LONDON: The relevance of a sponsor to a category is an important river of influence in sports sponsorships, so alcohol and sportswear brands perform strongly, finance brands not so much.

"If consumers can see a natural fit between the brand and the property, it will boost the impact of the sponsorship," according to Richard Shotton of ZenithOptimedia and Matt Hales of Sponsorship Intelligence.

Writing in the November issue of Admap, they stressed that sponsorship "is not a single homogenous entity" and that different types of sponsorship have different levels of influence.

Deploying a metric they call the Contact Clout Factor (CCF), based on more than 220,000 consumer interviews over five years in North America and Europe and which measures the relative influence of each touchpoint per exposure on category purchasing, they established that the most influential form of sponsorship involved good causes.

This type of sponsorship had a CCF of 62, against the mean of 52. Event sponsorship (54) and sports sponsorship (53) were just above average while broadcast sponsorships were weakest, with the radio CCF at 44 and TV at 48.

Within sports, the sportswear category had the highest CCF, at 72, followed by alcohol, on 64. At the other end of the scale were finance and soft drinks with CCFs of 45 and 44 respectively.

Their findings put in a new light reports at the start of the year that Barclays, the UK-based bank, was planning to end its £40m-a-year sponsorship of the English Premier League, with senior executives reported as saying the deal had "zero value" in the UK.

But as the authors noted, the direct influence of the sponsorship is only one consideration. For a brand like Coca-Cola, for example, "The real value lies in the combination of the direct impact of the sponsorship with the subtler subliminal benefits from associating with their audience's passions and the ability to differentiate at point of purchase with sports-themed promotions."

Data sourced from Admap, Daily Telegraph; additional content by Warc staff