You’re a sponsor. You sponsor a team that has just got into the finals/playoffs. The team enacts the contract clause that states you either have to pay additional money to extend your sponsorship benefits through the finals, or they will withdraw benefits (cover your signage, withdraw ticket and hospitality privileges, etc) until after the season.
This is fair, right? I mean, you did sign a contract with those provisions, so it’s not like they sprung this on you.
But what if you’ve stuck with that team through eight dismal seasons in a row, falling fan numbers, television coverage down the gurgler, and half-empty corporate boxes because your customers aren’t that interested in seeing the team lose again. What if the team finally has a great season and makes it into the finals? How would you feel if that team finally, FINALLY turned around, and then asked for extra cash to extend the sponsorship?
Yeah, I wouldn’t be impressed, either.
To rightsholders reading this, just because you can enact a clause to extract more cash from a sponsor doesn’t mean you always should. Sometimes, the right thing to do is to recognise the loyalty of your longest-term sponsors. Sometimes, the right thing to do is show your appreciation to sponsors who have continued to believe in the value of the team, even when the team wasn’t delivering. Sometimes, the right thing to do is to extend those benefits to sponsors who have weathered a scandal and stayed with you. Sometimes, the right thing to do is extend those benefits to sponsors that you know haven’t been serviced well (along with a commitment to do better).
For sponsors, if you believe a partner is gouging you for extended benefits that you believe you’ve earned (or there are signs they might gouge you), there are a few strategies that can restore some equity.
I am not advocating that sponsors turn into hyper-demanding sponzillas, but you shouldn’t be taken for granted, either. There really are a lot of options, and most of them won’t treat you like that.
You may also be interested in my white papers, “Last Generation Sponsorship Redux” and “Disruptive Sponsorship: Like Disruptive Marketing, Only Better“.
Rightsholders, for all you need to know about sponsorship sales and servicing, you may want to get a copy of The Sponsorship Seeker’s Toolkit 4th Edition.
If you need professional assistance with sponsorship, I offer sponsorship consulting and strategy sessions, sponsorship training, and sponsorship coaching. I also offer a comprehensive sponsorship capacity-building service for large, diverse, and/or decentralised organisations.
Please feel free to drop me a line to discuss.
© Kim Skildum-Reid. All rights reserved. To enquire about republishing or distribution, please see the blog and white paper reprints page.