Sponsorship - the beginning?

Updated: Apr 12, 2021

Exactly when and where did it start? Probably in 1780 and it is still going strong, a good investment for just over £1,065. It also has many imitators all over the world all named after the 12th Earl of Derby, consequently the original is now known as the Epson Derby. Over the years the sponsors for the race have changed, since 2009 it has been sponsored by Investec - the international banking and wealth management group - mirroring the usual role of support that sponsors want, to reflect the values of the event to their marketing target group.

Image: 1821 Epson Derby by Jean Louis Gericault

Many sporting events have sponsors, since 1928 Coca Cola has been sponsoring the Olympics. In 1985, the International Olympic Committee established TOP (The Olympic Program), under this program corporations pay tens of millions of dollars for status as official Olympic sponsors over a four-year period. The present thirteen members paid over US$ 1,140 million to be in this group where they aim to – “Build their Business” through to ”Demonstrate their Social responsibility” In addition twice that amount was paid by local sponsors. It has also been shown that all sponsors will spend three times their sponsorship contribution in advertising, to show that they are sponsors!

Often in sports sponsorship there are dangers, if a shirt of a team features a logo then the team continually loses, it could be the brand that is damaged. It is a gamble in sports, which may explain why of the twenty clubs in the Premier league, ten of them are sponsored by gambling companies! Maybe for safety’s sake it is better to be one of the six sponsors of the Premier League, less risk but unfortunately much less screen time.

Probably the most controversial sports sponsorship recently is “Visit Rwanda” spending last year $39 million for its sleeve sponsorship with English Premier League side Arsenal.

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