Businesses seeking to promote their brand can be picky when it comes to selecting the sport, event or particular organisation to sponsor.
This is because those gaining the biggest advantage from sports sponsorship inevitably invest considerable time and effort in selecting the right partner, devising the appropriate rights package, planning the optimal activation strategy and understanding in advance how the return on investment will be measured.
For added security, sponsors can seek legal protection in the form of performance escalators and/or disreputable behaviour clauses to ensure that their own brand is not damaged through association with behaviours or practices of their partners. While such risk can never be totally eliminated, potential harm inflicted by players boorish antics, questionable management decisions or financial scandal can at least be minimised.
Given this level of focus on brand protection, it is surprising that sponsors sometimes lose sight of the hidden danger lurking in sports sponsorship. As it is rare for a single sponsor to be granted exclusivity over an event or club, a sponsor will normally feature as part of a club’s sponsorship portfolio and as such will have little say over the composition of other member brands.