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Sponsorship Brands: Seize the Moment

Imagine this day – gates about to open, stage lighting is warming up, and the smell of popcorn fills the air as sports and entertainment properties prepare for the reemergence of their dedicated and eager fans. It won’t be a typical season opener or a grand opening – it will be a historical moment of celebrating and uniting after collectively experiencing a global pandemic. It will be a big day for the event and sports industry.

Brands should seize this opportunity. Months ago we asked brands to Hold Out, Not Drop Out – now is your opportunity to seize the moment. Audiences will have the moments of their lifetime and those sponsors who are present will be forever remembered.

Think about the first concert or sporting event you attended. We all remember these moments. This is the powerful emotion sponsors connect with when partnering with our favorite events. When events return the excitement will be at an all-time high. 

Properties are dedicating 100% of their time, creativity, and resources to prioritize fan experience and wellness. This means innovative ideas, unique integrations, and completely reimagining the way fans consume events and entertainment. Take a look at how the Miami Dolphins have reimagined their space into the Miami Dolphins Social Distancing Stadium and what the experience may look like for fans.  Imagine being a part of the moment when fans finally get to step back on the field, sit back in their seats, or raise their glowsticks. We know consumers are looking to brands right now to see how they respond during this crisis, and their attention will not waver when it comes to seeing how brands continue to support their favorite events when they reopen and need support most.

The sports and entertainment event properties are acutely aware of the new expectations and demands that are upon them as a result of the shift in the industry. Both parties in the partnership should come to the table ready to talk about new ideas, assets, and objectives. Here is a brand roadmap for a successful partnership:

    1. Source event opportunities that share your brand values and audience
    2. Be transparent and specific about the goals you want to accomplish
    3. Request a formal proposal that supports your current campaigns and key initiatives
    4. Encourage creative ideas that enhance the guest experience or solve a problem
    5. Agree on a process and timeline with your potential event partner
    6. Determine your decision-making criteria in advance of receiving the proposal
    7. Share the review and approval process with your potential event partner
    8. Align with events that demonstrate a willingness to customize a partnership program
    9. Reward creative thinking by providing feedback to build upon ideas or reshape them
    10. Ask your event partner to help you understand how the proposal price was determined
    11. Prior to kicking-off the sponsorship, determine how you will measure the programs value to determine success
    12. Schedule regular meetings with your event partners and clearly state your expectations
    13. Signing multi-year agreements is good for all parties, but most importantly it allows the event to invest more into the partnership and gives you an opportunity to build upon the work.


While many live events are not likely to reopen in 2020 due to restrictions, it is highly likely that the industry will see a significant surge in event attendance and a new level of fandom will emerge. Brands have the power to be champions for the events community by investing their sponsorship dollars now. The synthesis between fan experience, partner relationships, and community wellness has never been more paramount.

About the author: Paula Beadle is the CEO of Caravel Marketing, a national consulting company specializing in sponsorship marketing, and the founder of Sponsorship Mastery, an annual summit and programming dedicated to improving individual and organizational sponsorship performance. She is a results-driven trailblazer with a proven record of developing smart strategies and creatively connecting the right partners. Paula has helped iconic events and major brands achieve their goals through innovative sponsorship initiatives, generating incremental revenue and successfully coaching thriving teams, executives and boards.