Sport needs to consider the long term

The debate generated by the RSL research on the value of sponsorship, your editorial coverage and subsequent letters all raise key questions for commercial sponsors of sport.

The Institute of Sports Sponsorship represents the leading sponsors of sport in Britain, who remain convinced of its value. But that value exists only when the cost is commensurate with the return. The industry is currently giving clearer signals that this relationship is getting out of balance.

The temptation for sport to sell rights to the highest bidder is understandable, and the determination of Rupert Murdoch to use sport as a “battering ram” to gain subscribers is undoubtedly shrewd.

The only counsel the ISS can give to sport is to remind it that the battering ram was always a short-term device: effective but with a propensity to leave a lot of damage in its wake.

Many sponsors have developed long-term, mutually beneficial relationships with sport. They have exchanged people and skills, as well as provided money, to create events and activities that are valued by the sport spectators and the consumers of the sponsor’s product.

If this relationship is broken sponsors will invest in alternative means of marketing communication of which, sport should be reminded, there are many.

Come the time when the battering ram has done its job, sport may find itself in the unfortunate position of surveying the rubble and finding no-one to pay for the rebuilding.

Mike Scott

Director

The Institute of Sports Sponsorship

London SW1

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