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Decisions in Sports Sponsorship Marketing: Team, Venue, League, or Player?

Sports sponsorship marketing is a dynamic and influential strategy that enables brands to align themselves with the excitement and passion of the sports world. When it comes to sports sponsorship, one of the fundamental choices brands face is deciding whether to sponsor a team, a venue, a league, or a player. In this blog post, we'll explore the different options and the considerations that go into making this pivotal decision.


Sponsoring a Team: A Unified Identity


Sponsoring a sports team is a classic choice for brands. It offers the advantage of associating the brand with a unified identity and fan base. Brands often adorn team jerseys, stadiums, and merchandise with their logos, gaining visibility during games and events. Sponsoring a team can be a long-term commitment, as fans tend to develop strong loyalty to their favorite teams. In motorsports, the teams rely on sponsorship to function and survive. The fans know this and the brand loyalty of this particular group of fans is the strongest among their peer groups.




  • Team popularity and success

  • Strategic importance of the chosen teams greater metropolitan area, some additional questions:

    • Are you a local or regional brand endearing yourself to your home geography?

    • Are you a national brand with strategic plans for a particular geography?

    • Are you looking to penetrate new markets?

  • Alignment with brand values and target audience

  • The duration and financial commitment of the partnership

sponsorship marketing strategy team sponsorship
Premier League teams have long had primary team sponsors


Sponsoring a Venue: A Hub of Activity


Sponsoring a sports venue presents an opportunity for brands to make their mark on a central hub of activity. Stadiums and arenas host various sports events, concerts, and more, attracting a diverse audience. Venue sponsors often have their names prominently displayed on the venue itself, making it a highly visible option. It also creates an association with a location beyond the team that plays there.




  • Is the main occupant a sports team or is it simply a multipurpose venue?

    • If sports, which sport and team and how will that align with your target audience?

    • Will there be a further relationship with a team in addition or will this be a venue only play?

  • Venue location and the number of events it hosts

  • The potential for naming rights

  • The visibility and exposure the venue offers


Sponsorship marketing venue naming rights
Raymond James is a great example of long-term venue sponsorship

Sponsoring a League: Broad Reach


League sponsorship is an option for brands looking to achieve broad reach across multiple teams and venues. It allows brands to align with an entire sport, benefiting from a consistent presence throughout the season. League sponsorships are often associated with high-profile events like the Super Bowl, FIFA World Cup, or the Olympics. In sports like racing the league can become synonymous with the sponsor - longtime partner Xfinity has had it's name on the 2nd tier of NASCAR for a number of years. And, to go back to another time, the Winston Cup may have been the most prominent league sponsorship around with enough equity that one can still hear a fan or two use the misnomer when describing today's top tier NASCAR Cup Racing.




  • The global or national reach of the league

  • The league's schedule and key events

  • The extent of exclusivity offered to sponsors


sports marketing league sponsorship winston cup series
The most prominent league sponsorship there has ever been

Sponsoring a Player: Personal Connection


Sponsoring individual athletes or players is an increasingly popular choice. Brands partner with athletes to create a personal connection between the athlete's image and the product or service. Athlete endorsements leverage the player's personal brand and often involve marketing campaigns, social media engagement, and appearances. From the pre-social media days of Michael Jordan (who didn't want to "be like Mike") to today's environment where everyone has a social platform and ability to disseminate messaging, athlete partnership has long been a brand play for some.




- The athlete's popularity, performance, and image - and risk (character issues)

- Relevance of the athlete's sport to the brand

- The extent of the partnership, from endorsements to collaborations


Sports marketing player sponsorship gatorade michael jordan be like mike
One of the more memorable athlete campaigns

Choosing the Right Fit


When making the decision between team, venue, league, or player sponsorship, brands should consider several factors:


- Brand Alignment: Does the sports entity align with the brand's values, target audience, and messaging? It's essential to ensure a consistent brand fit.


- Audience Reach: Consider the size and demographics of the audience associated with the sponsorship. Does it align with the brand's target market?


- Goals and Objectives: What are the brand's specific goals for the sponsorship? Whether it's increased visibility, brand awareness, product sales, or community engagement, goals should guide the decision.


- Budget and Resources: The financial commitment associated with each sponsorship option is crucial. Brands must ensure that the chosen sponsorship aligns with their budget and resource capabilities.


- Long-Term vs. Short-Term: Consider whether the sponsorship is a long-term commitment or a shorter-term marketing campaign.




The decision to sponsor a sports team, venue, league, or player is a significant one, and it shapes a brand's visibility and association within the sports world. Each option offers unique benefits and considerations, and the right choice depends on the brand's goals, target audience, and budget. Whether it's the collective spirit of a team, the dynamic atmosphere of a venue, the expansive reach of a league, or the personal connection of an athlete, sports sponsorship can be a powerful tool for brands to connect with their audience and make a lasting impact.

Let Temerity guide you through this process. We are experts in sports and sponsorship marketing and can handle everything from strategic vision to contract negotiation to flawlessly and successfully executing a robust sponsorship activation. Contact us for a free consultation.


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