Sport is a role model for society
It was visible before the pandemic, but coronavirus has accelerated it. Something that many companies – as well as, sponsors – have long seen as indispensable for success is now becoming increasingly important in the sports business, too: sustainability.
This heavy-hitting keyword is truly multi-faceted when it comes to sport – encompassing everything from social commitment to sustainable business through to environmental responsibility.
Sport has huge potential to make a meaningful contribution to sustainable development, thanks to its position within society: many clubs have spent years engaging with social projects and play a flagship role in health promotion. However, professional sport now needs to lighten its environmental footprint.
VSA study: sustainability is very important to sponsors
A recent B2B survey of sponsoring companies within the Association of Sports Rights Holders (VSA) showed just how important sustainability is to them: 86% of sponsors see corporate social responsibility and sustainability as very important. At the same time it's only 66% for companies who aren't engaged in sponsoring. Additionally, 84% of sponsors believe that assuming social responsibility is a crucial criterion for their customers – in contrast to 59% of companies not active in sponsoring.
The message for rights holders is clear: if they want to keep offering companies an attractive communication platform in the future, they need to position themselves more sustainably and align their partnerships with environmentally and socially relevant criteria.
Socio-political topics come across as credible
VSA Managing Director Inka Müller-Schmäh explains: “Sustainability is a team sport – and one where we all win at the end of the day. Sponsorship helps sport perform its crucial social function, with sponsors taking on social responsibility, too. Socio-political topics come across as credible, thanks to the emotions inherent in the communication platform offered by sport.”
With sustainable engagements, it is particularly important that the professional team and management alike embody the engagement credibly, as SPORTFIVE’s representative study on sustainability showed.
"Only someone who can prove a clear, sustainable specification, authentic commitment and examinable results, will be successful in the long term (from a commercial perspective) and improve their sustainable footprint."
STEFAN FELSING, CEO OF SPORTFIVE
"The diverse array of opportunities for sport and sustainability needs to be cultivated on an ongoing basis."
INKA MÜLLER-SCHMÄH, VSA MANAGING DIRECTOR