Article Univision in the News

Inside Radio: NAB Show: Sports Sponsorships Build Audience, Rally Relationships

Apr 13, 2018

While advertising has long been the bread and butter of traditional broadcasters, the big “S” means big “$” for the bottom line. The NAB Show session “The Art of Sports Sponsorship: How to Win Friendly Sponsors and Influence Fans,” in fact, insists that sponsorships are the “single, biggest sources of revenues for the business of sports radio, television and video.”

There are numerous variables for broadcasters to foster and then maintain success amid the “game” of sponsorships—from the provider/sponsor relationship to attracting fans to those events driven by sponsorships. And perhaps the best part: Forget the stereotypes. “The audience that is driven by sports… the average age is 30 or 31, and they’re not living in their parent’s basement. They’re in their basements with their kids and they’re well educated. The numbers are good,” said Stuart Lipson, Executive Director of Esports Ad Bureau. “This is not a fad. There is too much opportunity.”

Added Grant Jones, COO and Co-Founder of entertainment company Above Average and humor publication The Kicker, “We have built our business on treating our sponsors as partners. Our goal is to collaborate in a way that differentiates their brand, led first by talent and then by content that is truly relevant. It’s a partnership, where the goal is always to come up with something that is a win win.”

Describing his boutique firm’s mandate, Jones said that it’s “harder for a smaller publisher to have scale to sell—so we’ve pivoted to providing branded content and (customized) service.” Working with Pepsi this year, the soft drink maker wanted to create a sponsorship where its spot ran as the lead-in to Justin Timberlake’s halftime musical performance. Not only did Above Average pull that off, but it also created an additional buy-in where Jimmy Fallon stood on a 30-foot high sign in Long Island touting Pepsi to accompany the officially named “Pepsi Super Bowl LII Halftime Show.”

“They came to us and we were able to leverage our relationship with them to follow through with exactly what they wanted—which changed along the way,” Jones said.

For Univision Communications, the unique relationship it has with its Hispanic-focused audience has created a wealth of sports sponsorship opportunities—in particular with clients aiming to reach soccer fans. The media company has obtained rights to nearly every national soccer franchise, team and event in the U.S.—and “surrounds those fans with the best of soccer. So what happens is when we (execute) advertising in the right way it is highly effective,” said Carlos Deschapelles, Executive VP of Sports Sales for Univision.

He also points to the unique circumstances of selling sports sponsorships that target that audience. “I’ve been at Univision for 31 years, and I still walk into meetings every day and have to justify” why an advertiser should buy its demographic/audience. “There’s this burden of proof we have—but because of that, we’ve had to invest in more research than most,” ultimately to the company’s advantage.

“The Hispanic market operates different than anything else. My title is about marketing before it is sales. If there is one thing I’d say over and over on this panel, it is speak to the market in their language and in their culture,” Deschapelles adds.

He also advised session attendees that when a particular event is an appropriate match for a specific sports sponsor, “make sure what you do is contextually relevant. We spend most of the time discussing ‘the game around the game’ – about being meaningful to the fan in context and with content.”

Deschapelles offered a primo example of a sports sponsorship that brings back that “$” beside the “S.” He explained during the session that Nissan came to Univision looking to make its Rogue mini-SUV a “much bigger player.” Univision built a “Legends Lounge” for Nissan, where its talent and famed soccer players would broadcast together. The sponsorship lasted for a year—after which sales of Rogue grew an astonishing 49% within the Hispanic community. “That’s proof in the pudding about doing it the right way and seeing results,” he said. “And these aren’t bars of soap.”

Source: Inside Radio

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