LONDON: Many brands sponsoring sportsmen or women or teams are missing opportunities to make meaningful connections with fans because they don't think like fans themselves.

A recent global survey by Momentum Worldwide, the brand experience agency found that while most sports fans don't object to sponsorship – indeed, 86% would be open to more sponsorship – more than eight in ten believe that sponsors don't consider fans when making deals with players or teams.

"Brand-centric advertising, digital and sponsorship are actually seen as the biggest detractors from [the fan] experience, as they do not put the fan first," according to Anna Dalziel, global growth product director for Momentum Worldwide.

Writing in the current issue of Admap, she argues that if brands were to act more like fans then those fans they're trying to reach would be more receptive to their efforts.

It is necessary, she says, to add value beyond simply badging around the fan experience – awareness of sponsors is no guarantee of consideration let alone purchase.

So, for example, there are possibilities around "owning" platforms where fans can share and trade information. Almost six in ten of those surveyed said the ability to share information enhances the fan experience – being up-to-date with gossip is an important aspect of demonstrating support for one's team or sport.

Physically attending sports events is no longer being a prerequisite for true fandom, but viewing via TV or online is. Social media can play a vital role here.

"Being the conduit for bringing fans together … is a powerful and valuable opportunity for savvy brands looking to put fans first through their sponsorship," says Dalziel.

And as some sports become increasingly globalised, many – perhaps most – fans are unlikely to ever watch their favourite sport or team live.

"If brands can augment the live experience to enable fans to connect pre, during and post an event to feel as if they are there with the crowd and players, then they are on to a winning formula," Dalziel states.

Data sourced from Admap