How Sponsorships Influence The World Of Sport

how sponsorships influence world of sports business athletic industry

Sponsorship can sometimes seem like a sport all of its own. From Formula 1 teams with their brands stickered all over their uniforms and cars to football clubs who display a sponsor on the front of their shirts, these sponsorships are serious money for teams. So much so that the English Premier League allows football teams to add further sponsors to the sleeves of their shirts, and lower league teams are allowed to add a sponsor on their shirt tails. 

Sealing a sponsorship with a sports team is particularly lucrative for companies around the world. According to Jean Pierre Diernaz, vice president of marketing for Nissan Europe, “sport is now the only potential discipline where you can engage very high numbers of people.” 

In this article, we will explore some of these major sponsorships alongside Audi servicing provider Lookers, and see why they are so valuable. 

Sponsorships In Football 

Football is the world’s most popular sport. With an estimated 3.5 billion fans worldwide, sponsoring a football team can open your brand up to so many potential customers across the globe. For example, Audi sponsors some major sports clients, including ice hockey club ERC Ingolstadt. However, they are hugely involved in football. For one, they are the official vehicle partner for Spanish football giants Real Madrid. But, what does this actually mean? Well, simply put, each member of the Real Madrid first team is provided with an Audi to drive, with the Audi Q7 E Tron among those most popular among the players in 2022. The pair have been unified since July 2003 and remain two of the most successful entities in the world. 

Real Madrid staff reap the benefits, such as with cars from their sponsor. But how does Audi benefit? With Real Madrid being a team full of superstars, the car manufacturer takes advantage of their stature in advertisements. They also perform virtual test drives of new models to build its reputation. 

Audi also sponsors German club Bayern Munich. In 2015, they extended that agreement until 2025, showing that there is great value in such deals. For their estimated €10 million-per-year-deal, the German manufacturers get their logo printed on the match shirts as well as an 8.8% share in the football club. 

Audi isn’t the only big-name car brand to sponsor in sports, of course. Volkswagen are invested in the sport too thanks to their sponsorship deal with UEFA. The partnership, agreed in 2017, saw the two entities connected for four years between 2018 and 2022. They plan to release their new e-mobility family in 2020 – just in time for the next European Championships, which will be held across 13 countries and so providing ultimate exposure and brand awareness. 

Dr Herbert Diess, CEO of Volkswagen said: “No other sport is as powerful as football or unites so many people. Furthermore, UEFA EURO 2020, which is being played across the entire continent, is a fantastic project. Our wish is to contribute towards building bridges between all countries and football fans with our mobility and creativity.” 

Rugby Union Sponsorships 

Second only to football in terms of popularity is rugby. In April 2018, English rugby’s top teams agreed to a four-year sponsorship deal worth £40 million with insurance company Gallagher. While the company is US-founded, it currently has 50 UK branches and will be looking to get a stranglehold on the industry thanks to the exposure it will receive from the sport. 

Of the sponsorship, the company’s Chairman, President and CEO, J. Patrick Gallagher Jr, commented that: “By uniting with this globally-known and fast-growing franchise, we have a terrific opportunity to increase awareness about our company, values, expertise and services, and jointly participate in community projects and causes to make a difference. This dynamic business and marketing partnership with Premiership Rugby reflects who we are culturally and professionally.” 

It is clear from these comments that sponsorships are hugely beneficial and effective. 

Sponsoring Individual Sports Stars 

Businesses can sponsor more than just the teams in sport now too. Companies often seek to get some of the world’s biggest stars on board as they can be role models, thus having people want to wear the brands their heroes wear. An example of this is Michael Jordan in basketball. The former superstar still brings in a whopping $110 million each year thanks to his deal with Nike – over 15 years after he retired from the sport. Retro Jordan trainers (or sneakers if you may) are still strong sellers. In the fiscal year ending May 2016, the range’s revenue was $2.8 billion, meaning a deal with the star is certainly worth it for the clothing giants. 

Puma’s sponsorship of Usain Bolt has helped boost the brand’s image and awareness too. They used him in the Olympics in 2016 to enhance their brand awareness without having to be an official sponsor of the Games. Knowing he would be one of the most photographed participants, they knew they’d be heavily involved in media content. Bolt helped to do this by taking off his iconic trainers after a gold- winning run and making them noticeable to the whole stadium and in every photo. 


These are just a handful of the effective sports sponsorship deals around the world. Every sport has its worth for brands and can help influence its audience. Choosing the correct sporting sponsorships can pretty much guarantee global exposure for a business, making it a no-brainer. Sponsoring a festival or other event won’t even come close to the outreach levels provided by sports, and that is why sports will continue to be extremely influential in sponsorship. Which is the biggest sponsorship deal you can think of in your favorite sport? 

I hope you enjoyed this blog post about how sponsorships influence the world of sport and the growing multi-billion dollar athletics industry.

Interested in more articles about the sports and athletics industry?

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