Magazine article Marketing

Events Sponsors Should Be Given a Sporting Chance

Magazine article Marketing

Events Sponsors Should Be Given a Sporting Chance

Article excerpt

Try this simple test. Who sponsored the last Rugby World Cup? Sony, right? Surely everyone remembers Sony's brilliant use of its sponsorship: the question at the start of each break with the answer provided at the end.

Actually Sony didn't sponsor the World Cup (Heinz was one of several "real" sponsors) but it did sponsor ITV's broadcasting of the event. It may seem a semantic difference to you, but I don't suppose Heinz and fellow sponsors felt quite so calm about the "hijacking" of "their" tournament.

Sponsorship of the vast majority of TV programmes only became permissible with the passing of the last Broadcasting Act, while the sponsoring of events has, of course, been around for a lot longer. The fact that there are now in effect two different branches of sponsorship has led to embarrassing incidents like this.

A more recent example of this form of double dealing exists in the Premier League - sponsored by Carling and brought to you on Sky by Ford.

Earlier this year, the Institute of Sports Sponsorship issued a ten-point voluntary "Code of Conduct", in part designed to end such anomalies. Two of the points concern the broadcasting of sponsored events, and suggest that, first, the event sponsor should always be given the opportunity to take up the broadcast sponsorship and, second, that the TV company be asked to dedicate a proportion of the income from sponsored broadcasting to the long-term benefit and development of the sport concerned.

Recent events do seem to be operating within the first of these conditions. Soccer's European Champions' League (the old European Cup) is sponsored as an event by Ford and Reebok among others; event sponsors were given the opportunity to include on-air credits during match broadcasting as a part of their involvement. …

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