Rugby fans are gripped by World Cup fever as 20 nations compete for the coveted Webb Ellis Cup. Around 466,000 spectators are expected to visit host country England to watch games and soak up the atmosphere over six weeks.
The Rugby World Cup is expected to deliver up to £2.2billion in output to the UK’s economy, translating into an additional £982million of value added to gross domestic product. Big business is often keen to get in on the action by becoming sponsors. This helps them generate brand awareness, access consumers and hopefully generate more sales.
Sponsors help fund tournaments by providing money that can be used from grassroots sport right up to building stadiums and running match days. A company also gets the benefit of increased media coverage, brand recognition and the potential for more contacts and sales. They may even be able to use sponsorship to reduce their tax bill.
Anything is up for sponsorship, from the drinks to entertainment and the big screens. Companies can be worldwide partners, such as Heineken, official sponsors such as Coca Cola, or suppliers and providers such as Dove and Heathrow.
According to management consultancy McKinsey a well-run sponsorship campaign can increase returns by as much as 30 percent. Research by IG shows there is even evidence that a company’s share price or sales can increase off the back of a sporting event. It is hard to predict who will be the best team on the pitch, but which companies are set to perform the best?
As a worldwide partner, Heineken can expect a number of perks. A 500m exclusion zone has been set up where no rival brands can be sold around the stadiums. You will also see Heineken branding at stadiums, on posters and billboards throughout the tournament. The company will be able to hold its own events and market itself directly to spectators. This will provide ongoing media coverage that beats any stand-alone advert and increases brand awareness, as well as boosting sales.
Heathrow is an official tournament provider and will be the landing pad for the teams and most of the 460,000 fans visiting the UK. This will benefit airlines at the airport and shops taking advantage of increased footfall and is a chance for Heathrow to promote services such as its business lounge and shopping facilities. Heathrow will be looking to make a good impression and minimise delay to help its image, especially to prove its claim for a third runway.
There are many different benefits to sponsorship and while the rewards may not be instant, companies recognise the social and cultural importance of sport to their profits.
Which companies do you think will come out on top?