Sports Column

Sponsorship: Economic interest or strategy?

youngsports 2014. 12. 23. 20:00
by JCI on DECEMBER 23, 2014 at 09:41

Unicef Barcelona


The alliance between FC Barcelona and Unicef meant sponsorship became reinvented

Sponsorship is an associative marketing tool that creates mutual brand and business value for both the sponsor and the sponsored activity (ESA). Sponsorship for sponsors is an effective way to create a desirable image for consumers and for their marketing and communications. For sport properties, sponsorship is a traditional financing source.

Sponsorship can be divided into 5 categories: sport sponsorship, non-sports sponsorship, NGO sponsorship, personal sponsorship (endorsement), and patronage.

Some may argue that any sponsorship is good sponsorship. It means that any sort of cash inflow is good for the health of the property’s finances. Nevertheless, adequacy of brand for the entity cannot be measured just by business concept or capital size. It needs to accompany with organization’s philosophy, value, and goals at same time. Hence, it needs to have a legal proof of the sponsor’s consent for sponsoring.

The case of FCB and Unicef was very innovative and a creative business strategy in sports marketing and sponsorship history. It was a breakthrough for the FCB brand image and financial achievement through globalization. Unicef has the global authority to influence decision-makers, and a variety of partners at the grassroots level to turn the most innovative ideas into reality.

In my opinion, Unicef definitely is the best sponsor for FC Barcelona. Unicef has over 90 percent recognition in most countries in the world. Moreover, the brand identity & goodwill image creates trust, love, compassion, and dignity for all people. Other organizations or sports clubs cannot produce this kind of brand image through their sponsorship. Sport sponsorship with a social conscience can promote the ultimate win-win result. The FC Barcelona-Unicef deal was opening minds as to what football sponsorship could achieve.

According to Apple Tree Communications, the agency that alongside FC Barcelona’s board of directors, designed the Unicef campaign’s strategic positioning. This alliance represented the reinvention of football jersey sponsorship as it was known back then: FC Barcelona paid a brand to be their sponsor. In two seasons without any titles, Barça went from position 13 to 2 in worldwide recognition of a football brand (2006-07 and 2007-08) and at the same time, increased brand awareness with the concept “More than a club”.

Before Unicef, FC Barcelona was just a Catalonian football club but after that, FC Barcelona became the world’s favorite football club alongside Unicef as “More than a club”.

Youngsub Chun

  Youngsub Chun is a sport business consultant for the East Asia Sport Management Institute and alumnus of the Master in Sports Marketing & Sponsorship.