Faced with the constraints imposed by the health crisis, many French professional clubs have greatly increased their communication and digital marketing strategy over the past two seasons. An enrichment of digital policies which has not gone unnoticed in the eyes of new categories of advertisers, eager to try their hand at sponsorship to maintain their business growth but also… to shape their brand image. However, bringing digital inventory to market poses new challenges for sports organizations. Investigation.
More than €15 million. This is the amount that Gorillas will invest over the 2021-24 period to be a premium partner of Paris Saint-Germain. This new player in fast delivery has spared no expense when it comes to entering the sponsorship market. And despite the acquisition of a global pack covering various visibility spaces including LED panels at the Parc des Princes, Gorillas has made no secret of the main assets of the Parisian club which convinced him to bet on such an agreement. “With this first sports partnership, Gorillas is strengthening its footprint in Europe while benefiting from the strike force of Paris Saint-Germain on social networks, made up of several million fans” could thus be read in the joint press release published in the month of last November. A press release which was accompanied by a 30-second video of the launch of the partnership, in which Marco Verratti participated, in a format and tone perfectly suited to distribution on social networks.
Gorillas is not the only player in the new economy to have bet heavily on sports sponsorship in recent months to complete its communication strategy and boost its business growth. Other players have preceded the German start-up in this area, such as Uber Eats, Deliveroo, Socios.com, AliExpress… A movement which even tends to accelerate with, among others, the signing of Cazoo – e-retailer specializing in reconditioned vehicles – as the main jersey sponsor of Olympique de Marseille and LOSC from the 2022-23 season. Of the pure players who are increasingly attracted by the large communities brought together by professional clubs on their digital channels.
“It is not in the culture of sports organizations to exploit the potential of digital from the angle of sponsorship. Initially, they mainly invested in these channels to enrich their communication strategy. But we have been seeing a shift in recent years and this movement has accelerated with the health crisis. However, this transformation is mainly driven by advertisers,” deciphers Sébastien Janodet, President of the Winning Team agency and former director of the LFP’s partnerships department. “National or international brands that are used to investing in sponsorship have long integrated the importance of data into the construction of their marketing strategy. They are now demanding a more or less significant layer of digital activation depending on their investments. Moreover, new entrants to the sponsorship market mainly come from the world of the web, e-commerce or new technologies. Actors who are picked up by dozens and dozens of sports organizations when they begin to prospect for their first agreements in the sector. It is therefore essential to speak their language in terms of activations, data, KPIs… to convince them to invest in you. OM and LOSC have undoubtedly made the difference in terms of digital activations to convince Cazoo to partner with them,” analyzes our specialist.
Among the new players who have invested in sponsorship in French sport in recent months, Free is a very good example. In order to best promote its Free Ligue 1 mobile application – the main instrument through which Free exploits its quasi-live broadcasting rights and other summaries of the L1 acquired from the LFP for the period 2020-24 – the telephone operator was launched a little over a year ago in an ambitious sponsorship policy aimed at concluding direct partnerships with French elite clubs. Agreements that allow the operator to promote its application directly to L1 fan communities, via posts published on the Twitter or Instagram accounts of sponsored clubs. A policy started in March 2021 through a partnership concluded with the Stade de Reims. And the Champagne club was not chosen at random for the launch of this strategy.