Home Business Insights & Advice Business and Sport: Sponsorship in the digital age

Business and Sport: Sponsorship in the digital age

by Sarah Dunsby
17th Mar 23 10:58 am

Sport and business go hand-in-hand. Even though the core values of competition and entertainment form the foundation of all sports, you can’t escape the commercial aspect. Football is the obvious example. According to Deloitte’s Annual Review of Football Finance in Europe for 2021, the European market is worth more than £25 billion. Of that figure, almost £5 billion was generated by the Premier League alone.

Sponsors get exposure to millions through sport

Sports and business have gone hand in hand for years now, especially horse racing. Aside from Cheltenham Festival and horse racing’s reputation as the Sport of Kings, it’s a playground for billionaires, business tycoons and major brands. Indeed, you only have to go online and look at the 2023 Cheltenham horse racing coverage to see this. The annual festival has dozens of races, many of which are sponsored by popular brands, such as the Ryanair Chase and the Albert Bartlett Novices Hurdle, which had Three Card Brag as the 3/1 favourite in 2023.

Brands have visibility in sports before the race. Scroll through Cheltenham races results and company names remain visible to online audiences long after an event finishes. Sports betting apps maintain large databases of information; any exposure gleaned through a sponsorship deal doesn’t fade into the ether. Brands get valuable exposure before, during and after major events, expanding their reach and building customer loyalty.

It’s not just Cheltenham that attracts big-name sponsors. The Grand National has been sponsored by Randox since 2017. According to the company’s website, the organiser’s ‘dedication’ to creating an iconic event is a primary reason, coupled with the Grand National’s ‘estimated television audience of around 600 million’. It’s easy to see why companies are eager to sponsor sporting events.

Online exposure doesn’t disappear

Importantly, the exposure brands can get by associating with high-profile racing events isn’t limited to betting site listings and TV coverage. Brands also benefit from likes and shares on social media. If a horse has an impressive victory in the Ryanair Chase, a video clip of it is likely to be shared on Twitter, Instagram and YouTube. Even if Ryanair is only named in the title of a video or written post, it’s still valuable exposure. What’s more likely is the branding and logos lining the track.

Anyone who watches a replay of the race will think about Ryanair. Of course, it’s not a revelation that sponsoring sports teams or events can have a positive impact. What’s interesting is the way sponsorship deals can have more reach thanks to the internet.

As we’ve shown with a single race at Cheltenham, companies aren’t simply mentioned once before the off. The name Ryanair is visible across all online betting sites offering odds on the sponsored race.

The branding is visible on TV during the race and when clips are shared on social media. Therefore, what you get here is three stages of exposure: before, during and after.  The business of sport has evolved over the last decade and with it, customer loyalty as well as brand visibility.


Please play responsibly. For more information and advice visit https://www.begambleaware.org

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