My indisputable hypothesis is that the bigger a sponsorship opportunity is, the harder it is to control it for the benefit of your brand. So i wonder why more brands don't sponsor lots of smaller events or the less well known sports. Understandably you are unlikely to hear 'lets own fell running, curling and netball' from a board table thumping CEO but there again smaller events tend to be more grateful and consequently do more to make sure the sponsorship works, they package it and activate if for you. Of course you don't get the reach but you do find consumers keener to repay the commitment. Estate agents and solicitors often find sponsorship of the local sports club pays back in revenues, social bonds being more powerful than financial ones. (see Predictably Irrational, Nursery school experience)
So when i am head of marketing for Bernard Matthews, Krispy Kreme or ACME I'll try to remember.
1) When i am offered a big sponsorship opportunity, look for a series of smaller simpler events that could potentially achieve the same results.
2) Look for opportunities before i am asked
3) Make sure it fits the business (before someone says anything obvious)
4) Think of sponsorship as earned rather than paid media i..e the cheque is only the beginning of a great relationship
Unless of course my new boss likes football and wants tickets to the world cup final. In which case i will pretend my 6 year old wrote this.