A marketer's guide to unlocking sponsorship potential around the globe
First commissioned in 2012, Decoding the Modern Sports Fan was designed to help brand marketers understand how consumers view sponsorship. More specifically, we wanted to provide brands (along with rightsholders, agencies and media companies) with the roadmap to identify which consumers were most open to sponsorship, where to find them, and how to engage with them to ensure programs were fully realized and had the best chance for success.
The key learning from this extensive body of research was the now fully supported realization that passion and avidity for sports are superficial compared to brand receptivity when it comes to creating lasting relationships between consumers and brands. This evolutionary new thinking became the cornerstone of what we call, The Receptivity Theory.
A landmark study identifying the importance of Sponsor Receptivity
Expanded the original findings into additional lifestyle areas, like gaming, culinary, and music
Understanding sponsor receptivity and overall sports & entertainment consumption north of the border
In late 2021, we conducted the fourth episode in the Decoding Research Series: Decoding the Global Fan. This is the most comprehensive Decoding study to date, exploring sponsor receptivity among fans of sports, music, film, and gaming in 20 countries across five continents. It includes insight from over 24,000 fans around the world in the following countries:
This research provides a comprehensive overview of fans by different lifestyle segments such as sports, music, etc.
Across all lifestyle segments and interests, we can profile the following:
Interest in sports
Interest in events
Interest in music
Interest in gaming/esports
Engagement with sponsors
Attitudes towards sponsorship
Social media habits
Role of influencers
Interest in new tech
Attitudes towards COVID
Receptivity is a measure that includes consumers’ attitudes toward sponsorship and the ways in which they’ve engaged with sponsors.
Receptive consumers have engaged frequently with sponsors through a variety of channels and respond positively to brands who sponsor their favorite sports and entertainment events.
Selective consumers have engaged with sponsors, but not as frequently or consistently. They do, however, maintain a positive attitude about the role of brands and sponsorships as a part of their favorite events.
Non-Receptive consumers have rarely engaged with sponsors, if at all, and are resistant to the role that sponsors can play in their favorite events.
The good news is, approximately one-third of consumers globally can be classified as Receptive (a number that is growing among sports fans in the US). At the same time, the number of people who tune out sponsors completely is shrinking.
This means the directive for brands, agencies, and sponsorship marketers is clearer than ever. You have to reach Selectives if you want to be successful. This will ensure sponsorship programs reach an audience that is most likely to be influenced by sponsorship.
Within the report, we profile these ‘on the fence’ fans. With this research, regardless of the sport or entertainment property, we can identify, with accuracy, the platforms, tactics and messages that are most likely to resonate with a target audience.
Brands, agencies, and sponsorship marketers must reach and engage selectives to be successful.
Overall openness to sponsorship in maturing markets such as Asia, South America and middle east exceeds 90%.
Attitudes and frequency of engaging with sponsors peak among younger audiences.
Engagement in cause-related sponsorship marketing increased 40%.
Global fans embrace digital/virtual platforms to enhance both the at-home and live event experience.
Esports provide fertile ground for sponsors as one of the most receptive fan communities.