Getting Started With Digital Sports Sponsorship Assets. 0–1

This week on The Inches Podcast we dive into how to get started when tackling adding digital to your sponsorship assets.

Most of the clients we chat with know they have to get digital integrated into their game day for multiple reasons. Sponsors asking for more…knowing fans are on their phones…etc.

But many have trouble with where to start. It sometimes feels like a HUGE task that is easy to push off.

To add value, Rich Franklin and I dive into how the Portland Winterhawks got started and a few tips to help you get started yourself.

You can listen to the full episode HERE. But below are a few bullet points from the episode:

First, as with other items we’ve brought up, what are the needs of your sponsor?

As with most things in sales, sponsorship, and digital…you need to find a need. Digital just for digital’s sake hurts you in the long run.

Before you dive into ideas make sure you know and have a need for the connection & engagement. For one reason, digital costs time/money/both. You need to make sure that your efforts here pencil out toward a goal.

On the sponsorship side, does it help reach the sponsor’s goal?

When getting started with a shift to digital, it is vital to have a need or why. That way you know where to start and have a reason to keep going and testing if things don’t go as planned at first.

Look at your current digital, to reach the need of your sponsor can you utilize some assets you already have, or do you start from scratch?

Most teams at the very least are on one or more of the social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram). As you look at what you are doing, can you add to them to reach the sponsor’s goal?

A great example Rich brings up is the Winterhawks jumping into Facebook Live, a feature of Facebook that allows you to put out a live video.

The Winterhawks have a great following on Facebook, but a sponsor was looking for more connections with that audience. So with an iPad, a beer can to prop it up, and 2 hosts the Winterhawks had 3 Facebook Live broadcasts during the playoffs to test.

This is a great example of looking at what they already have and adding to move more into having a wide array of assets to offer sponsors.

On the flip side with Toyota Trivia Live, a live trivia game they have during a break in the 2nd period, they were able to piggyback off the app but created a totally new digital asset to make sure that the sponsor’s goal was hit.

When you look at adding an asset toward a goal, always ask yourself “Do we have something we can piggyback off of, or do we need to create something new?”

Start with ONE campaign & asset

We see this a lot with teams. They see digital and think they need to jump in and add 100,000 different digital assets & activations.

The problem here is you may do 5 things OK, but you would rather do 1 thing GREAT.

If you do one thing GREAT you will learn in that process. The next asset you add will be better than the 1st. This will set you up for success.

Don’t bite off more than you can chew. If your team only has the bandwidth to do a Facebook Live show but not an Instagram Live show, that is fine. Do the FB Live show, learn, study how you can automate it, and then do the Instagram one.

Most digital crusades fail because they try and do 5 things before they have learned, get mediocre results, and then don’t continue because they or upper management don’t see the results. Make sure you are focusing on one campaign.

Test, Test, Test, Test…..and then Test

I can’t emphasize enough on this point. Everything on digital should be tested on a small scale so you can learn and adapt.

The big reason why is you have no idea how your audience & fans will adapt and take it in.

This is THE part of the process that makes some campaigns successful and others not.

Sometimes this test will take 1 day, sometimes a whole season. An example with the Winterhawks comes with Toyota Trivia Live. This was our first year with the activation and the fan base.

On one end we were constantly adjusting questions and marketing for it during the season. But after the season we looked at the data and found a huge item that drove usage…prizing.

Now with all the activations we run, we understand prizing is the most important part of our digital contests. It is THE thing that gets a large number of fans to play.

Had we given up in that first game when only a few fans played…we would not have figured this out.

Maybe you want to look at Tic Toc as a digital tool. Make a strategy/plan, test it, adapt, and test again. This is what separates decent from great campaigns & assets in digital.


Don’t put it off for any longer, make sure that you put the steps in to start today with upping your digital assets. Other than testing, this is the biggest flaw I see with teams not implementing.

It is really easy to say “we don’t have the bandwidth, funding, etc….we’ll look at this next season.” Every time you do that just understand that you are losing. Because someone competing for your brand dollars didn’t say that and started the journey.

Make sure you aren’t sitting here 3 years later wishing you had started in your tests.

Thanks for listening, be sure to check out The Inches Podcast each week for great topics around sponsorship, digital, and how the industry is shifting.



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