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  • Daragh Persse

Time for sponsors to stand up

During these difficult times sponsors have an opportunity to demonstrate real brand purpose, showing compassion and solidarity with their partners and fans. 

Whilst larger organisations have sufficient resources to get through this period, the reality is that many rights holders face extremely challenging financial difficulties and uncertainty. Events, clubs, athletes, musicians and many small businesses are all at risk and will take a hit. And of course, charities will be hardest hit with the cancellation of vital fund-raising events. If sponsorship is about genuine partnerships then this is a time for sponsors to demonstrate empathy, understanding and provide real support. 

Of course, brands need to prioritise and focus on their people, their customers and ensure that vital services continue but they should at least consider the potential role that sponsorship could play – large or small. ROI from sponsorship will reduce significantly during the crisis but there are far more important things going on in the world.  

Why not extend sponsorships that are due to expire in the coming months to help smaller rights holders and charities through this period. Consider the option of bringing forward rights fee payments to help with cash flow. Bring digital and social expertise to charities that have had to cancel events to ensure continuity of fund raising through digital activation. Can sponsorship assets now or in the future be used to thank front line workers? There are many options for brands to work with rights holders to understand what real support they can give. 

COVID-19 will pass and with-it sport, music, cultural and charity events will return. Rights holders and fans have long memories and will remember the brands that stepped up during the crisis.

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