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Sporting Sponsorships: Know Your Audience

With the Ashes 2017/2018 series upon us, it is timely to look at the value of sporting sponsorships.

The series, hosted in Australia this year, had its fair share of sponsorship stress with a pay dispute freezing their sponsorship agreements until August, when they announced the thaw as well as their new naming rights sponsor, Magellan Financial Group.

Signing with a financial organisation is a standard move for Cricket Australia, who have had Commonwealth Bank as a major sponsor for over two decades.

These alignments are strategic. Major sporting organisations know their audience.

Sporting organisations and events draw a considerable amount of interest from big-name blue-chip sponsors wanting their brand in front of the game’s loyal fan base. It’s nice to be sought after, sure, but what’s more impactful for these organisations, and their sponsors, is to be well aligned.

Digging into the data at YouGov, let’s take a look at three of the major sports that unite us in Australia and the UK. Who do they attract and how do their sponsorship partners reflect the different demographics?



Cricket is known as a gentlemen’s game, so it is not surprising to confirm the major demographic of cricket fans are the perfect stereotype we associate with gentlemen; affluent, older gentlemen who are well-educated, blue collar and have a little extra money for enjoying the finer things in life. The type of audience ripe for marketing financial services to.

Rugby Union

Similar to the Cricket, Union fans are typically affluent, older gentlemen; however, this lot further outdo the cricket fans on the wealth scale and interestingly are more inclined to work in the Defence industry. Again, a demographic perfect for marketing financial services and high-end luxury items to. It is no surprise we see sponsors including the likes of Old Mutual Wealth, QANTAS, BMW and Mitsubishi Motors.


Soccer / Football

Unlike Cricket and Rugby Union, Soccer fans are seen as a younger demographic with less disposable income to splurge on luxury items. This is reflected in their sponsors; more mass market brands within the clothing, beer, soft drink and telco space. Brands like Verizon, Carlsberg, Nike, Adidas and Under Armour. Brands to appeal to a younger, typically working-class audience.

Smart sponsorships require effort. Organisations must understand their audience demographic and align with sponsors who will satiate the yearnings of their fans. Sacrificing your fans for sponsorship dollars can and likely will backfire. Look at the Manchester United partnership with 20th Century Fox. In a PR stunt to promote the new X-Men movie they painted their mascot children blue for a game against Bournemouth. This stunt rightly copped a fair bit of flack from fans and the general public. It’s also worth checking out the accompanying advert, complete with some of the best Twitter burns.

If you’re a sporting brand or potential affiliate looking to improve online traffic and increase conversions, why not get in touch with the team at Digital Fuel to see how we can help you fine-tune your digital marketing.

Image Credits:

PCG James Boyes

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