40%….a huge number in the sports sponsorship world

I was in a sponsorship meeting the other day and heard a number that jumped at me like a linebacker seeing a fumbled football.

40%…this sponsor (brand) said that 40% of their sponsorship budget was reserved for digital campaigns & initiatives.

Wow…that is high. But overall, it had even more weight as I thought about the implications for the teams we work with.

If you aren’t offering your sponsor’s digital marketing opportunities at your games, you’re leaving money on the table.

A lot of money. A whopping 40% in some cases.

This makes sense if you look at where the market is trending on ad spend. 54% of the total ad spend in 2019 will be on digital platforms & initiatives.

Why? Well, they work.

Digital assets are trackable, grab attention, and to be honest more interactive than their traditional advertising counterparts.

This worries me in the sponsorship world. As we look to compete for brand dollars I can honestly say we’re losing. As the shift happens, we’ll sell less and less of our in-arena signage and rink boards as brands are looking to spend on things that truly grab fan attention. And those assets are digital.

Brands already are hitting us with the “We’re putting more money into Facebook ads this year. So we can’t spend what we used to.”

And honestly, can you blame them? If they have access to a better product, why would they spend on ours that doesn’t match today’s fan attention?

So strategically what can we do?

Start building up your digital assets TODAY in your proposals.

Facebook posts, digital content, whatever you can to build a foundation on as this shift starts.

It is now a race to build up your portfolio of digital assets to offer. Whoever has the most will win in the long run (and short run).

The most beautiful thing here is any team, no matter how small, can do this.

Do it one at a time, don’t expect to add 10 new assets in one year. Focus on one and test it out. See what works and double down on that.

In the arena, we at SQWAD help with this through digital contests where teams have seen as high as a 28X return on our cost through sponsorship revenue.

I bring that number up to show you all that brands see value in digital and are paying for it. If you can offer these assets, they will pay. Just by offering a digital contest like scratchers or trivia you can get a return of 28X.

Our goal is to help you grab these dollars easily by offering plug & play contests. We saw the shift coming and built the tools to help you grab those dollars.

Beat out the bigger competitors in your market by understanding this digital need.

Most of us have teams where there are bigger competitors for brand dollars, beyond the Facebook ads the brand can run themselves.

Sometimes it is a bigger team with more following & brand power in your market. Sometimes it is an entertainment option like a casino or zoo.

While most of these properties offer the traditional assets still, maybe they can because they have the brand power to do so. Maybe you don’t.

This brings me to the next step here, having digital assets can actually be your competitive advantage.

Especially if you’re in a market with other players who are not.

When I see the 40% I get excited. Because I know that if I can create the assets quickly and offer them before the other options in my market…I will win that 40% instantly just by being there with the assets they want.

Little by little I can steal the revenue from other options in my market with one swift blow.

Brand dollars follow fan eyeballs. This has never been truer than today. The data backs it up in where brands are putting those dollars.

Don’t be the team that looks back three years from now when that number is at 80% and says “I wish we built up more digital assets.” Understand the shift and take advantage of it.

If you’re looking for the tools to jump in, check out some of our digital contests and wins at SQWAD

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