Sponsorship: CIOs’ Sporting Preferences

A few months ago, I was discussing the impact of sports sponsorship with a client. She was considering a sponsorship opportunity connected to Formula 1 and was at the start of her due diligence process to work out whether this was the most cost effective way to reach her target audience of CIOs in the USA and Europe.

The Apollo Target team had done quite a lot of research in the area of sport and I was able to give her a few clues as to the sporting preferences of CIOs on either side of the Atlantic.

The first interesting observation was that CIOs in Britain appear to be much more into sport than their counterparts in the USA. The top 50 sportspeople that are followed by CIOs in the UK are followed by 34 per cent of them, whereas the top 50 in the USA are followed by just 22 per cent.

The five main sports in the UK are shown below together with the share of mind they occupy for UK based CIOs:

When we look at the USA, the picture is very different. There are only four main sports and you can see they are very different from those in the UK:

The immediate issue for our client was that Formula 1 didn’t feature at all in the USA top 50. In fact the only sport that featured on both lists was golf (it’s easy to understand why Accenture have sponsored golf over the years!).

Interestingly, the conversation concluded with her being very clear that the opportunity presented to her would have been very expensive and broadly ineffective in reaching CIOs in the USA.

But the other thing that really interested her was that, aside from the major sporting tournaments such as the World Cup or the Olympics, sponsorship is probably more effective if it is planned and executed regionally.

Without the right data, it’s very difficult to plan any marketing campaign whether it is sponsorship, advertising, events or PR. So we were delighted that we were able to assist our client by providing some pertinent and valuable information about the sporting preferences of her target market.