sponsor, regardless of your industry or niche. 

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What to Include in Title Sponsorship

Since these are such lucrative sponsorship opportunities, you cannot afford to make mistakes. This section will detail precisely what you need in title sponsorship opportunities.

Name in Wordmark 

Naming rights are the most valuable if you include the brand’s name in your opportunity. 

For example, if a company was called Blue Enterprises and you held an art festival with naming rights, you’d call it Blue Enterprises Art Festival 2023 (or something catchier than that; it’s merely an example).

You don’t want to call it Art Festival 2023 by Blue Enterprises or Art Festival with Blue Enterprises’ logo underneath, as that’s not name in wordmark.

Name of wordmark enmeshes your sponsor’s name with the name of your event, program, or opportunity. 

However, when I explain name in wordmark to many sponsorship seekers, I’m surprised by how nervous it makes them. It surprises me because this is a very common and accepted practice in most marketplaces, so there’s no need to let it intimidate you.

I think the trepidation arises out of the long-term potential or the perceived lack thereof. If you attach a sponsor’s name to your event this year, but you two don’t work together someday, then what?

That’s simple. You just change the name back to what it was originally. It’s not that big of a deal and shouldn’t prevent you from seeking name in wordmark.

If you’re not willing to put name in wordmark, you’re not offering naming or title sponsorship. That doesn’t mean your opportunity is invaluable, but you shouldn’t call it name in wordmark when it isn’t that.

A Multiyear Arrangement

Speaking of the long-term potential of title sponsorship, while some sponsors may peter out after a year or two, most naming rights deals are long-term. 

If you’ve ever seen major brands pen multimillion-dollar deals with sports arenas or other huge events, you know these deals can go on for 20 years or longer.

Your title sponsorship duration might not be exactly that, or perhaps it is! (And if so, more power to you!) However, it should certainly be at least a few years.

Adopting a new name for a property, building, or event takes a long time. A multiyear agreement is the only way to go, with three to five years a good starting point. If you can get a 10-year deal, that’s best, but start with at least three years, then expand on your arrangement from there.

The more involved the naming rights, the longer-term the deal should be. For example, I once spoke to a property that changed the name of the street its corporate headquarters were on, naming them after the sponsor.

That kind of change doesn’t happen overnight, and it would be a pain to turn around and change the street name back in several years. In situations like that, a 10-year deal is all that makes sense, as it won’t be worth the time, expense, and effort otherwise. 


Another element title sponsorship must have is exclusivity. 

I think most of us assume that because you sign a deal with a sponsor, they’re exclusively your partner. However, you likely don’t abide by the same set of rules if your event, program, or opportunity has two dozen sponsors.

Your sponsor might have other partnerships, or perhaps they don’t. Unless it’s explicitly stated in the contract that they cannot work with others, there is no exclusivity.

In title sponsorship, foregoing exclusivity is a disaster in the making. It diminishes the effectiveness of the naming rights and can create confusion.

What type of exclusivity is right for your sponsorship property?

You might decide on category exclusivity. For example, if your sponsor is an automobile manufacturer, you cannot have any other automotive sponsors under the title sponsorship deal. 

Another type of exclusivity is foregoing competitor partnerships. In these scenarios, you’re usually not limited to sponsors based on category. For instance, if one of your sponsors is a high-end luxury brand, they might not mind if another sponsor is a lower-end automotive brand.

However, you can’t assume or guess what your sponsor will be okay with or even that they’ll have the same definition of exclusivity as you. Inviting other sponsors into the fold through title sponsorship without discussing exclusivity can kill your chances of extending into a multiyear deal.

Have the exclusivity conversation with your sponsor before signing any paperwork. Then, make sure the exclusivity terms are detailed in the contract.

Regular Fulfillment Reports 

If you’re in a three- or five-year engagement with a sponsor, you can’t wait until the end of your working relationship to provide a fulfillment report. 

You must deliver these reports more regularly, such as every year or even twice per year. My preference is quarterly reports but ask your sponsor about an appropriate frequency. 

If you don’t send fulfillment reports often enough, you won’t find out until the end of the working arrangement that you missed out on key deliverables. By then, it’s far too late to do anything about it. Your sponsor might ask for a refund because they paid for W, X, Y, Z, and you only gave them W and Y. 

That’s the best-case scenario. The worst-case scenario is finding yourself embroiled in a lawsuit. After all, when you sign a sponsorship contract, you agree to the deliverables. 

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If you don’t deliver, the sponsor could accuse you of being in breach of contract, and they technically wouldn’t be wrong. 

Frequent fulfillment reports will help you determine what your sponsor likes and what they don’t so you can amend the latter before you enter lawsuit territory.


Title sponsorship is all about naming rights, but that can’t be all you bring to the table. As I mentioned earlier, the engagement opportunities with title sponsorship are much higher than other types, so skipping the activations is a huge miss.

Name in wordmark is a good starting point but keep going. Ask your sponsor what they hope to achieve through the title sponsorship, then recommend assets and activations, including in-person and digital ideas.

There’s a step in between that: plugging the assets and activations into your valuation calculator to glean the value of your title sponsorship opportunity. 

You shouldn’t give away activations for free because you have a title sponsor. You wouldn’t do that for a cash or promotional sponsor, right? Of course not! It’s lunacy to even suggest it. 

The costs of your assets and activations become part of your overall sponsorship package and can significantly affect the value of your title sponsorship property.

Product and Services 

Title sponsorship sometimes requires companies or organizations (you) to switch to the sponsor’s products and services. 

You might need to use their toothpaste or–more significantly–change your bank or your company’s credit card supplier. You might have to update the food and drink menu or the furniture. It all depends on the sponsor’s industry.

Depending on the scope of the changes required and how easy they are to implement, these changes can be minor or major. 

I recommend always having a lawyer on your side when negotiating with sponsors, especially in title sponsorship, because it’s so encompassing and can involve substantial companywide or organization-wide changes.

A title sponsor doesn’t always require that you implement their products or services, but it’s not uncommon. It can throw you for a loop the first time a sponsor requests this, so I recommend you’re ready if it happens. 

VIP and Hospitality

Hospitality is a major part of title sponsorship, especially in crafting VIP experiences and opportunities. Perhaps the sponsor brings some of its customers, clients, or partners to your event or program. Maybe they ask for access to some of your athletes, thought leaders, or talent.

Sure, these opportunities require more time, thought, and effort but they can yield high-value sponsorship. Don’t leave hospitality and VIP arrangements out of the conversation with your title sponsor while you two negotiate. 

You’ll be glad you mentioned it! 

Tickets, Passes, Giveaways, and Contests

Free passes and tickets are quite common in title sponsorship, especially for employees, shareholders, executives, and VIPs. 

The same goes for contests with the sponsor’s product as prizes and giveaways. Title sponsors often want to get their product situated front and center of your audience, and a giveaway will always be a reliable method to do that.

Contests can also help a title sponsor collect your audience’s contact information, such as a name, phone number, and/or email address. 

Sampling Rights

On a related note, include sampling rights in your title sponsorship or the right to give away a sponsor’s product samples. 

Free samples can introduce your sponsor and their products to new audiences, increase lead generation, and inspire more sales. 

Bottom Line 

Title sponsorship, or naming rights, are far more than a sponsor’s name on a building or street or their logo next to your festival or sporting event. If done correctly, title sponsorship can be a high-value opportunity. 

You must often spend a lot to make a title sponsorship deal come to fruition, including the aforementioned naming changes to a building, updated signage, new event logos, the whole nine. 

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The money you can make from these deals due to the high-value assets and activations and the duration of the deal more than makes up for what you spend.

Allow me to make one point clear. Title sponsorship must be customized to your sponsor’s needs. You must still do discovery and plan to have many meetings following that up. Negotiations might take several sessions because these are bulky plans.

If you’re working on a title sponsorship but feel uncertain you’re checking all the boxes, you should book a strategy session with The Sponsorship Collective.