Credible Sustainability: Sponsorship
Europe's biggest sport business agency is embarking on the sustainability marathon and is taking its partners with it.
Together with timesarechanging, fors.earth is supporting SPORTFIVE and its partners - Bundesliga soccer clubs and sports associations among them - in the development of strategies and their translation into valuable sponsorship partnerships.
Realizing and exploiting new opportunities as a credible sustainability platform
Sports, especially soccer, have always been at the center of public interest in Germany. Thanks to the high level of attention and smart medialization, clubs and players have developed into valuable, image-shaping, and far-reaching platforms for sponsors. But as Voltaire, Churchill and Ben Parker said: With great power comes great responsibility. The COVID crisis – with its newly granted privileges – has further intensified public pressure on the major players in the industry. Stakeholders such as fans and the public are demanding more sustainability, and sponsors, as the central financial backers of clubs and associations, are also taking an ever-closer look.
Europe's largest sport business agency SPORTFIVE is a central player in the industry and was one of the first to recognize the opportunities presented by this development. A credible and up-to-date sustainability strategy is essential for any club or association with a strong attitude and identity to maintain its sponsor base. Moreover, when implemented sensibly and translated into value-added products, sustainability in practice leads to a significant increase in relevance and appeal as a sponsorship platform. Here, SPORTFIVE wants to set the pace and be a valuable point of contact for the business community, while supporting its sports partners on their way to becoming industry pioneers and developing new sponsorship products.
In parallel, fors.earth is supporting SPORTFIVE in its aim of becoming the most sustainable employer brand in the German sports business in the medium term.
From strategy development to account working, new products and go-to-market concepts
The SPORTFIVE Sustainability Days initially laid the foundation for a common understanding of sustainability and sharpened SPORTFIVE's attitude and identity for sustainability. These outcomes formed the starting point for both sub-projects: the positioning and development of SPORTFIVE as a more sustainable employer and the new and further development of sponsorship products.
In the employer brand sub-project, a realistic roadmap was developed and an implementation plan with the three pillars of fields of action & focus topics, sustainability management and anchoring in the organizational structure was drawn up. In addition, a suitable certification process for SPORTFIVE was identified and initial measures for this process were defined. The next steps will be to finalize a sustainability mission statement and to plan and support its operational implementation.
In the area of product development, processes were established based on joint workshops, clusters were identified, and blueprints and modules for product development were drafted that are tailored to each possible sustainability maturity level of the potential partners. Here, the perspectives of both rights holder and sponsor were taken as a starting point and new components, products, packages, and partner levels were developed based on key industries, accounts, and partners. In parallel, workshops were prepared and conducted with clubs to achieve a common understanding of sustainability with them as well, and to design a strategy and to jointly develop individual, credible products. To generate commercial success, the sales department is being trained and go-to-market strategies are being designed. At the same time, key accounts are being examined based on their respective sustainability challenges and solutions are developed to enmesh the companies' individual sustainability agendas with their sponsorship engagements, find suitable platforms and create credible partnership stories.
Frank Sprenger in the SPONSORs Podcast (in German): Warum Nachhaltigkeit für das Sportbusiness eine große Chance bietet.
Using the power, reach and leverage of sports for the positive in a sustainable way
Sports has the best prerequisites for acting as a credible platform and stage for sustainability issues of various kinds, not only because of its incredible reach. A large proportion of partners are non-profit associations or have non-profit roots; social and community engagement is inherent in sports and its institutions. In addition, sports already plays an important and proven role for decades in health, youth, integration, and inclusion, primarily through its role model character. It is even more important that this societal impact is the focus of the strategy, not just the reduction of the footprints. It is our common aspiration to harness the transformative potential of sports - in line with SDG 17, "Partnerships to achieve the goals".
Under the motto "sharing is caring," SPORTFIVE has taken the initiative and published a free ePaper. We are glad to have made our contribution to this together with timesarechanging.