Not As Simple As Slapping A Logo On A Jersey: Why Simply Partnering With A Team Isn’t Enough

Not As Simple As Slapping A Logo On A Jersey: Why Simply Partnering With A Team Isn’t Enough

So many brands make the mistake of simply partnering with a sporting team or sportsperson and letting the work stop there. In the process, these brands ultimately ignore the wealth of opportunities that arise when thinking more broadly about how a mutual relationship can benefit both parties.

Put simply, you can’t put all your eggs in one basket. Too many brands make the mistake of putting their total investment into naming rights and not covering other branches, leaving no funds to amplify or support that investment. It’s not enough to have your name associated with an event or code; more commitment is required.

Speaking with B&T earlier this year, Chris Colter, chief strategy and product officer at Initiative, who was instrumental in the B&T Award-winning cricket cover campaign, said that “too many brands invest millions in sporting sponsorships to simply surround the experience and hope the halo delivers for them. Brands that go beyond this to actively contribute to the experience in a way that’s distinctively ownable to them achieve disproportionate returns”.

One brand that knows a thing or two about connecting with different teams and sportspeople across different channels and outlets globally is According to CMO Steven Kalifowitz, the brand works to have a “true partnership” that isn’t just about branding and advertising but about helping to innovate and grow brand presence both for and its partners.

“For example, Australia is a key growth market and leader in cryptocurrency adoption; why wouldn’t we foster a partnership with the country’s biggest sport, AFL, and facilitate fan competitions and activations but at the same time support the league to engage with their fan base? So we will continue to invest in strategic brand partnerships to support the pursuit of our vision – which is crypto in every wallet,” he said.’s journey into the sporting world started with a massive investment into one of the fastest-growing global sports, Formula 1. Seeing the remarkable impact that this connection had, the cryptocurrency exchange company became the first title partner of the Miami Grand Prix. Continuing on this trajectory, the brand signed a multi-year deal with the UFC, the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, the Philadelphia 76ers, the AFL and AFLW, Adelaide Crows, Fremantle Dockers, Richmond Tigers and Gold Coast Suns, to name a few.

UFC Fight Kit

Perhaps the crowning jewel in’s partnership portfolio is its connection with the former Staples Centre. “Another signature moment came with the opportunity through AEG, owners of the formerly named
Staples Center, reaching out to us directly. Our newly established reputation preceded us, and as a result,
we were able to close a 20-year deal to rename the world’s most iconic (and busy) venue,
Arena, home to the Grammy Awards, Lakers, Kings, and Clippers,” said Kalifowitz. arena

However, the success of a brand’s endeavour in the sporting world comes down to much more than just slapping a logo on a jersey or buying the naming rights to a stadium. works with its sporting partners on content creation and strategy to bring customers dynamic and engaging experiences.

“We have just announced a Pay integration at Adelaide Oval, home of the Adelaide Crows. Various food and drink outlets inside the venue can now accept payments from customers using their App. We are a major partner of the Crows and, of course, the AFL, so to be able to do something like this is incredibly exciting; it not only advances payment technology at the Oval but encourages fans to interact with our app in a way that allows them to pay for everyday goods and services. It is also extremely scalable technology so we see a lot of promise for future integrations like this,” said Kalifowitz.

AFL executive general manager customer and commercial Kylie Rogers and general manager Asia & Pacific, Karl Mohan. Picture: Jonathan Di Maggio

“We’ve been around now for almost eight years, and’s continued growth – particularly over
the last three years – can be attributed in a major part to our brand awareness campaigns and also our
very important strategic partnerships. I believe these have fundamentally changed the trajectory of our
company and our industry”.

Selecting sports teams or professionals is not always an easy task for brands, and there is genuinely no one-size-fits-all approach that a brand can adopt to establish the best relationships. The reality is that different brands need and want different things in a sports partnership. For Kalifowitz, the key is being present over a more extended period so that fans associate with its affiliated teams, recognising the brand in an integrated way. “We’re in our third season with a lot of teams now, and we’re part of the fabric,” he said.

Reputationally, large-scale global events can be huge for brands. The FIFA World Cup in 2022 did wonders for, coming at a time when the industry was taking a significant hit. “Being there and sponsoring the World Cup showed had staying power and solidity. It helped us build trust, and we reaped the benefits with site traffic increasing pre, post, and during the tournament,” Kalifowitz said.

“Initially, our strategy was about introducing who we were at a time when no one knew who we were and
based on our research, it’s worked very well, so we’re now capitalising on that,” he said.

Check out B&T’s Spotlight on Sponsors series for all the latest news from the sports partnership world here.

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