Fundraising in Sport

Philanthropy – A new revenue stream for Australian sport

PHILANTHROPY: A NEW REVENUE STREAM

HOW CAN YOUR ORGANISATION CAPITALISE?

In the last four years, the Australian Sports Foundation has raised around $150m for Australian sport. However, sport still receives less than 1% of tax deductible donations in this country. Philanthropic investment in sport can have a profound impact – not just on the physical and mental health of our people, but also on the overall wellbeing of Australian communities – and the Australian Sports Foundation is committed to changing this.

PHILANTHROPY: A NEW REVENUE STREAM FOR AUSTRALIAN SPORT

Sport is part of the Aussie DNA and is central to our nation’s culture. It is at the heart of every community, and brings people from different backgrounds and cultures together in a way that nothing else can. Perhaps above all, it promotes active healthy lifestyles, and inspires our young people to believe that they too can pursue their dreams. Despite these huge social and community benefits, sport has lagged behind other causes in tapping into the philanthropic dollar.

In recent years, the Australian Sports Foundation has been working with sport at all levels to change this – with dramatic results; donations to sport have grown from $17m a year to $45m – but even this represents less than 1% of all money donated in Australia each year, and is well behind the $300m a year that arts and cultural organisations raise from this source, so there is a huge opportunity for further growth.

INCREASED COMPETITION FOR FUNDING

Current trends in sport are creating a more competitive environment for clubs and organisations looking to secure funding. The rapid growth in women's and girl's sport places pressure on existing infrastructure and facilities, and means that clubs and organisations need to be more innovative in their approach to secure funding. 

Developing a fundraising strategy as part of your organisations overall business model will ensure you are not relying too heavily on competitive external sources for funding.

PANEL DISCUSSION: PHILANTHROPIC OPPORTUNITIES

Australian Rugby Foundation
Peter Murphy

Executive Director at Australian Rugby Foundation
Brisbane Broncos
Matthew Lang

Fundraising Manager at Brisbane Broncos

Peter Murphy and Matthew Lang spoke at Money In Sport 2018 on a panel discussion focusing on the opportunities that philanthropy presents to sporting organisations at all levels, and how this can be implemented as new revenue streams. 

How sport can incorporate fundraising into existing operations:

Sports organisations are continuously looking for new revenue streams, but many have yet to recognise how tax-deductible fundraising can contribute significantly to the bottom line. And donations are not limited to cash, but also to equipment and goods.

Tax-deductible fundraising can be successfully achieve at any level – elite, state, district and at grassroots. National and state representative athletes can also fundraise via the Sports Foundation for coaching, travel, equipment and medical costs.

Opportunity that the philanthropic market in Australia presents for sport:

Around $3 billion is donated to tax-deductible causes every year. In 2017-18, $44.7 million was raised for sport via the Australian Sports Foundation which means sport is receiving just 1.3% of the philanthropic market. However, arts and culture raises $300 million every year.

Given Australians love of sport, how sport is a key part of every community throughout Australia, together with the health, social and community benefits sport provides, there is a great opportunity for sport to raise similar or more money than arts and culture every year via tax-deductible fundraising.

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Blockchain Technology & Sport

Fuel Games: Pioneering Blockchain & Esports

THE WORLD'S FIRST BLOCKCHAIN BASED ESPORT

CO-FOUNDERS OF FUEL GAMES JOIN MONEY IN SPORT 2018

30 October 2018

Money In Sport is delighted to announce that the Co-Founders of Fuel Games, James and Robbie Ferguson, will be speaking at the 2018 Money In Sport Conference. 

The Australian brothers, James and Robbie Ferguson, have been generating a huge amount of media attention worldwide after a hugely successful pre-sale event. Their innovative technology not only has huge potential for esports, but could lead the way to turn the blockchain into something much more real for a number of industries where traditional assets could be represented by digital tokens. 

FUEL GAMES

Fuel Games is a blockchain technology firm pioneering true ownership of digital assets in video games, backed by leading companies such as Coinbase. Its in-house flagship game, Gods Unchained, has had the most successful pre-sale out of any blockchain game, with Forbes calling it “the world’s first blockchain-based esport”.

A unique item within the game auctioned for $62,000 USD in August this year. They’re working on exciting announcements to partner with large gaming studios, esports leagues and traditional sports IP owners in order to create true ownership of digital collectibles and assets.

WORLDWIDE MEDIA ATTENTION

The brothers have generated a huge amount of attention around the pre-sale of Gods Unchained. This attention has not only come from within the blockchain and esports communities, which are similar in demographics, but has crossed over to mainstream media with articles in The Financial Review, Forbes and Venture Beat to name a few. 
As featured in The Financial Review
The pair have attracted $2.4 million in funding for their venture, with Continue Capital and Nirvana Capital leading the seed round, which also had participation from Sora Ventures and Coinbase.

- Financial Review | July 9, 2018
As featured in Forbes
We decided to build Gods Unchained because we felt based on what we had learned that we could provide a high-quality competitive gaming experience to actually show the disruptive benefits of the technology.

- Forbes | July 16, 2018
As featured in Venture Beat
All sorts of assets are going to end up being represented as digital tokens on the Ethereum blockchain or other blockchains like it. Traditional assets like securities, stocks, bonds, debt instruments, software licenses, and video game items will be sold through blockchain tokens.

- Venture Beat | September 24, 2018
As featured in Coin Desk
Down the line, some investors believe that NFTs enable use cases far more valuable and consequential than gaming: real estate, precious metals and other assets could be tokenized, enabling investors to buy smaller, more liquid stakes in these assets.

- CoinBase | August 24, 2018

CRACKING THE CODE: Blockchain TECHNOLOGY & SPORT

Money In Sport 2018: Day One, 10:45am 

James and Robbie Ferguson discussed the future potential of blockchain technology in esports, and how this is breaking into mainstream sport. Watch their full session from Money In Sport 2018 below.
Co-Founder at Fuel Games

JAMES FERGUSON

CEO & Co-Founder at Fuel Games

James co-founded Fuel Games with his brother Robbie. For their first title they built Etherbots, an on-chain, multiplayer strategy game which broke the record for the largest pre-sale for a blockchain game. 

Fuel Games has grown to more than 20 employees, and their new title Gods Unchained is the first console quality game that runs on the blockchain, having made over $3M revenue in three months.
COO & Co-Founder at Fuel Games

ROBBIE FERGUSON

COO & Co-Founder at Fuel Games

Robbie co-founded Fuel Games with his brother James. Robbie led the blockchain development of Etherbots, architecting and developing both the provably fair smart contracts and the User Experience for interacting with them.

Robbie also designed the marketing campaigns which led to sold out sales and both games breaking the records for the most successful blockchain game sales.

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Back to the Stadium - Money In Sport

Bringing Fans Back To The Stadium

BACK TO THE STADIUM

INNOVATING THE IN-STADIUM EXPERIENCE

24 October 2018

Traditionally, sports fans would seek no alternative in attending a stadium to watch their favourite team play. Today, fans are more spoilt than ever with TV & mobile offerings, and the need to attend a stadium week in week out no longer exists. 

At Money In Sport 2018, we'll delve into the innovative methods being used around the world to improve the in-stadium experience and bring fans back to the stadium.

2018 Money In Sport Delegate Passes available here.

THE DWINDLING CROWDS

Something appears to be missing in Australian sports: the crowds. In the major sporting codes, AFL, Cricket, NRL, A-League, and Super Rugby, the average crowds peaked in the past and are all trending downwards. Meanwhile, live viewing on TV and other media remains strong, despite fragmentation of the audience.

In fact, the truth is more complicated than that as Australian sports leagues still boast two of the top 10 most attended sports leagues globally:

  • #4 is AFL is #4 with over 36,000 average attendees
  • #9 is Cricket (big bash) with over 26,000

So what is going on?

AUSTRALIA'S STADIUM PAIN

Poor city planning makes a great sporting event difficult to achieve. In Melbourne, the Stadia are in a central precinct with good public transport links. Sydney has never been like that, and to successfully host the Olympics, the city basically shut down, and the transport network was redesigned for 2 weeks.

By contrast, in the US an NFL stadium is a privilege, not a right, to be attracted, financed and planned by the highest levels of city government to ensure that the team will be well supported and attended.
Mercedes Benz Stadium - Atlanta
Mercedes-Benz Stadium: Home of the Atlanta Falcons

AN EXPERIENCE TO REMEMBER?

Given our lounge rooms or home theatres can offer high definition, close-ups and replays, perhaps it is no surprise that the Australian stadium experience is in decline.

Too often, the transport system, stadium facilities and the sport are not integrated and do not offer a great, or even good, consumer experience.   The best live sporting experience should create “inspiring memories” with different attributes combining to an integrated experience. 

CONFERENCE SESSION: BACK TO THE STADIUM

Money In Sport 2018 - Day Two 11:30am

Featuring a Keynote Presentation & Panel Discussion

Stadium operators around the world are using innovative methods to bring fans back to the stadium. This session at Money In Sport 2018 highlights these as our speakers discuss how stadiums can create an experience to remember.
Ian Clarke - Money In Sport

Ian Clarke

Managing Director at CSVentures

Ian is the Managing Director of CSVentures, an investor and advisor to early-stage technology companies, and an experienced company Director. 

Ian presented the Keynote Presentation for this session at Money In Sport 2018 - Watch the full session below.

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Philanthropy – A new revenue stream for Australian sportRead More Diversification of Revenue StreamsRead More Fuel Games: Pioneering Blockchain & EsportsRead More Bringing Fans Back To The StadiumRead More Philanthropy – A new revenue stream for Australian sportRead More Diversification of Revenue StreamsRead More Fuel Games: Pioneering Blockchain & EsportsRead More Bringing Fans Back To The StadiumRead More NEWS HOMEPAGE

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Startups & Venture Capital in Sports Tech

Venture Capital at Money In Sport 2018

VENTURE CAPITAL

GROWING INVESTMENT IN STARTUPS & SPORTS TECH

26 September 2018

Since 2012, investment in sports related startups has been growing at almost 30% year on year. One of the major areas for investment has been sports tech, and as an industry that is changing everything from how athletes train to how fans engage and consume sport, the level of investment in this space is only going to increase.

Money In Sport 2018 will have a major focus on investment in sport and technology, including sessions on venture capital and startups featuring leading entrepreneurs in sport and business.

Find out how investment in startups and new technology is shaping the future of sport.

2018 Money In Sport Delegate Passes available here.

CONFERENCE SESSION: THE FUTURE OF SPORT

Day One 9:30am - Money In Sport 2018

Some of the sharpest minds in the business of sport, David Meltzer & Joey Brander, will take a look at what 2019 and beyond will bring for the sports industry.
Joey Brander - President at First Serve Partners
Joey Brander, President at First Serve Partners

JOEY BRANDER

Combining over a decade of experience with an ability to uniquely engage the millennial demographic, Brander has consulted for multiple Fortune 500 companies with a focus on creating sports and entertainment content.

Brander is currently the President/Managing Partner of First Serve Partners, a leading venture capital firm that invests in sports, media, entertainment, and technology for emerging generations.

WORKSHOP: WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO TURN YOUR IDEA INTO REALITY?

Featuring Patrick Schilling & Michael Seder from Squareknot Australia

Money In Sport presents a dedicated workshop for entrepreneurs and investors in sport. The session will be hosted by Squareknot Australia, who are bridging the gap between growth companies and investors.

This workshop will provide delegates with expert advice to ensure your startup gets the best possible funding.

MONEY IN SPORT

2018 MAJOR PARTNERS

Alfa-Romeo-2018-Presenting-PartnerDiscover Queensland

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Sports sponsorship isn’t only about cash

SPORTS SPONSORSHIP ISN'T ONLY ABOUT CASH

Author: Cassandra Heilbronn, Senior Associate at Minter Ellison

24 August 2018

Hear from Cassandra Heilbronn, Keynote Speaker at the upcoming Sponsorship & Partnership Summit in Melbourne, Friday 3 May. Click here for full details.

I will start by saying this – Commercial Managers need to understand the benefits a good contra deal can have for a Club, because if they continue to focus on cash only deals they are going to miss out.  Here is why.

Being in private practice and working in sports law means that I receive a number of requests for sponsorship for clubs and teams. I also get to see the other end with drafting and finalising the sponsorship agreements. What is surprising is the approach that Commercial Managers take towards a contra only deal – usually an immediate no. Who knows if it is a top-down direction or perhaps a bit of a cultural shift as the younger generation come through (ie not understanding the value of a contra deal), but a good contra deal could be worth more to the Club than a minimal cash sponsorship. Here is why.

Not all sponsors want a front facing sponsorship, corporate hospitality packages, the logo on the shirt, game day signage etc. This may be because their client base and target market simply is not the same as what the Club is targeting. Rather, they may want to contra sponsor in order to build relationships with the Club, the Board, the other corporate sponsors or simply have a love for the team (yes that still happens!). These types of sponsors are worth their weight in gold, they are not tying up an asset (which means the Club can still sell it) and the Club is still getting a monetary benefit without the exchange of cash. What type of sponsors are they? They are the ones that can reduce your BAU spend – think about what is already allocated as a spend in the budget, if it is there, it may be easier to turn it into a contra deal - computers/IT, telecommunications, lawyers, and trades.

Generally these sponsors are happy to work for contra – a set amount per financial year in return for hospitality. Many don't even want Chairman's Club or a box – just premium GA tickets. How does it work in practice? Well if we think about it practically, a Club's yearly spend on IT and comms (think all support, phones, internet, Fox Sports access) could be well over $50,000. A contra sponsor may look to offer a fees only deal for $30,000. They provide services up to that amount and in return receive hospitality etc. That reduces the Club's IT and comms spend and all of a sudden there is an extra $30,000 "spare cash" for the Club's bottom line, but as mentioned above, the Club still has the assets (corporate membership, apparel placement) to sell. Revolutionary right? Not really – but there are so many Clubs doing this really well and other Clubs failing to see the bigger picture because the Commercial team are only focusing on meeting their KPIs.

A few things on what Commercial Managers should consider:

  1. Pulling back on the hard sell and seeking cash only sponsorship;
  2. Thinking old school in terms of building a long term relationship with a sponsor, rather than season to season, make sure you have a good agreement and lock it in long term with exclusive renewal periods;
  3. Not writing off a contra only deal, talk with Finance and see if a contra deal will help the bottom line overall (i.e. is the contra offered already budgeted as a spend) and then also be creative to make sure that deal is built into their KPIs; and
  4. Setting up a corporate sponsorship manager to handle the introductions between the sponsors – Board to Board level.

While cash will always remain Queen, in order for a Club to stay at the top of the sponsorship game and attract ongoing partnerships they must revisit their way of thinking and perhaps go back to the future by having a portion of their sponsorship budget being contra.  Think of what the Club could do with all that saved spending!!

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LaLiga in Asia: A different ball game

LaLiga In Asia

A different ball game

19 July 2018
Ivan Codina, LaLiga
Ivan Codina | LaLiga

Money In Sport is excited to announce a huge addition to this year's conference, Ivan Codina, Managing Director - SEA, Australia, South Korea & Japan at LaLiga. 

Ivan has over 15 years of experience in the sports industry, with the past 9 years being in Asia. After succeeding in roles for FC Barcelona and Sport SG as well as agencies such as Dentsu and Red Card, Ivan currently heads the regional office for SEA, Australia, Japan and South Korea at LaLiga. 

LALIGA AT MONEY IN SPORT

Ivan will lead the expose on stage at Money In Sport, which will be focusing on LaLiga's strategy in APAC:

"An insider view at how LaLiga approaches fans of the beautiful game in APAC, the multi-faceted "Glocal" strategy in reaching a hugely diverse region, and adapting to new consumption behaviours.  Join LaLiga as we discuss how we understand and aim to overcome the challenges of the region."

Watch Ivan Codina's full keynote presentation from Money In Sport below.

GROWTH OF LALIGA IN APAC

In an effort to expand the league beyond Real Madrid and Barcelona, league President Javier Tebas has a focus on expanding LaLiga and pushing the brand into new markets. Asia is one key market that presents huge potential growth for the league as a whole.

LaLiga has set a target of doubling viewership in Asia by 2020. Since 2016, the league has seen a 25% increase in viewership across the region and opened new offices throughout Asia to capitalise on what many leagues see as a huge growth area.

In the past, individual clubs (largely Real Madrid and Barcelona) have sold their International TV rights individually, compared to the EPL which has been selling International TV rights collectively since 1992 allowing the EPL brand to help grow the profiles of smaller clubs. To improve the brand, the league is investing heavily in improving the product through innovative camera angles, 360-degree replays, improved stadiums and better production quality. 

A key aspect of LaLiga's strategy for growth in Asia has also involved restructuring schedules to suit the Asian live market. There are now 5-7 live games per week that are broadcast at decent times across Asia, allowing viewers in the region to experience live content. While these schedule changes surprised Spanish fans at first, stadium attendances in Spain rose by 12%, benefiting the league at home as well as in Asia. 

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Philanthropy – A new revenue stream for Australian sportRead More Diversification of Revenue StreamsRead More Fuel Games: Pioneering Blockchain & EsportsRead More Bringing Fans Back To The StadiumRead More Philanthropy – A new revenue stream for Australian sportRead More Diversification of Revenue StreamsRead More Fuel Games: Pioneering Blockchain & EsportsRead More Bringing Fans Back To The StadiumRead More NEWS HOMEPAGE

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Can brand Cricket survive the ball tampering crisis?

Can brand cricket survive the ball tampering crisis

By Andrew Baxter, Marketing & Communications Advisor

11 July, 2018

According to AFR Weekend’s Top 50 Australian sports earners last year, David Warner and Steve Smith earned just over A$8m between them. It was from a combination of their Australian contracts, IPL contracts and brand endorsements. After the infamous Cape Town ball-tampering incident, they’ll earn next to nothing over the ensuing 12 months, as their playing contracts have been suspended and their endorsement contracts annulled.

They’ve also lost their personal brand reputations. And Cricket Australia’s brand has taken a hit too. Subsequently they too have an income issue, with major sponsor Magellan walking away from a 3 year A$24m sponsorship deal.

The question is, can the players’ and the organisation’s brand reputation be restored, and in turn once again attract major sponsors?

Brands live in the hearts and minds of people. And there is a strong underlying emotional connection Australians already have with our cricket team.

Brands, like people, have a history of being forgiven for making one mistake, but not for making the same mistake multiple times. Consumers forgave Apple after their 2010 iPhone4 issues. They eventually also forgave Vodafone for their 2011 Vodafail. And Qantas took only two years to restore their brand reputation measures after the 2011 strike.

In sport, other perceived cheating incidents like Melbourne Storm’s 2010 salary cap rort and Essendon and Cronulla’s peptide programs have also been overcome in three to five years from a brand reputation point of view. Again they proved to be one offs, albeit big ones.

It provides a window of hope for Steve Smith, Cameron Bancroft and Cricket Australia.

It was Swimming Australia that has never quite returned to their brand reputational heights, after multiple disciplinary issues including repeated Stilnox incidents. Like cricket’s current ball-tampering crisis, the root cause was put down to leadership and cultural problems within the team.

It’s a familiar story in politics, with the Liberal and Labor parties enduring multiple controversies in the last decade that have negatively affected their brand, with few signs of a reputational turnaround led by forgiving voters. It’s this scenario that is the problem for David Warner. In 2013 he went through Twitter wars with journalists, the Joe Root punch, and his failure to turn up to a grade cricket match. And now in 2018 the staircase incident with Quenton de Kock and the ball-tampering. It’s a long list for fans and sponsors to forgive, and a long way for his personal brand to recover from.

The key to restoring the brand reputation of a person, company or organisation is to understand that brands are built on four dimensions. First, how different the brand is. For example, Vegemite is very different from other food brands. Second, how relevant a brand is to people. Chanel is relevant to only a small group of people, whereas Woolworths is relevant to everybody. Third is the perceived quality and popularity of a brand. Even if you’ve never driven a Holden, you have an opinion on how good their cars are. Finally, how much people know and understand a brand. Most Australians know that Qantas has a white kangaroo on the tail and has a great safety record.

After the salary cap issue, Melbourne Storm focused on the latter two dimensions – improving the quality of its brand and giving people a deeper understanding of their brand. The highlights were transparency, honesty, leadership, a strong sense of community, respectfulness, and hard work both on and off the field. The team walked before they talked. Craig Bellamy and Cameron Smith became leaders to admire via their actions. When their major sponsor left, they replaced the sponsor’s logo on their guernseys with a different charity each week. They made sure the salary cap issue was a one-off. In turn the brand was restored in three years.

There are good lessons to be learned for Cricket Australia, Steve Smith, Cameron Bancroft and David Warner. Already Smith in particular has followed the transparent and honest path; his raw and real self.

For sponsors, the most basic endorsements are the easiest to rationalise at this time. The brands with the clear links to the cricketer or the cricketing body. Cricket bat companies. Sports clothing and footwear brands. It’s the brands who have chosen the cricketers or Cricket Australia for their shared values that will be more at risk. Family brands like KFC, BUPA, Commonwealth Bank and Toyota. Brands like Qantas who Alan Joyce reminded us share that “significance of a fair go” with the Australian cricket team. These inconsistent values were the reason Magellan’s CEO gave for terminating their partnership with Cricket Australia.

It’s been a tough week for our cricketers and Cricket Australia, but there are brand lessons from the past that can guide them to a positive longer term outcome.

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The massive global growth of esports

THE GROWTH OF ESPORTS

AN INDUSTRY WORTH $1.49 BILLION

MASSIVE GLOBAL GROWTH CONTINUES

In 2016, Money In Sport first showcased the esports phenomenon to the Australian sport industry. The showcase captured the attention of Delegates with incredible figures on the growth of both audiences and revenue, figures which were accurately predicted years in advance.

Money In Sport 2018 will continue to predict the future trends in sport this November.

GLOBAL AUDIENCE BY 2020

The esports global audience is set to continue its rapid growth over the next few years.

A predicted global audience of 589 million viewers and an economy worth around $1.49 billion USD in 2020 means esports is poised to shift from a niche audience and enter the mainstream.

MONEY IN SPORT - ALWAYS AHEAD OF THE CURVE

The huge opportunities and growth in esports were presented live on stage at the Money In Sport Conference in 2016, along with Virtual Reality, Connected Stadiums and Data Focused Sport - topics that are now at the forefront of the sport industry.

With a proven track record of bringing some of the most pertinent topics to life on stage, the Money In Sport Conference consistently provides Delegates with in-depth analysis of the latest trends in sport.

MONEY IN SPORT

30 April 2018
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£40,000,000 for front of playing shirt?

£40m for a t-shirt? There must be another way.

Budgets are tight. Marketing budgets even more so. “Do more for less” remains the mantra of corporate life. In this context, spending £40m on a football shirt sponsorship deal is far outside the reach of many brands. What does this sort of expenditure really achieve? Is it the best use of marketing funds? Perhaps it is time to revisit the sponsorship model and try something different.

Traditional ‘old world’ views of sponsorship are pretty simple. Write a cheque for a lot of money and then pop a logo on an athlete’s shirt or a perimeter board. Better still, spend a bit more money to tell people that your logo is on the shirt. With a bit of luck, the athlete will say nice things about you and, usually for a bit more money, will tweet about you.

The logic behind this view is simple. Exposure is valuable – it drives brand awareness and helps support the image of the brand. This can lead to consideration – the magic bullet that help drive sales. On a very superficial level, this feels correct – but there are a lot of assumptions made that are hard to prove.

For example, it may be assumed that if a celebrity wears your logo, the public who see it will perceive that they endorse your product and brand. We may also assume that the love the public have for the celebrity might rub off on your brand. It is very hard to measure and prove these connections. Media agencies will be able to tell you how many seconds your logo appeared on TV and what value that would have had if you were to buy the equivalent advertising space. But this does not tell you the real impact of the sponsorship on your brand and sales. Advertising value, awareness and recall seem weak ways to justify the significant expenditure on a sponsorship.

To many sponsors and rights holders, sponsorship means putting logos on clothing and events. It may be expensive and broad brush, but many businesses do this and seem happy. However, I think there is a change in the air. The notions of integrated campaign marketing have reached the world of sponsorship. I believe there is a stronger and better way to approach sponsorships.

First of all, let’s move away from this notion of ‘sponsorship’. They are marketing partnerships. They should be managed, treated and measured exactly as other marketing activities. They should get the same rigorous assessment before and after campaigns. However, marketing partnerships are more than other campaigns. They offer something different and exciting.

Consumer emotion is a powerful thing. Passion sells. We know that there can be a strong emotional connection between a customer and a rights holder (partner). In the world of sport, we might call this fanship. In arts and charities they are supporters or collectors. The scale of fanship varies – from a passing interest to fanatic. When this scale of emotion is recognised and maximised by brands, marketing partnerships become invaluable marketing tools.

Understanding your audience, their motivations and needs is fundamental to marketing. To get the most out of marketing partnerships, I believe we should take the same approach. Put the customer at the heart of our marketing partnership. Understand and tap into their emotional connection and involvement with the rights holder.

Supporters and followers of a sports team are much more likely to see and be interested in marking activity that involves their team. These supporters may already contribute significant time and resource into their team. As such, it is likely that they will be grateful to partnering brands for the support they offer. This can have huge power. Imagine the outpouring of love from the world’s Manchester United fans if you could tell them how your brand’s investment helped the team to win a cup. To only focus on driving awareness here would be a missed opportunity.

Different audience groups react and respond to marketing partnerships in different ways. Understanding, measuring and interpreting this is hard, but possible. The customer should be at the heart of all marketing thinking and decision making. At last, the sponsorship industry is about to catch up.

MONEY IN SPORT

28 June 2017
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The Diplomacy Of Sport: The AFL Arrives In China

Australia’s bilateral relationship with China is largely viewed through a tight lens of economic rationalism. Like globalisation, the relationship is often judged by the effectiveness of, and efficiency in securing economic outcomes such as market access, free trade agreements and terms of trade.

But diplomacy is messy. Australia must balance its economic relationship with China with its strategic relationship with the United States in a world where geopolitics has been replaced by geoeconomics – a term coined by Edward Luttwak as the “grammar of commerce but the logic of war” or the way in which governments influence and advance national interests by leveraging their economic influence.

Recent events in the disputed South China Sea, China’s growing soft power and influence as well as the nation’s importance in Australia, highlights the tension of this conflicting two track policy position. Is it possible to advance Australia fairly in a regional environment where it has no major strategic influence? How do we broaden our bilateral relationship beyond business?

Sport may be the answer.

Sport speaks a universal language of hope, despair and courage. It provides nations with a benchmark for success on a world stage, a de facto foreign policy that provides international bragging rights to domestic audiences.

Australia loves sport.

Sporting success provides this new world nation with a ready-made narrative of rivalries, villains and national heroes that other countries have created through myths, martyrs and conflict.

Australia has a competitive international sporting profile that includes international participation, domestic competitions, and hosting major sporting events. In 2015, Julie Bishop, the Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs, launched the Federal Government’s Sports Diplomacy Program. The program was designed to “reach broader audiences than traditional diplomacy activities allow” and to “inform, engage and influence key demographics, particularly youth, emerging leaders and women and girls.”

Last year, China released a five-year sports development plan that aims to build their domestic sports industry to over RMB¥3 trillion (AU$620 billion) or 1% of GDP by 2020. The plan includes a comprehensive strategy to boost Chinese football capabilities with 7,000 pitches, 20,000 academies, 500 public fitness centers in counties and 15,000 fitness facilities in villages and towns, 10,000 multi-functional playing grounds averaging 1.8 square kilometers of sporting space for each town by 2020. Alongside football, basketball and volleyball rounded out the plan’s “three big balls” that seeks better placements and qualifications in international tournaments for both men’s and women’s teams. This ambitious plan has been reinforced by private Chinese business, who have heavily invested in global football brands such as Manchester City, and paid astronomical transfer fees to entice international players into the Chinese Super League, which has also received record broadcast revenue.

China clearly has the demand, as articulated by the government, and Australia can supply the expertise and knowledge transfer through sports diplomacy that could deepen our bilateral relations and provide leverage within the context of geoeconomics.

An example of sports diplomacy was on display last weekend in Shanghai when the AFL hosted Port Adelaide and Gold Coast in the very first in-season game for premiership points at Jiangwan Stadium. The match highlighted Australia’s capabilities in delivering an off-shore event that attracted over 10,000 people to attend the game in a retro-fitted art deco facility with less than 12 months of preparation. Despite only 2-3,000 local Chinese attending, the fact that 5,000 South Australians travelled over, many for their first visit to China, highlights the opportunity for people to people exchanges through sport.

The whole enterprise was also the result of a formal sports diplomacy through the Government of South Australia and Port Adelaide Football Club, who organised visiting Chinese delegations to be hosted at Adelaide Oval games. Mr Gui Guojie, Shanghai CRED CEO, who at the time was bidding on the S.Kidman & Co asset, was so impressed by the game that he later provided a multi-year, multi-million dollar sponsorship to the club.

The partnership was announced as part of the 2016 Australia Week with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull in Shanghai, where the idea of a game was first formally raised. Although Shanghai CRED’s initial Kidman approach was blocked by the Foreign Investment Review Board, Gui Guojie subsequently provided a 25% stake in a joint venture with Gina Rinehart’s Hancock Prospecting successful bid. Both Guo and Rinehart were at the match on Sunday. The fact that Guo is politically well connected and is a member of the Shanghai committee of the People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), highlights that the AFL game was a clear result of sports diplomacy. Guo echoed this during the 2016 sponsorship announcement when he said “This partnership will promote and share the beauty of AFL in China and will enlighten and enrich our sporting culture” and “this moment will be firmly framed in the sport’s history of our country”.

Port Adelaide invested heavily in the China exercise with 35 non-football staff travelling over and organising three corporate areas and a trade expo outside the ground as well as travel packages, local tours, and gala dinners. This effort resulted in an additional 12 new partners, many from China or from Australia seeking to engage with the China market, and this provides comfort for the AFL and the Australian public who view our China relationship by economic outcomes.

The South Australian Premier led a 200 strong trade delegation, the Victorian Trade Minister brought food and wine exporters, and the Queensland government sponsored the match. Private companies brought Chinese clients and contacts to watch the game, and it was used as intended to become a bridge to showcase a unique Australian cultural product that showcases resilience, mateship and creativity.

Sport was used to normalise the Sino-American relations through Ping Pong diplomacy and perhaps, AFL will lead the opportunity for Australia to engage and benefit from China’s demand for content and increased capabilities through sports diplomacy.

This article first appeared in China Insiders – https://www.bastionsgo.com.au/news/ – Tom Parker attended the match and provided some preliminary advice to the AFL on stadium selection in Shanghai. He was the AFL’s consultant for the exhibition match between Melbourne and Brisbane at the same venue as part of the 2010 Shanghai World Expo.