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Ben Hayes - Charlton Athletic programme

Football still top for sponsorship

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Football still remains the most sponsored sport in terms of the sums of money paid out.  The figures suggest that it earned $2714m in 2011, followed by the Olympics at $1275m.   American football earned $1085m, followed by Formula 1 and NASCAR racing at just under $600m each.   Companies from emerging countries are increasingly getting into sponsorship.

Historically, sponsorshop was about brand exposure and media exposure and those still remain important drivers, especially for companies selling to personal consumers.   In particular, it has been a way of showing that a long-established brand is not stuffy and old fashioned.

However, the agenda can be different for businesses that sell to other businesses, so-called B2B companies.  Their main goal may be to build client relationships by offering hospitality at a prestige event.

Companies are also increasingly in usiing sponsorship as a means to showcase social responsibility programmes and this has led to an increasing interest in grassroots sport.   The opportunity to access social media has had a reinforcing effect on this trend.

In football, an important trend is for top clubs to divide up their sponsorship opportunities to maximise revenue.   For example, Manchester United has a separate reserve team sponsor (although some clubs can't afford to run a competitive reserve team!)