Women’s Soccer World Cup 2019, Rugby World Cup 2023, Olympic and Paralympic Games Paris 2024, Roland-Garros, Tour de France… The calendar of sporting events in France is growing rapidly. This is also accompanied by an interest from companies in sports sponsorship. The objective of this article is to briefly present some concepts related to sports sponsorship: definition, marketing implementation and the return on investment.

Before talking about sports sponsorship, it is important to understand the difference between sponsorship and patronage. The first major difference lies in the objectives pursued through patronage and sponsorship. Sponsorship responds to an economic strategy to enhance the commercial value of the brand or products, while patronage responds to an institutional strategy to enhance the social value of the company. In other words, the objective of sponsoring is to sell (it is at the service of marketing) while the objective of patronage is to promote (it is at the service of the company’s institutional image).

Sponsorship as a component of marketing

“74% of French people think that sponsorship is useful for sport and 81% think that it makes brands more appealing.”

Sponsorship is part of what is known as the “marketing mix“, i.e. it clearly participates in a rational management of the company where the cost must be minimized for maximum efficiency. By definition, sports sponsorship is a communication technique that aims to persuade the public who attend an event of a link existing between this event and the communicating company in order to make the company, its products and possibly its brands known and to reap the benefits in terms of image.

It is a marketing tool at the service of the brand, a brand that can be defined as a promise made to the consumer to find in the branded product the advertised quality. Through sponsorship, the brand seeks to get as close as possible to consumers to maintain an emotional bond with them. The consumer spectator placed in a non-commercial situation is in confidence. They have more sympathy for the brand than in an explicitly, commercial situation since the sponsor has nothing to sell them directly in the context of the sporting event.

Implementation of sponsoring and promotion of actions

Sports sponsorship can be done basically in two ways:

◾ Athletes’ support

◾ Sporting events support

Measuring the return on investment

From an economic point of view, it is very important to evaluate the financial profitability of a sports sponsorship. Some companies use sponsorship to increase their turnover, others to increase their notoriety, or to develop their brand image. When we evaluate the return on investment, we must keep in mind the main objectives to better choose our indicators. Here are a few examples:

◾ Economic efficiency indicators:

◾ Exposure and audience indicators:

◾ Indicators of memorization and notoriety:

Assisted notoriety: it indicates a percentage of people who have cited the sponsors from an exhaustive list.

Spontaneous notoriety: percentage of people who cited the sponsors in the absence of a list.

Top-of-mind: it indicates the percentage of people who spontaneously cited the sponsor as the first sponsor.

According to the latest study conducted by Sporsora, sponsorship in France represents 4 and a half billion euros. The focus on sports sponsorship is justified by the fact that it represents about 2/3 of sponsorship in France. Approximately 11% of general information from television, radio and the web are devoted to sports information. As the media treatment of sport is becoming more and more important, more and more sponsors are attracted to this sector.