Football Trade Directory

The Future of Sponsorship in Sport

A panel of industry experts excelled at our recent Football & Rugby Business Networking event at the Etihad Stadium.

Hosted by marketing guru ,Adrian Stores, CEO at ACROBAT FCSM the panel explored a number of areas including traditional sponsorship, NFTs, The Metaverse and player power in sponsorship. The panel consisted of:

  • Ming Zhao – Marketing Manager at Blackburn Rovers
  • Dan Wilson – Partner at Sedulo
  • Giorgi Jashiashvili – CEO and Co-Founder of Enefty
  • Charlie Beech – Founder of Front Row Support

The discussion began with a new area of sponsorship and fundraising - NFT’s. As an expert in the area Giorgi Jashiashvili explained how some clubs have had success with NFTs and why others,  didn’t have the same success.

Expanding the point he told the audience that fans don’t just want an NFT, they are also looking at other benefits from the club such as club discounts. The discussion then highlighted the scarcity factor adding value and how less can mean more. It could be better to sell a few scare items at a big price rather than 1000s of items at a small price. Liverpool found that when over 90% of a NFT launch went unsold because there were too many available.

A hot topic in football is around ownership and how owners, in particular their public image, can impact attracting sponsors. Oldham Athletic’s struggles to attract new sponsors due to the relationship between their owner and the fans was cited as a current example. Discussing this Dan Wilson added “CSR is getting massive for sponsors when looking at ROI with a club that are not community focused, annoying fans and them boycotting the club people aren’t going to sponsor them”.

The customer journey has always been important for clubs but none more so than now with the world of social media where experience, good and bad, can be shared to a wide audience almost immediately. Ming Zhao talking about this said, “you need to create added value for the whole customer journey and experience to create a positive image for the club and the partner”.

The power of players is massive now which can be used to attract new sponsors and partners, speaking on this Charlie Beech stated, “if you send a player into a room full of potential sponsors it can open doors that aren’t open to other people.” He later added the example of Marcus Rashford and the reach he has which “clubs need to realise the players are where all of the focus is so if you get them turning things around and helping sponsors that will be key”.

There was much positive feedback from the delegates and  we intend to hold similar panels on other themes at future events. So watch this space.

The full video can viewed by clicking here. 

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