Partnerships trump sponsorships in new branding world

Direct involvement is key, say panelists at Variety/SVG Sports Summit


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The post-recession world of sports and entertainment has brought about a greater emphasis on partnerships between brands and organizations rather than sponsorships, panelists said Thursday at the Variety/SVG Sports Entertainment Summit.

“Brands that claim they’re a sponsor are so much less effective than brands that are (directly) involved,” said Anne Rivers, senior VP and director of brand strategy for Brand Asset Consulting/Young & Rubicon Brands.

WWE senior marketing veep Eddie Hill said that WWE has evolved into an all-purpose organization — while also retargeting its content to the PG-rated level — that facilitates such interaction.

“We now are able to have this one-stop shop where we can deliver all our deliverables to our client in-house,” Hill said. “You’re going to have a partner who can work with all your goals.”

AEG global partnerships prexy Todd Goldstein cited another example of partnership: a deal that Blackberry devised whereby artist Will.i.am would almost instantly incorporate fan-sent Blackberry messages into a rap mid-concert.

Not coincidentally, much of the second half of the panel veered toward a discussion of social media — i.e., organic partnerships between brands, content producers and fans.