Magazine article Marketing

UK Limited by Its Parochial Stance on Sponsor Links

Magazine article Marketing

UK Limited by Its Parochial Stance on Sponsor Links

Article excerpt

1994 is set to be a wonderful summer for sports viewers. In addition to the traditional British fare of Wimbledon, Open Golf, cricket test matches, and world championship boxing, our TV screens have the bonus of enough major events to form a schedule in their own right: the World Cup, the XV Commonwealth Games from mid-August, and World Cup Athletics in early September. Key beneficiaries of over 500 hours of keenly-watched TV will be the sponsors of each of these events. These include household names such as Mars, McDonald's, Canon, Coca-Cola, General Motors, Gillette, Mastercard, Seiko, Fuji, Kodak and IBM.

An impressive corporate list, but not a single British-led company among them. Indeed, of the 27 current sponsors of these four events (some sponsors are involved in more than one) only six are European -- Philips, Grano Padano, Carlsberg, Mercedes-Benz, Nokia and Olivetti.

Why is there a predominance of US and Japanese companies? Is it that we lag behind in understanding the value and exploitation opportunities that events outside our own nation can bring? The Japanese have backed sports such as soccer and athletics which have not traditionally been part of their heritage. Similarly, US companies have supported cricket and soccer.

The fact that quality events are transmitted from overseas -- often with prime-time coverage -- enhances their effectiveness.

Led primarily by US corporations, we are at least seeing UK subsidiaries utilising Olympic and World Cup rights in UK advertising, although some have been tenuous rather than hard-hitting campaigns. …

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