Sponsorship deals are not a new thing for the sports industry. In fact, sponsorship arrangements in sport can be traced back to Ancient Greece, when individuals would finance key events and, in turn, have their names featured in those competitions. This practice has since continued, only that the nature of sponsorship deals and endorsements have evolved over time.

In recent times, there has been seen a rapid shift towards athletes playing a pivotal role in sponsorship deals. This has since changed the way sports sponsorship deals are structured and negotiated.

The Shift

The new developments in sports sponsorships can be linked to the dynamics amongst the fan base. The new generation of sports fans, for instance, tend to associate themselves with a key figure on the team and not a particular club. This is evidenced by the fact that some individuals in a given team enjoy a more significant social media following, than the club they play for.

Accessing the Star

Top brands are now conscious of where the attraction is; in the athletes themselves. As a result, most sponsorship deals penned today are oriented towards athletes, rather than individual teams or competitions. At the same time, their relationships with teams are oriented towards accessing some specific players. This, in turn, has made teams evaluate their contractual relationships with their star players.

Wary of these developments, most clubs are keen to ensure that their star players do not have personal endorsement deals which might conflict with the clubs primary sponsorship contracts. Ideally, the key to maintaining any sponsorship deal is to understand the legalities involved.

Brand Protection

When athletes enter into direct endorsements deals with brands, they also need to avoid actions which could lead to reputation damage. In some cases, it could be when the athletes are failing to do something on their part, which ends up hurting the brand. Athletes, in turn, should cultivate a solid relationship with the brand and act professionally.