Sponsors Look for Bargains and Value 1

Sports sponsorships may be getting cheaper because of the global recession. Some sponsors are looking for bargains, while others are looking to get more value for money. An article published by Bloomberg gets comments from banks about soccer and golf – messages that can be applied to yacht racing. 

Barclays Plc, which backs English Premier League soccer and golf in the U.S., Europe and Asia, might consider new deals as prices decline, said Tim Peat, head of marketing and sponsorships. Britain’s second-biggest bank will also sponsor the Masters Cup men’s tennis season finale in London from 2009.

“We’ll always look at new opportunities, no question,” Peat said in an interview at the Barclays Singapore Open golf tournament last week. “There will be opportunities at a much lower price than before and that’s worthy of consideration.”

Professional sports are bracing for cutbacks amid the financial crisis, possibly ending a boom in sponsorships that reached a record $37.9 billion in 2007, according to IEG’s annual sponsorship report. The LPGA Tour yesterday dropped three events from its 2009 schedule, citing the economic decline.

“I’m sure if I go to the market now I’ll get a good deal,” Giles Morgan, head of sponsorships for HSBC Holdings Plc, said in an interview at the HSBC Champions golf tournament in Shanghai this month. “But for us it’s not about `let’s rush in and go for cheap.’ We’re not out shopping massively for sponsorships.”

The financial industry, among the most prominent paymasters in sports, is grappling with $966 billion in writedowns and losses since the start of 2007. More than 150,000 banking jobs have gone in the same period.

The benefit of involvement in sports events grows during uncertain times as clients seek reassurance, sponsors said. Three hundred and fifty people attended Barclays’ Asia forum in Singapore during the $5 million golf tournament, an increase of 130 from last year. The bank had feared clients would stay at their desks amid turmoil in the markets, Peat said.

“We’re trying to build a business and grow particularly in tough times,” Morgan said at the $5 million HSBC Champions tournament. “If this is a profligate waste of money, it won’t happen. And face time with customers is more important now than it’s ever been.”