The prospect of another sporting season with no or very limited stadium access for fans is sadly materialising. And it’s showing, once again, that TV is critical.
The constant uncertainty surrounding the sporting events sector is hardly bearable on many levels. The financial pressure caused by the lack of match-day revenue will leave even clubs in the richest leagues to deal with consequences that are still difficult to define.
“As uncertainty continues in all aspects of society, we will not have a full scope of what this pandemic means for us, European clubs, and for the football industry as a whole until later down the line.”
Andrea Agnelli, Chairman, European Clubs Association.
There will probably be the need for partial reforms and for reconsidering steps recently taken, but it certainly reminded us – if we ever needed a reminder – what is critical for the present and the future of the professional sporting industry.
Everything gravitates around broadcasting
With the example of English football reportedly losing £100 million for every month that fans are not allowed in the venues, what props that industry up are the colossal broadcasting deals that Premier League stipulated and vastly based its business model on.
This means that it will be unlikely for top-tier European football in general – and other mainstream sports – to stop again due to public health regulations. They simply cannot afford to pay eye-watering rebates to broadcasters.
On the one hand, this is undoubtedly good news, at least in terms of giving much-needed continuity to advertising and sponsorship. On the other, we will still be in a phase of damage limitation and improvisation, where it is unlikely that new commercial models able to compensate ‘zero-revenue venues’ will be brought to the table quickly enough.
Therefore, in this scenario, it’s best to stick to what matters the most and what works.
We need to prioritise camera-facing opportunities
Marketing and advertising in lockdown showed us that remaining relevant to customers has proven difficult. The flattening of mainstream advertising messaging between March-June 2020 highlighted how desperately brands needed a way to differentiate themselves and the absence of live sports only exacerbated the problem.
The association with sports organisations, by nature, offers brands the opportunity to ‘take one side’ and appeal to a given audience. Branding and advertising within the sports framework infuse an element of trust that not many other platforms can provide.
With wide audiences needing entertainment and sponsors trying to remain visible and relevant, football, for instance, is key.
You need more assets and you need better assets
Getting the branding right at live sporting events is critical to give brands the much-needed exposure. To achieve this rights holders need to capitalise on every opportunity to increase their advertising inventory, whether this is needed to ‘repair’ for undelivered assets or to make space for new partners who understand the importance of the sports sponsorship medium.
Empty stands are not of great appeal to broadcasters, with directors being advised to concentrate on different details. When fans’ reactions and emotions were normally highlighted with regularity, now there is more airtime for on-the-pitch action. Therefore the branding on and near the pitch automatically receives more opportunities to be seen.
Focus on quality assets
Taking as an example our 3D CamCarpets, when sponsors pay for some of the most valuable positions, they need a solution that doesn’t take shortcuts and always delivers a great effect.
We go to great lengths to offer clients superior calculation that takes into account environmental and structural factors such as slopes, changing angle gradients within the same carpet, lighting, and different weather conditions. Through our expertise, premium materials, and a world-class production process we bring sponsors’ messaging and logos to life.
Find the balance between impact and flexibility
By using Foam Wedges rights holders can easily find ways to maximise their inventory with a product that is neat, durable, light and easy to look after.
A few of our clients use them successfully on the midfield line, some even as a lower row of advertising under the LED boards.
Foam Wedges can be used near the players’ benches, where cameras point to more often now. The inner foam makes them safe to position near the pitch and where players warm up.
Such a flexible advertising instrument can also allow commercial teams to move them around and experiment which positions work best for their sponsors.
Cover all possible angles with Around the goal advertising
With a trend for cameras to avoid wide shots, whenever possible, there is more need to fill the airtime with on-the-pitch content. Instant replays from multiple camera positions are often used to compensate this and the importance of every goal-scoring opportunity becomes even more important than it was before, from a branding perspective.
With a combination of Pitch Poppers, BackAds Freestanding and Foam Wedges, it is possible to cover the majority of angles where 3D CamCarpets don’t figure on the screen. These pitch advertising supports are certainly smaller than a 3D CamCarpet but benefit from repeat views in crucial moments of the game.
Printed on high-quality materials they all come with anti-glare properties that guarantee optimal visual performance in any weather conditions.
Be prepared – Be proactive
Conversations between sponsors and rights holders can take several nuances based on how the relationship was built and the contingent circumstances on either side. From rather ‘legalistic’ talks about refunds or termination to mere readjustments and rights swaps and even sponsors being in a position to support the rights holders no matter what.
In all these circumstances a thorough review of your advertising inventory, on the pitch and around the venue can help with bringing new ideas to the table whether the conversation with your commercial partners is going to be difficult or not. We are here to help to review your branding inventory bringing nearly 25 years of experience delivering innovative solutions at the highest level of professional sports.
Sejer Aagaard, Head of International Sales and Marketing, Amayse
Get in touch with our sports advertising experts
They will offer their advice, help you visualise ideas and opportunities and support you throughout the process.