Three amazing routes to better sponsor activations

By Judd Goldstein | 09 Aug 2022

Growing expectations among brands are forcing rights holders to offer better, more meaningful sponsorship opportunities. We’re seeing sponsors pushing not only for greater visibility but greater access to fans and their data, and more ways to prove ROI.

It’s no surprise, then, that gamification is now such a powerful tool for rights holders looking to attract new sponsors (more on this in our new ‘Gametime!’ report).

Gamification products, like fantasy competitions, trivia and predictors, give sponsors the same season-long exposure as traditional activations (such as jersey branding and in-stadia signage), but with more memorable and meaningful direct-to-fan interaction.

There is a variety of ways sports can integrate sponsors within gamified experiences. Here are three essential activations you can’t afford to miss out on…

  1. Give sponsors authenticity with customised game features

Attaching your commercial partner’s name to your fantasy contest and score or line-up predictor is a common, but fairly standard, activation. To take things to the next level, we suggest aligning your sponsors with specific - and sometimes custom - game mechanics and features.

Gamification engages fans of all kinds – from casuals to the most avid – and keeps them coming back to your owned and operated properties year-round.  And this extra, dynamic IP allows sponsors to tap-in to this engagement opportunity in an exciting and relevant way.

For example, the prediction game we power for MotoGP is specifically designed to activate its Official Timekeeper Tissot by relating to the pole position time during qualifying. Meanwhile, the MotoGP Fantasy game we power includes a ‘300v boost’ mechanic, more commonly known as a ‘captain’ feature in fantasy terms, highlighting Motul, its sponsor’s, motorbike oil product.

Fans don’t just see these brands but associate them with a relevant, fun and unique experience – and this drives purchase intent. Research shows 59% of 18-34 year old fans are more likely to purchase from companies connected to their favourite sports.

  1. Activate with personalised in-game interactions

One of the primary benefits of gamification is that it helps leagues and teams to grow a fan database and capture first-party data, alongside contextual data on individual fans’ preferences. Many of our partners are now harnessing this data to personalise how each fan sees and interacts with their games - including their sponsors’ branding and content.

As sponsors vie to connect with fans in more contextual and meaningful ways, this is invaluable.

As an example, within Telegraph Fantasy Football, fans are served contextual offers and odds via the title sponsor, Bet365, based on the players they select in their teams.

But this type of activation works well for any kind of offer or promotion, for any kind of brand. And what’s best, it enables sponsors to tell authentic – not generic – stories and build unique, direct-to-fan relationships.

  1. Create meaningful moments and call-to-actions with sponsored prizes

The Hundred’s 20-Ball Predictor sees Cazoo, the tournament’s primary sponsor, give away a £10,000 car voucher, while Toyota hands out its latest new car model to the winner of our official Australian Football League (AFL) fantasy game.

These are two excellent success stories when it comes to sponsored game prizes.

Going into the new European football and U.S. sports seasons, this is an extremely popular initiative, because it gives brands a more memorable way to get in front of fans; by linking their products to the ultimate glory of the game.

Seasonal and weekly prizes make your sponsors’ value proposition more appealing while enticing even more fans to sign-up and play. It can save you the cost and time of organising your own prizes, too.

For leagues and teams, creating and monetising a gamified experience has never been simpler, and yet the opportunity has never been greater.

Our fan engagement expertise and products, within the Genius Games range, allow you to run entirely custom gamified activations, which drive value for your commercial partners in any way you want. But fast-to-market, template options are also available too.

If you’re interested in hearing more, feel free to drop me a message on LinkedIn.

Read our latest gamification report, Gametime!.

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