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Kantar Sport supremo Richard Brinkman gives insight into the value of sponsorship

In an interview with Isportconnect the media expert explains how his business and the market place have changed over the last few years.

What do you think is the key to the success of Kantar Sport?

"There are numerous factors. The first would be the heritage and reputation we’ve built up over many years first as SIS, then TNS Sport, and in the last two years as Kantar Sport, and the people that come along with that. Often in our industry people buy people. When there’s numbers and data involved they want to know that they’re people they can trust and methods they can trust, and a company they can trust to give them an accurate picture in a timely manner."

"And finally, the strength of the group we’re backed by. We’re a relatively small element of a very large research company; that gives us a gives us a lot of access to, and insight into, media and market research data, how we get hold of it, where it’s going, trends for the future, which we then adapt for the sports market.

Which aspect of sports marketing research do you find most interesting?

"First, the changing way that people view sport and part of that is the way that they can interact with it, that’s all technology-based."

"The second part is how they’re responding to sponsorship and brands involved in the commercial side of sport, what their expectation of sport is, what their expectation of participation or attendance is, and what their expectation of sponsors and brands within sport is, and how they respond to that.
Technologically it’s changing, so the way people are thinking and behaving as a result of what they’re seeing is changing as well."

What do you believe is the key for companies maximising their partnerships with sports teams?

"The real struggle in our industry is to not do what we’ve always done. Sponsorship and sports marketing has grown a lot in the last 20 years and when things are going well and are popular it’s tough to give up on those things that are familiar and change but the World we’re part of is changing.

The political, media and economic landscape is changing radically The geography of the World is changing radically so that’s the biggest struggle for our industry- to evolve and view itself differently. There’s a tendency to be a little bit conservative."

Have sports teams and organisations been able to effectively adapt their marketing strategies during this period of economic downturn?

"On the whole, no. But there are a whole load of issues that we’re grappling with that are unprecedented so everybody is learning about all sorts of new areas.

We’re all learning about social media. People are learning how to use it and brands are learning how to use it just like people are. One of the good things is big business has realised sport is a good way to reach people and present messages in an interesting and engaging way, so it’s been good for sports sponsorship on the whole- the economic climate."

"It’s made all of us look to our laurels. We have to justify, and be very thorough, in the way we look at everything we do and every deal because money is tight. We want to know absolutely what we’re going to get out of it.

That’s been good for our industry, but it has put pressure on us. People want a good deal out of us. They want to know that we’re going to deliver for them something really worthwhile, and that we’re going to do it very cost-effectively."

Richard Brinkman is Head of Kantar Sport, a company that assesses the impact and value of sponsorship programmes for sports teams, federations, broadcasters, agencies and sponsors. Kantar Sport’s major clients include FIFA, UEFA, Football League, Guinness, Aviva and Barclays.

Brinkman has previously had roles as Commercial Director of Watford FC, Sales Director of Chrysalis Radio, and Sponsorship Director of BBJ Media Services.


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