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Measuring Return on Investment (ROI) for Sponsorship in Professional Sports

Sport Sponsorship, Sponsorship ROI   |   Jan 18, 2024   |  by Hannah Shain

Sponsoring a sports team, league, or event is always a strategic decision, even more so when it comes to professional sports. The sports scene is one of the most lucrative sponsorships in marketing, with many brands investing extensively to attach their names to prestigious athletic clubs and major events. As such, it's essential for businesses to evaluate whether their investment in sport sponsorship is worth the cost. So how does one measure the return on investment (ROI) of sponsorship in professional sports leagues? In this blog, we'll discuss the assessment of sponsorship value in professional sports leagues and dive into methods for measuring ROI.

Sponsorship Value Assessment:

In assessing sponsorship value and ROI, it's essential to define what you hope to achieve from the investment. There are several sponsorship objectives, and these differ from company to company. Sports team involvement can build brand awareness and image, assist sponsorship, add client hospitality opportunities, and lend credibility to the product or service being promoted. Understanding what these objectives are is the first step in assessing the value of your sponsorship.


Defining ROI:

While measuring the impact and evaluating sponsorships may differ across varying categories, the typical approach to calculating ROI focuses on how much incremental revenue it generates. Incremental revenue represented by an event is then balanced by the cost of sponsoring it. One metric for measuring ROI would be to examine the amount of business generated from sales within the given business sector surrounding the sponsorship. Sporting events represent one of the most natural venues for converting entertainment exposure into business development.


The Role of Social Media:

In today's world, it's hard to overestimate the importance of social media in driving brand awareness and engagement. Sponsorship has a lot to do with brand marketing and how it is perceived by the target audience. Consumers interact with brands through social media, providing a disproportionately large ROI when it comes to sports marketing. The feedback brands receive through monitoring social media hashtags, mentions, and conversations can provide insight into how well the brand is being perceived and what impact the sponsorship is having.


Sponsorship Measurement Tools:

Sponsorship assessment measurement tools such as Relo Metrics have been developed to help businesses effectively assess their sponsorship value and ROI. More commonly used in sports sponsorship for major leagues and events, technology platforms analyze data and provide sophisticated insights into whether businesses' sports sponsorships offer value and whether they are generating the required ROI. The tools do differ between platforms in the insights they offer, but they all include tracking and benchmarking to support effective decision-making.


The Importance of Long-Term Evaluation:

Measuring the value of sponsorship in professional sports leagues goes beyond just a single event. Evaluating the ROI should occur over the long term. The continuity of a brand sponsorship helps build trust. As such, it's more important to maintain consistency in messaging across multiple engagements than just achieving short-term gains. Thus, there should be a balance of tracking each individual event's success whilst measuring the longer-term impact. The longer-term ROI metric provides a perception of investment accountability.


Evaluating ROI and measuring sponsorship value is a crucial process in sports sponsorship marketing. It's key to understand what your sponsorship objectives are, defining ROI, and assessing the role that social media can play in sponsorship evaluation. Investing in the right sponsorship measurement tools will enhance the ROI evaluation process. Most importantly, evaluating sponsorship value is an ongoing process in professional sports leagues that goes beyond just one event sponsorship. Maintaining consistency in messaging and long-term engagement is crucial in building trust and achieving a successful ROI.

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