Infographic: Sports fans are growing ambivalent to sponsorship, report finds

Sports fans: feeling neglected by sponsors
Sports fans: feeling neglected by sponsors

Fans are feeling 'increasing wariness' of brands' involvement in sporting events, according to new research from Momentum Worldwide.

The brand experience agency surveyed 2,000 sports fans in the UK, US, Brazil, Spain and Japan.

A total of 83% of the group said they accepted the statement: ‘Sponsors never consider the fans’. Only 55% of respondents said they would consider trying out a brand or product as the result of their sponsorship.

Momentum reported that when interviewed, many fans said they feel like an afterthought when sponsorship deals are inked. Complaints included event timings being rearranged to suit audiences in other parts of the world, rare tickets ending up in 'the wrong hands', the commercial nature of naming rights and sponsors 'calling too many of the shots'.

No objections

Despite these results, 88% of those surveyed said they believe sponsors have the ability to create new opportunities for their favourite sports and teams. Additionally, 86% said they would not object to seeing more sponsorship in sports. 

The study’s results were positive for the experiential industry, with 82% of respondents saying that being at a live event most enhances their love of sport. 

Mike Sundet, senior vice president, director of sports and entertainment at Momentum, said: "This research shows that while people are open to brands bringing real value to their sports experiences, unfortunately, they don’t currently believe sponsors think about the fans when planning their programs.

"Today’s connected fans are rightfully accustomed to being in control of their relationships—including relationships with brands—and right now they’re feeling let down at sports events.

He added: "The opportunity exists for brands to bridge this gap by celebrating the value of fans—putting them in control and at the heart of these experiences.

"Brands that make sports more accessible and aspirational, that make a positive impact on people’s health and wellbeing, and exploit the social effects of sports for the greater good of individuals and communities will earn lasting attention and positive connections with fans."

More: The Forgotten Fans: Is it worth targeting the busy and cynical with sports activations?

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