Technology companies have increased their investments in sports sponsorships, as the ‘IT provider’ badge is surely generating attention from the C-suite executives

There is an increase in the number of B2B technology companies marketing themselves with sports sponsorships. The advent of digital communications and marketing has reinforced the shift in the model of these deals. From mainstream media to social media, or endorsements by celebrities, at industry events, sponsorship has now increased in more ways that are creative.

Wimbledon will start in a few months and is the next big sports event that will see many B2B technology companies marketing themselves. Last year, IBM had pushed its AI abilities as it partnered with All England Lawn Tennis Club.

Since Golf is a sport that brings in the most C-suite audience, it sees the most number of sponsorship from technology companies. The companies are set to persist for upcoming PGA and European Tour calendars. Held in April this year, Dell Technologies sponsored the World Golf Championships (WGC). It was actually called ‘The 2019 WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play.’

Workday’s logo was also seen on WGC event runner-up Matt Kuchar’s sweatshirt. The company also sponsors the five-time major winner Phil Mickelson. JDA software has also partnered with Jon Rahm, Spanish Ryder Cup player. The companies believe that it is sponsorship in this particular sport that has got them the most RoI.

According to OC&C research, global sports sponsorship grew by 6% per year between 2011 and 2015.  Experts suggest that through a series of marketing econometric analyses, any campaign linked to an objective can be monitored. As sponsorship campaign would have a business objective, the social media mentions, web traffic, and awareness from surveys, and success rate on pitches before and after are used to measure the reach of the investment.

The marketing trend is to publicize the technology element that the company has integrated for the particular sports sponsorship. For example, IBM’s status has become the official IT supplier for Wimbledon. SAP has also positioned itself in the role of a technology partner when it comes to sports sponsorship. For the Manchester City Football Club, SAP’s analytics packages are used to monitor exercise and performance of the players, and hence they create a data that the club’s management can use when forming training or strategy. With these, the company generates eye-catching user cases of its technology that can be used in integrated campaigns.

Oracle also supports SailGP, an annual boat race championship with its cloud product offering data to teams and fans. In the field of professional tennis tour partnerships, Oracle this year signed a 20-year naming rights partnership for San Francisco Giants baseball team’s stadium, which is now called the Oracle Park.

These sponsorships are also expected to extend to other sports including cricket, rugby, archery, basketball. Only the technology companies and their agencies will know if these sponsorships are worth it, but since they are using them as a marketing area, they are certainly seeing some more than average RoI.