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Beyond A Sign: Establishing Full 360 Partnerships

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In today’s landscape, a billboard at the ballpark simply isn’t enough for teams to engage fans on behalf of sponsors. With so many different things vying for fans’ attention at home and at the stadium, both teams and sponsors need to think creatively to get the most out of a partnership.

In this webinar, Hookit Chief Revenue Officer Kimberly Cook and Cleveland Indians Sr. Manager of Service Corporate Partnerships and Premium Hospitality Julie Weaver joined FOS CEO Adam White to discuss best practices for activating partnerships from both the team and brand side as well as achieving brand goals with more than an outfield sign.

SEE MORE: Maximizing Sponsorship ROI in a 21st Century Marketplace

Edited highlights appear below:

What challenges are teams and sponsors related to partnerships? (3:35)

Cook: “Sponsors are demanding a lot more than before. With the age of social and digital being so real-time, fans are looking for a more unique experience than they ever have and they want it to be interactive. [Teams need to] be sure that sponsor activations are on-point and doing something more to engage the fans other than just throwing up a sign…We work with a lot of sponsors as well and they’re really looking to take that technology and work with their rights holders to maximize it. It’s a great way to be able to look at it in different ways getting smaller bits of content that people can still get if they can’t come to the game. From a sponsorship standpoint, showing up in an authentic way on a regular basis is really important. It’s all about engagement.”

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How are the Indians differentiating themselves for potential partners from other teams in Cleveland? (25:58)

Weaver: “I love the sport of baseball for advertisers. It’s 162 games April through September… with our social channels, which are so engaged and active, it’s really 365. For us, that’s a differentiator. The game of baseball is a slow sport…it’s great for advertisers in that sense because [fans] can look at any kind of advertising or promotions in between innings, so that’s something that we always try to talk about. For us, we’ve been very blessed that we’ve made it to the postseason the last couple years, so we’ve had that higher national audience as well.”

What’s most in-demand for partners right now? (38:39)

Weaver: “It’s kind of a balance… We’re just trying to engage with all of our partners and understand what their needs are and making sure that we’re providing them the right thing. We have to provide that same customer service to our partners as we’re providing to our fans and we know we only have so many shots to get it right… So we have the kiosks, but we also do scoreboard activations as well as a lot of cool check-in offers with various partners via the app.”

SEE MORE: How A.I. is Powering Fan Engagement in 2019

What are some important trends appearing in terms of brand-team sponsorships? (42:51)

Cook: “One of the things that we’re seeing in terms of sponsors asking for KPIs… is trends of performance-based sponsorships across all sports where there’s an engagement level that’s met within an agreement. So putting the right message in the right medium allows them to really allocate more money towards sponsorship because they can prove it. The great thing about the club is if they do better in a certain aspect, whether that’s on the field or on digital, they’re actually rewarded for it at the end of the season by the terms of their contract. So that’s a huge trend that we’re seeing.”

For more from Hookit on the the brand sponsorship space within sports, download their 2018 year-in-review report.

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