Sports Marketers Will Wait And See If British Sponsors Will Continue Backing Team GB
More than $1B in British sponsorship money flowed into the Olympics during the past seven years, and the marketplace is watching closely to see if any brands reserve some marketing dollars to support Olympic sports in the future. Team Great Britain, which has been supported over the last seven years by a public lottery, has not traditionally attracted a lot of sponsorship cash, and most of the marketing dollars in the U.K. is directed to the English Premier League. The success of Team GB over the last two weeks has many sports marketing execs in the U.K. optimistic that will change. Wasserman Media Group Europe CEO Sam Rush said, "It will be interesting to see what the legacy will be." M&C Saatchi Sport & Entertainment CEO Steve Martin said, "Football is all we care about here. In six weeks time, will we be back to the Premiership or will some sports such as cycling continue to grow?" Martin said he expects some of the brands that sponsored the Olympics the last seven years will look to extend that commitment and capitalize on the nation's nascent passion for Team GB sports, but he was uncertain of how extensive their investments would be. Martin: "The Team GB guys have to go to the market next week because their sponsorships end after the Games. You can look at that as an unbelievable opportunity because the Games have shown how sport can generate passion and the power of aligning with Team GB, or it could be a problem because the macro environment we're in means that not everyone is flush with cash after the credit crunch. Nobody knows if the dollars will roll in or if it will be doom and gloom."
COMPETITION FOR FUNDS: Some of the sponsorship dollars will be redirected into other big sports events destined for the U.K. in the coming years. The nation will host track and field's world championships in '13, the Commonwealth Games in '14 and the Rugby World Cup in '15. That will make it tough for Olympic sports to keep sponsors' marketing dollars, but marketing execs believe that after brands have evaluated results from the London Games, they will preserve some commitment to Olympic sports. Sports marketing PR agency Threepipe Sport Head Eddie May said: "A lot of it will get reinvested into other sponsorships and sporting properties. Because of some of the success of Team GB, there will be a big appetite to keep involved in these sports in big ways. A fair proportion of it will still be there. I don't think all of that investment will suddenly stop after the Olympics."