Sep 05, 2019 at 12:00 AM
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Eight Sponsorship Categories For Fall

With NFL kick-off hours away, Fall is finally here! While you're probably finalizing your fantasy line-up, our predictions here focus on which sponsors and sponsorship categories are going to be spending over the new few months. Here's a few we're keeping our eye on, and you should too, if you're pitching new partners this Fall.

  • Dental: Back-to-school is peak marketing time for most dental practices across the U.S. Consider also that this category has seen some seismic shifts over the past couple of years with well-funded national start-ups entering the category, which includes Candid, SmileDirectClub, Aspen Dental, Invisalign and The Smile Generation. Each of these companies is aiming build brand awareness through major new sponsorship deals. One in particular just signed a nationwide sponsorship, as part of its $120 million annual commitment to raise consumer awareness of doctor directed clear aligner treatment for better smiles.
  • Office Supplies: Similarly, back-to-school season is peak spending season for office supplies retailers like Office Depot and Staples, and a major marketing event for big box retailers in general such as Walmart and Target. Expect increased activations over the next 90 days.
  • Eyewear Along with Dental, many schools require eye check-ups for school and athletics at the beginning of each year. This makes it a peak season for eye care companies like Zenni, which has had a busy summer signing an eclectic array of new sponsorships including deals with the San Francisco 49ers, Electric Zoo, Tootsie the Musical and the Golden State Warriors' Golden Guardians.
  • Plant-based Products: The growing plant-based food products sector is looking to go from niche mom-and-pop retailers to mainstream supermarket aisles. To accompany that move, companies like Lightlife Foods and OWYN are signing their first festival and team sponsorships.
  • Food Delivery: Meal prep (i.e. Blue Apron) may be cooling off, but its close cousin Meal Delivery is heating up with DoorDash, Uber Eats and Postmates all using sponsorships to capture market share. As schedules get busier, look for these players and others to keep spending on new partnerships.
  • Gambling / Sportsbook: There's no slowdown in sportsbook sponsorships with elected officials warming up to sports gambling and extending its legalization to new states. In the past week, the Kansas City Chiefs, Buffalo Bills and Philadelphia Flyers all announced new deals in this category. Future partnerships will not be limited to just team venues, but also entertainment locations that can organically integrate gaming into existing retail environments such as MGM's new partnership with Buffalo Wild Wings.
  • Cannabis: No explanation needed here. If you've been on SponsorPitch lately, you've seen new CBD deals on virtually a daily basis with CBDMD leading the way. With lots of new CBD start-ups garnering big funding rounds, festivals in particular can benefit from the land grab nature of this fast-growing category by looking for the major players in their region.

    Therapy and Meditation Apps: Therapy and meditation apps like Headspace and Talkspace have raised big money banking on the fact they can quickly capture market share in the burgeoning sector of online mental health services and sponsorships are increasingly being used to do just that. Let's face it, who doesn't need some down/talk time during and after the craziness of the holidays??

    Before you go, take a look back at a few of our categories to watch for Summer 2019, many of which signed big new sponsorship deals over the past quarter!