What Is Sponsorship

Before quantifying the value of sponsorship, it is imperative to have a clear definition of

what sponsorship means. Sports sponsorship is defined through the relationship of sport

properties and corporate partners. Sport properties are the rights holders of assets that can be sold

to corporate partners. Properties are usually teams, leagues, schools, competitions or events.

Corporate partners are companies or organizations that buy these assets to achieve their sales,

advertising, marketing, and brand goals.

Inventory items are typically classified in seven main categories. While the following list

is not an exhaustive list, it covers the primary sponsorship inventory items purchased by

corporate partners.

• Venue: While the most common form of inventory is signage, venues have a number of

inventory items, including naming rights deals, call-to-action campaigns on display

boards, luxury / hospitality suites, game tickets, and sales booths or tables.

• Traditional Media: Television, radio, and print (newspaper, magazines, and fliers)

comprise traditional media. The most common forms of advertising are a thirty second

advertising spot on television or radio along with print advertisements. Other common

activation elements include media billboards, product placement, on-air reads, and


• Digital and Mobile Media: Digital refers to advertising that occurs on a sport property’s

website or social media platforms. This normally includes digital billboards, videos, or

promoted social media posts. Mobile focuses on sponsorship inventory that can be

accessed on mobile devices. This usually involves geographic targeting that enables

properties and partners to target users in specific locations.

• Intellectual Property: The intellectual property of teams, leagues and individual athletes

is a valuable asset for corporate partners. The most common example is using a team or

league’s logo that is featured in an advertising campaign. For instance, Anheuser-Busch

InBev’s partnership with the National Football League (NFL) enables the company to

place NFL team logos on its Bud Light cans (Grossman, 2015). Having exclusive rights

to use intellectual property rights for a certain product or service category (i.e. Anheuser-
Busch has exclusive rights to the NFL spirits category) has been an attractive asset for

properties and sponsors. Buyers and sellers of sports sponsorship believe that this type of

inventory provides significant competitive advantage for the sponsor in the marketplace

(Grossman, 2015).

• Experiential: Corporate partners often want to activate sponsorships with events, booths,

or displays both inside and outside of the venue. This includes special events for

customers or employees at a venue on non-gamedays or player appearances at corporate


• Jersey: Jersey sponsorships occur when an organization’s brand or logo is placed on the

front and/or back of a jersey.