Measuring Success – Using Practical tools to evaluate and measure Event and Sponsorship Returns 6


Day one of the 2009 World Yacht Racing Forum was mostly about sponsorship. Sailing relies more heavily on sponsorship than other sports because other opportunities like television rights and gate receipts are not available to Yacht Racing promoters. But how you measure return on investment depends on who you are and what you are trying to achieve.

The afternoon started with another outsider’s point of view. Ulrich Lacher, Managing Director, IFM Sports began his presentation by restating the size of the sponsorship market. From his point of view it’s worth about $US 45 billion of which 88% is devoted to sport. Sailing makes up about 1% of that. Those sponsoring sport are thinking twive about it though and media value is not enough any more.

Even though only 1/3 of (German) football sponsors can be recalled, sponsors feel safe with large, well understood sports. There are several things that Ulrich identified that hinder yacht racing’s ability to lure sponsorship away from other sports. One of the key issues is that a sponsor has to choose from 50-60 events that have no hierachy. It’s difficult for sponsors to know where exactly to invest.

One solution offered to rights holders would be to link up with non-sailing events to offer joint pitches. This might take a while. It’s hard enough for sailing rights holders to team up with each other, let alone other events.

The calendar is also important. Annual events held on the same date every year help storytelling consistency.

Sponsors in 2010 are looking for individual systems, tailored to their requirements. This means that sponsorship hunting becomes harder, as every presentation needs to be bespoke. Gone are the days of printing 200 presentations, changing the name and mailing them out in hope.

We’ve said it over and over again, but there is a concept that seems to be gaining ground, even amongst the measurement community. It’s an important concept that people writing sponsorship pitches need to understand….

“Household distribution is not the same as the actual audience.”

In other words, the fact that there are 400 million televisions sets that potentially could have tuned into your show because they have a subscription to a channel does not mean that anyone saw it.

Sponsors are increasingly using a ‘balanced scorecard’ approach to evaluate promotional options. These scorecards are individual and go against some in the industy who are calling for a standardised approach. If everyone is trying to achieve a different goal with a different audience, then the evaluation can’t be standardised across the board.

The key words for rights holders and those looking for sponsorship: Partner, Accountability, Flexibility and Transparency.

The summary from Ulrich Lacher,

  • Understand your product and offer.
  • Understand your partner requirements.
  • Tailor your package based on your partner requirements.
  • Monetise all areas.
  • Duncan

    Interesting… but still lacks detail. Did Ulrich Lacher get into specifics? Actual practical tools that have been implemented and how implementation of such tools worked and was/wasn't successful.

    The principal and theories are fine but the sport needs to learn from real practical applications.

  • There was a lot of detail on how IFM uses lots of data to build up the balanced scorecards and weight different properties against different metrics. I'm sure IFM will sell you all kinds of practical tools, but at the end of the day, their business is measurement and the tools you need depend on who you are and where you sit.

    The theme from most speakers, which is echoed in other sports, is that practical tools can't be standardised. What works for one stakeholder might not be relevant to others.

    From my point of view, sponsors we talk to are weighting digital metrics more highly as they are not approximations and seeking out an online video is an active decision not a passive one. Similarly the number of facebook fans your page has is a real number, not a 'could be' number.

  • Duncan

    Thanks David.

  • Interesting as always. And this isn't specific to sponsorships but applies to marketing (and business) in general.

    Does anyone have examples of ‘balanced scorecard' used in this way? I've used them in business, so it would be great to see how people apply them in spnsorships & events.

  • Duncan

    Thanks David.

  • Interesting as always. And this isn't specific to sponsorships but applies to marketing (and business) in general.

    Does anyone have examples of ‘balanced scorecard' used in this way? I've used them in business, so it would be great to see how people apply them in spnsorships & events.