Niche Sports and their Sponsorship Value

Niche Sports are undervalued sponsorship assets

Niche Sports and their Sponsorship Value

Most people will be well aware of how sponsorship is split in favour of Sport and with only a minimum spend in niche sports.

There are no surprises that sport represents somewhere between 70-80% of sponsorship spending, with 10% of sponsorship money being spent in entertainment, 10% spent in causes, and the remainder taken up by festivals and organisations/membership groups.

When asked to describe sponsorship, people will typically talk about the big Premier League deals that are in the 10s of millions, but it may surprise most people to know the average sponsorship deal is circa £30K.

Last week I went to a lecture by the European Sponsorship Association (ESA) titled, ‘The power of niche sports to target a passionate participation audience‘, where we heard from;

  • Rachel Hancox, Commercial Manager, AMT Fresh,
  • James Hope-Gill, CEO, Skateboarding GB and Deputy Chair, Sport and Recreation Alliance
  • David Joy, CEO, British Canoeing and Board Director, British Olympic Association

The talks were all very informative and the display from the GB skateboarding hopeful was a great spectacle but the interesting thing for me is, that these are in effect, niche sports, and that means that funding is hard to come by.

Now I am not a Skateboarder, but as an event that has such an impact on culture, whether that’s music, fashion, sport or all of the above, surely skateboarding has to be something we pay attention to. The fact that Skateboarding has 5 UK hopefuls potentially competing in this year’s Olympic games has to be the most undervalued opportunity of this year.

One of my favourite campaigns of all time is the Bridgestone Tyres “chase your dream” Olympic campaign and videos. The core concept follows Olympic hopefuls and looks into their stories; how they got there, why they got there and what makes them the best at what they do.

For me, it builds an affiliation between the best event in the world and the best brands. That’s all it has to do.

But what about these so-called niche sports that are doing the same and have the same kind of access and potential content. Offering access to one of the most exclusive clubs, “The Olympics” with individuals who cut through the market of traditional advertising and corporate branding, with real followings of people who love what the individuals do and who will continue to have that following long after the Olympics. A following that was there before the governing body existed, let alone the brand that saw value in the underdog rise to fame story.

You may or may not have heard of Sky Brown, the 11-year-old hopeful – take a look here if not. But as soon as I heard her story, I immediately started thinking about what incredible content this young lady will be producing for the next year.

I am not working for Skateboarding and that is not the point of this article. It is more about the potential of the hidden opportunities that people may not know exist. What is the hidden gem in this year’s sponsorship arena? How do we, as an agency impact the sponsorship dollars to impact the “Niche” sports, who in my eyes might be great value for money, have teams that are keen to make the investment work and who may provide a better level of service and delivery?

I am on the lookout for those opportunities and would love to chat to you if that might be you.

For more information, contact Stuart Richmond at Reg&Co. Sponsorship Agency, London.

Stuart Richmond

Stuart has a wealth of experience working across rightsholders and agencies with some of the world’s biggest brands. At Chelsea FC, Stuart managed the Adidas, Audi and Samsung relationships, building global coaching programs to over 20 countries, as well as managing the 3 weeks, 1st team tour to Asia for club partners.

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