A study into the value of brands who sponsor Aussie sports codes in winter has revealed that St George Bank’ssponsorship of the NRL team St George Illawarra created the most awareness amongst fans.
The study by research firm True North found that for a sponsorship to resonate at least one of the following key ingredients is present to explain the success of the sponsorship: longevity, a strong emotional connection, great activation, a good brand fit or a supporter base primed for sponsor messaging.
For eyeballs alone, financial institution St George’s sponsorship of St George Illawarra continues to have the highest awareness amongst all winter league teams, and it is not difficult to understand why.
However, while awareness plays an important role in the overall impact of a sponsorship, another key component is how people subsequently behave towards that sponsor once they are aware of it – do they consider or actually use the brand, have more trust in the sponsor or feel more positive towards the brand? The following sponsorships see the strongest outcomes:
- St George again features and is the beneficiary of the highest positive sentiment deferred to its brand as a result of its sponsorship of the Queensland Reds. This is closely followed by Fortescue’s sponsorship of the Western Force, Twiggy Forrest’s continued support of rugby union in WA being instrumental in this result.
- Canterbury’s sponsorship of the NSW Waratahs sees the highest consideration of that sponsor’s brand of any winter league sponsorship. As seen in 2018, the Waratahs continue to see strong consideration for a number of its sponsors.
- However, the team who sees the strongest sponsor consideration averaged across all of its sponsorships is the Cronulla Sharks. Despite its sponsorship turnover, the Sharks see strong consideration for its locally based sponsors.
- Two of Melbourne Vixens’ sponsorships top the rankings for first time usage and trust: the Puma sponsorship ranks number one for encouraging first time usage of its brand, while Bupa has benefited from higher trust as a result of the sponsorship. A strong emotional connection and a supporter base that is primed for sponsor messaging are playing an important role. The Vixens’ supporter base over indexes on five key demographic profiles that True North has discovered are the most likely to engage with sponsors.
- The Coffee Club’s sponsorship of the Brisbane Lions has seen the strongest results for using the brand more frequently, its activation offering a free beverage on game days clearly playing a role.
- When you take into account all of these sponsor outcomes (sentiment, consideration, usage, trust) and factor in the familiarity of the team, it’s Mazda’s long-running sponsorship of the North Melbourne Football Club that sees the strongest outcomes of any winter league team.
True North also captures this information for National teams and League sponsors. Rugby Australia’s national teams perform very strongly across a number of sponsorship metrics but it’s the Australian Men’s Cricket Test Team’s partnerships with Qantas that has pipped every League, Winter and National team’s sponsorships to the overall top spot for sponsorship impact.
Commenting on the findings, Georgie Maynard, director at True North Research said:“There are a few factors that will determine whether an individual connects with your brand: a strong emotional connection to the team and subsequently your brand, a great activation and a supporter base that is primed for sponsorship messaging.
“We help sponsors identify the supporter base that will be most open to your messages, the teams who have a strong emotional connection with your target audience and represent the best fit for your brand, and the levers to pull to activate the partnership successfully.”