The universal breadth and appeal of sports continues to present brand sponsors with significant upside, both through exposure and how well consumers regard brands’ involvement. Combined, sports activations are doing more than boosting brand awareness—they’re leading to higher conversion rates.
Higher conversion rates are a reflection of:
- Brand sponsorships have increased following the 2020 global ad withdrawal
- Fans have high levels of trust in sponsorships
Advertising for brands increased in 2021 with increased emphasis on radio and television. SME Sports also reported that there was a 107% global increase in sponsorship spending during the first part of 2021. The activations also increased while the world’s sports rebounded throughout the year.
Fan perspective: The increased investment in sports sponsorships is likely to be a wise decision. Consumers regard brand sponsorships at sporting events as highly trustworthy. Our Trust in Advertising Study found that only people’s recommendations and websites branded ranked higher in consumers trust.
Combining the trust factor with strong correlations between purchase behaviour and visible sponsorship messaging, brands stand to win. SME has found that sponsors drove an average 10% rise in purchasing intent in their fanbases when compared to 100 other sponsorships. The sponsorships were in seven countries and twenty industries.
This trend is expected to continue as sponsorships become more important throughout all stages of the marketing process, from awareness building to conversion. SME’s experience base shows that on average, a 1-point gain in brand metrics such as awareness and consideration drives a 1% increase in sales. The efficiency of sales activations is also possible with upper-funnel efforts.
Sports sponsorship activations are now more than just raising brand awareness. They convert customers to clients. SME measures the rise in purchase intention across 13 industries during the pandemic. This is more than brand recognition among those who have been exposed to sponsorship. SME anticipates that brands will return to balanced marketing strategies in many industries. However, rights holders and sponsors have improved their ability generate calls-to-action.
Looking across the industry landscape shows that the cryptocurrency industry has increased its sponsorship presence in the last two years more than any other sector. This is mirrored by its greater exposure in other media areas, like TV and social media.
Crypto, despite its recent proliferation into consumers’ lives, has some ground to gain before becoming ubiquitous with consumers and their finances. The time has come for them to shift consumers’ intent from awareness to intention, beyond branding efforts through logo patches and stadium name rights. The sports industry is well-positioned to do this because awareness and intent tend to be higher in sports fans than they are among the general population.
Just as with any brand, Crypto Brands will need to solidify and develop their relationship with customers from one-way communication to two-way, backed by trust-building and education.
Get more information from our Global Sports Marketing Report 2022.