Jun 08, 2011 at 03:37 PM
written by Brent Barootes

Securing Your Piece of the Sponsorship Pie

Is the sponsorship pie shrinking or growing? All research and numbers seem to indicate that it is growing. The annual IEG research shows that investment in sponsorship in North America (rights fees and activation dollars combined) is growing annually, even during the recession a few years back.


The Canadian Sponsorship Landscape Study has shown the same trend for the past six years. When it is released officially in a couple of weeks at the Canadian Sponsorship Forum at the Montreal Grand Prix, I am sure it will show continued growth between last year and this year.

Imagine Canada indicated that corporate donors are switching to corporate sponsorship at a rate of 50% per annum. Research shows that brands are spending 15% or more on sponsorship, event and experiential marketing today where, five years ago, they were spending less than 5%! Yes, the growth is there. But I keep hearing from properties on my most recent speaking circuit (over 30 workshops, keynotes and sessions in 14 Canadian municipalities over four months) that “corporate is cutting back,” “there is not as much money out there as there used to be,” and “we can’t find sponsors to support our event.”

Wake up and smell the roses! That is what I say to those who can’t find money and who really think sponsors are cutting back.

Sure, there are some sponsors who have cut back, but overall sponsorship is up…and it continues to grow. The reality check here is that the properties making these claims are the ones that (for the most part) are trying to sell packages. They are more focused on getting the money they want and need than they are on the sponsors’ needs and wants. These are the ones that do not understand relationship selling, discovery sessions and custom-developed sponsorship proposals.

These are the properties that are asking volunteers to “pitch” asks to their friends, hoping someone will get arm-twisted into buying a “sponsorship” which often delivers no value for the sponsor from a business perspective. These are the properties that are pitching “gold, silver and bronze” stock packages thinking they are a solution. These are often the properties that are really seeking a “handout” to fulfil their missions, not organizations that care about their sponsors, just themselves.

There is money out there. There is lots of money out there and the pie is growing. To get your piece of the pie (or more) you need to think sponsorship and partnerships, not “woe is me, please help me.” For every time I hear, “Oh, corporate sponsorship is on the decline,” I can rebut with another recent naming or sponsorship that has made headlines. Some of these are huge investments in the millions of dollars, but many are average local sponsorships of $2,500 to $25,000. The sponsorship pie is growing and those who know how to serve it up right will get the biggest piece.

Those who do it wrong…well, the pie will disappear.

These are just one person's thoughts. Yours are welcomed as well, so please email me at brent@partnershipgroup.ca or add your comments below.


Photobucket Brent Barootes is President of Calgary-based, Partnership Group. The Partnership Group is headquartered in Calgary, Alberta Canada and provides innovative sponsorship programs for corporations and sponsor properties in the areas of not-for-profits, sports organizations, and government agencies and government operations, charities, events, member associations, tournaments and conferences.

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