Motorsport Sponsorship Paying The Way

Car rallying is an expensive sport due to the upkeep of the car; paying fees for racing among many other financial requirements, sponsors are needed to help lift the financial burden from drivers and their teams. Unlike most motorsport activities, in car rallying an individual can be in charge of his/her own finances, they do not necessarily need a team or a company to foot their bill if the individual can find sponsorship on their own.

But sponsors cannot go into a contract with drivers and their teams without first knowing the benefits they will gain by sponsoring a specific rally team and not another. Therefore, the rally teams must be able to show interested sponsors how they would benefit and this is usually done by their sponsorship management team. The main roles of the sponsorship management team is to maintain liaison with existing sponsors to ensure that the contracts are maintained and coordinated with the other areas e.g. communications, merchandising, licensing etc. The other role is to find new sponsors by carrying out market research, looking at the legal aspects such as marketing rights, evaluating sponsorship proposal etc.

Sponsorship liveries are the paint scheme and sticker design on a rally car which is used in order to advertise sponsors or to attract more sponsors. These liveries change from season to season depending on marketing ideas of sponsors (some sponsors might wish to have their logos more prominent in some locations than in others), rules and regulations of some events e.g. In some events Tobacco sponsors are prohibited.

A lot of resources are put into sponsor decision making, this is because the sponsors want to get some profit from their investments. The decisions include which teams to support, location of their logos, how much they are to invest. All of these decisions are due to the fact that the sponsors want to get maximum advertising exposure so as to create brand loyalty and fan loyalty from the association with a specific team or driver to a specific brand (the sponsor’s brand) as the success of a team means the success of the sponsors and vice versa. The team that is sponsored by a specific sponsor gets more time to concentrate on their performance as they are not burdened by the finances.

Sponsorship however is not only about having a sticker on the car; it’s about the mutual beneficial relationship between the sponsor and the team. The sponsors might use the rally races to entertain potential customers or existing customers, this forms a rapport between them encouraging further dealings as the strict business environment is removed. Sponsors do not only get returns when there are active ongoing races but through sponsorship management firms they are able to provide exposure for a team’s sponsors away from the track.

Without sponsorship, rally racing would not be as famous as it is because there would be few teams competing as they might be the only ones able to finance themselves. Rally sponsorship is a symbiotic relationship between the rally teams and the sponsors i.e. a mutually beneficial relationship which is to the benefit of all involved.

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