One of the most recent trends in the sports sponsorship industry is the tendency for deals to include a B2B proposition. What does it mean?
Simply put, a deal is partially or even totally connected (and dependent) to a B2B relationship between the property and the sponsor.
Some sports sponsorships are effectively born from an existing business relationship between the parties or when negotiated, the property and the sponsor agree to a variable or fixed value connected to the B2B element. Let's give some examples.
You are the lubricants supplier of an automotive manufacturer who happens to have a Formula 1 team. You want to strengthen the relationship and perhaps promote the association, what can you do? Engage with the Formula 1 team and invest a small part of the money you make with the B2B relationship into the racing team.
Another example: you are a technology company and agree to supply your products for free to the Formula 1 team in exchange for marketing rights. On top of that, you recognise to the team a commission if you make a business deal thanks to their introduction.
By looking at those two examples, we would all agree that the B2B element in a sports sponsorship deal is an opportunity. But sometimes, it can also be a threat.
When the focus of the deal shifts too much towards the B2B element rather than the marketing proposition, some companies tend to forget the intrinsic brand and communication value of a sports sponsorship. For instance, some clothing and forex brands are very much commercially driven and tend to invest only as much as they can make from the B2B relationship.
This can be a challenge because not all the B2B relationships have a consistent and adequate cash flow and, also, the rights holder can't always guarantee that a deal can be done.
Conclusively, it is important to have a B2B element in a sports sponsorship as it makes it easier to start a conversation and gets both parties motivated to make the relationship work. But one should never forget the brand and communication value of a sports sponsorship which, in most cases, already justify the investment.