The development of a sponsorship deal is nothing more than a basic sales process. In any sponsorship situation, there are potentially three parties. First, the property, which is defined as a team, league, or event, is almost always on the selling side. On very rare occasions a property will purchase sponsorship of another property, as was the case in a recent deal between the Lowell Spinners, class A affiliate of the Boston Red Sox, and the stock car of amateur racer, Jessica Coulter. The second party, the corporation is always on the buying side. Finally, an agency can negotiate and execute a sponsorship on behalf of either a property or corporation. The presence of an agency does not remove either of the other two from the equation; in fact many deals are done through a collaborative effort of all three parties.
Roles in the process vary slightly in each situation, but each and every deal has the same five steps:
Regardless of whether sponsorships are being bought or sold, or managed by a property, corporation, or agency, the hierarchical department structure is essentially the same. The only difference is the department’s name. Properties – teams, leagues, facilities, and events – typically refer to sponsorship sales as business development or corporate/marketing partnerships. An agency’s role in sponsorship is called consulting and/or activation. A corporation prefers event, sponsorship, partnership, and/or sports marketing. Examples are as shown below.
Vice President of Business Development
Director of Business Development/Business Development Manager
Vice President of Consulting
Director of Consulting/Account Manager
Vice President of Sports Marketing
Director of Sports Marketing/Sports Marketing Manager
Assistant Marketing Manager
Read on for a discussion on sports sponsorship jobs in each of the three areas, along with a listing of the major players and tips for your search.