Social Data Proves That Sponsoring Wimbledon Pays Off
Wimbledon is one of the most watched sporting events in the world, with a global audience estimated at over a billion people. On top of that, you can add the near half a million attendees throughout the tournament, and online conversations soar into the multi-millions too!
Due to Wimbledon's incredible global popularity, it is one of the hottest sponsorship opportunities in sports. With sponsorship campaigns that start weeks in advance of the tournament, many brands pour a lot of money into 360-degree sponsorship and marketing campaigns around Wimbledon. So the question remains, do these campaigns work? Do they reach the right audience and make the impact that these businesses and brands are looking for?
In the social data world, ROI (return on investment) is the biggest topic of discussion now, so the only way to determine if these sponsorships pay off is to use social data to look at which sponsors got the most bang for their buck, and what it could mean to all future Wimbledon sponsors. For this, it is crucial to look at online mentions related to sponsors, players and Wimbledon from before, during and after the tournament to get a full view of their entire sponsorship campaigns.
Volume of mentions is an important metric when looking at who is generating buzz and being discussed. As you can see below IBM is the clear winner, garnering the most online mentions of any other sponsor.
However, when you start looking at advanced metrics that can lend themselves to help answer that ROI question, we see a different pattern emerge among the sponsors. For example, Ralph Lauren did not have the highest volume of mentions, however they did have the most Social Media awareness (meaning that their social media reach was the highest of any other brand). Conversations about the clothing for the 250 ball-girls and ball-boys provided by Ralph Lauren, and the fact that this year marks the 10-year anniversary for this sponsorship, was also shared quite frequently. Both of these topics of conversations combined to help the designer snag a 22.91% share of the reach awareness:
What does this mean? This tells us that a higher number of people have the potential to see when users are discussing Ralph Lauren along with Wimbledon, increasing awareness of the sponsorship, and in turn yielding a higher return on investment. Therefore, according to social data, Ralph Lauren definitely got their money's worth for their sponsorship deal.
What about brands or businesses that sponsor players that are hoping a great performance will generate a high ROI on their sponsorship dollars? Did brands sponsoring Novak Djokovic, the men's winner, score higher than brands that sponsored other stars?
The answer to that question is no.
Nike, one of the most well-known and well-liked global brands, is one of the largest sponsors of the competition, sponsoring several of the top male and female players including Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova. As you can see below, despite his finals loss, Roger Federer individually has the highest volume of mentions for the brand, with 66% of the share of voice and he generates the highest awareness for the brand as well.
And as you can see below, while Djokovic's win undoubtedly drove a great deal of buzz for his main sponsor Uniqlo, the social reach of Uniqlo came nowhere near that of Nike when comparing mentions that include both the athletes and the brands.
What Does This Mean?
This data shows which sponsors were the clear winners of Wimbledon, however as a potential sponsor you want to know whether it pays to sponsor Wimbledon, and if so, how can you get the most out of your sponsorship?
It is clear that sponsoring Wimbledon provides some type of social boost to a brand, but what strategies, outside of sponsoring the highest profile players, should a brand employ?
Ralph Lauren is a great example of what a brand can do to stand out and get shares. Too often sponsors want to only tell audiences that they are sponsoring an event, but not tell them why. The fact that the story of Ralph Lauren's 10-year anniversary of sponsoring Wimbledon was discussed showed that the designer put some context to the sponsorship. People want to know why brands do something, and explaining the background of a sponsorship clearly resonates well with a social audience.
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