John Trainor on a Decade of Sponsorship

Tomorrow morning at the Aviva Stadium the Irish sponsorship community will gather for  ‘Who Won Sponsorship 2019’.

The Onside annual event, in partnership with the Marketing Institute of Ireland, is now completely sold out but we have one ‘Golden Ticket to give away to a Sport for Business member.

If you would like to join us simply email us before 12 noon today quoting ‘Who Won’ in the subject line and we will select a winner at random.

A key element of this year’s event will be a look back at the decade of sponsorship in Ireland.

As part of a partnership between Sport for Business and this event, we have interviewed a number of those who will be appearing asked them their views on the changing nature of the partnership landscape in Ireland.

In the final interview, we sat down with John Trainor, founder of Onside and one of the figures that has shaped sponsorship in Ireland over the decade.

SfB: We are celebrating a decade in which sport and sponsorship have changed beyond recognition. What are the main changes that have impacted Sport and Sponsorship in Ireland in your view?

JT: Our world is getting smaller through technology, while our lives are getting busier and our wants and needs are multiplying.

Society is changing at lightning speed, generational gaps are growing wider and societies are fragmenting.

Throughout all this upheaval, sport is a winner. As the number of communal moments we share comes under fire, sport, and the passion it unlocks offers a steady stream of live and widely-shared moments.

Sport is one of the most important unifying forces in an Ireland that needs trusted communities to rally around.

In this context, there is no doubt that sponsorship in Ireland has grown to a world-class standard this decade and the maturing Irish fan landscape has been at the heart of the revolution.

The relationships between fans and teams or events, and fans and brands, is being shaped by a major increase in the sophistication of fan communities in Ireland.

The relationships between fans and sponsor brands have become more conscious and complex; expectations and returns have changed, as fans rightly become more expectant of engaging, authentic experiences as central participants in a fragmenting media world – and fans are empowered as never before, gaining their own voice through social media.

Sponsors and rights holders have also transformed how they see their respective roles and in the best cases now genuinely operate like partners.

SfB: Do you feel that sport is closer to the fans now than ever before or further away

JT: It’s right up close and comfortably personal.  Sport is closer to its mainstream fan base in a much more tuned-in and fan-first way than we have seen before, democratising and deepening its appeal in a more balanced way generally.

While 6 in 10 Irish adults are sports fans today, the depth of relationship that casual fans have with their sport will be where sports can grow more in the next decade. 

Meanwhile, we can see a much higher ceiling of potential mass sports appeal aiming closer to 8 in 10 Irish adults a decade from now as fan bases become more diverse and inclusive.   

Get your organisation game ready for 2020 with a Sport for Business membership, just like Onside, Vodafone, Diageo and Paralympics Ireland all of whom have featured in this series.

SfB: What do you see as potentially the biggest opportunities for sponsorship professionals in the next decade?

JT: One of the most important plays will be in the level of intelligence available to professionals.  With the technology being built today, sponsors and rights holders won’t have to guess about what’s working. New tools will provide better data, asset management and decision-making.  

More accurate, AI-powered measurement will ultimately lead to sales impact analysis that will migrate from survey and panels to actual spending behaviour measured through partnerships with global data and payment processors.

On the more outputs based model, even TV-visible signage analysis will be far smarter, with amends happening during a game rather than at the end of a month or season. 

High-value potential moments at sports occasions will be purchased programmatically and priced dynamically. Brands and teams will capitalise when moments worth millions occur rather than when the tea is being made.

Just some of the micro opportunities for all stakeholders in the field of sport and sponsorship include rethinking venues for greater experiences for fans, more fan zone experiences outside of the main host venues, and more international travel based sports experiences into and out of Ireland. 

A reboot of tier two sports outside the big three of  GAA, Rugby and Soccer, sports like golf and swimming, for example, should also be worth keeping an eye on.

A whole new e-commerce experience and in-stadia mash-up of sport, entertainment, food and escape around sport will also be spaces for our industry to bring new possibilities to life and take sport and sponsorship even deeper into the hearts and needs of sports fans of all shapes and size.

And at a key societal level, we can all be most excited about the role sport can play in leading fights against issues around sustainability, health and discrimination, serving as the biggest platform for positive change.

The Onside annual event, in partnership with the Marketing Institute of Ireland, is now completely sold out but we have one ‘Golden Ticket to give away to a Sport for Business member.

If you would like to join us simply email us before 12.30 today quoting ‘Who Won’ in the subject line and we will select a winner at random.

 

Image credits, Onside

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