A glorious summer of value?
The final day of the Paralympic Games saw the curtain fall on an extraordinary summer of sport in Europe, from Euro 2012 in Poland and Ukraine, to an amazing Tour de France and on to a stunning Olympic and Paralympic Games. As the Paralympic flame was passed on it started me thinking about which sponsorship assets provided the most value in terms of visibility. Let’s take a look at the evidence.
Sky has spent around 15m Euros a year sponsoring their UCI pro tour cycling team, an amount that doesn’t include activation. To be a main sponsor of the Euro 2012 competition in Poland and Ukraine cost around 30m Euros, increasing to 50m with the media package, but this covered the entire four-year competition cycle. Likewise, the 70m to 80m Euros cost of being an IOC top programme sponsor covers four years (winter and summer games).
Taken on an annual basis, these sums are close enough for a useful comparison of the visibility that was achieved.
Sky certainly reaped the benefits when Bradley Wiggins crossed the line on the Champs Elysées. I’ve heard it suggested this was down to good luck, but it had been clear for some time that Wiggins and his team-mates were potential winners and Sky simply used that intelligence to inform their decision. On the other hand whilst Sky is well known in the UK, Italy and Germany, it’s not a household name in many of the countries where the Tour is shown, so much of the media coverage was of little real value. (I once had a client who had sponsored a Pro Tour cycling team and proudly achieved an estimated €35 million media coverage – but unfortunately had overlooked the fact that many people had no clue what their brand did.)
A key factor in the Sky success was the ability to name the team, something that was not available for Euro 2012 sponsors. Whilst the championship secured deals with local and international brands it is doubtful whether any achieved the visibility of the Sky cycling deal.
London 2012 was of course by far the biggest event of the summer and most readers of Viewpoint will know that Olympic sponsorship comes in three flavours:
- top rank: deals covering two Olympic games (winter and summer)
- Local Organising Committee deals for the event in the home country
- sponsorship emanating from National Olympic Committees
An Olympic sponsorship is all about association with the ‘five rings’ symbol and its intrinsic values. Since the main event was broadcast on national terrestrial TV channels there was no chance of a media package, and with few stadium banners, the only sponsor I personally noticed was Omega, who achieved real visibility at the televised athletics events. Other sponsors were left to promote awareness through live events, digital media and TV advertisements, with varying results.
With a wealth of TV and print coverage constantly repeating the team name, was Sky's sponsorship of the winning Tour de France team the smartest sponsorship of the summer? Is a four–year association with one of the world’s most iconic symbol of fair play and human endeavour a better long-term deal? Or would you put your money on a ‘classic’ sponsorship of the Euros, offering media packages and brand visibility in every country that tuned in?
I would certainly suggest that at 15m Euros before activation, the Sky Pro Cycling deal romped home in first place for value for money.