Rights Holders Need One Eye on the Future and One on the Past

July 24, 2023 Rights Holders Need One Eye on the Future and One on the Past

Two recent stories out of the NFL highlight the importance for sports properties of staying ahead of the curve during a time of near-daily new tech rollouts and other innovations while also making sure to remain grounded in the fundamentals of what works when it comes to marketing partnerships.

Amid news of the team’s sale and long-awaited farewell to former owner Daniel Snyder came word that the Washington Commanders would become the first major U.S. pro sports franchise to use Bidstack Sports’ technology to “independently control the native marketing and commercial inventory within (its) licensed virtual stadiums…fully (synchronizing) its real-world and virtual stadium activations,” according to a press release.

Currently applicable to the online version of FedEx Field and the 29 other NFL stadiums in StatusPRO’s NFL Pro Era VR simulation game, the technology is “potentially scalable to all teams and all game publishers, including EA Sports’ iconic Madden series,” reported Sports Business Journal.

Allowing rights holders to control and monetize metaverse sponsorship inventory is a necessary step forward for properties and their brand partners that want to expand the reach of their association to new audiences and maintain category exclusivity, not to mention further injecting actual reality into VR and AR worlds. Expect to see more teams taking similar measures to protect and expand value for their corporate partners.

But as an example from the Las Vegas Raiders reminds us, delivering results to sponsors can be decidedly low-tech as well, and often the tried-and-true practices of the past can be just as compelling as the exciting new worlds of the future.

One of the most consistently effective activation platforms over the decades has been to offer a B2B sponsor the ability to pass through, share or award sponsorship benefits to a business partner, customer or client—typically a small business that would otherwise be unable to afford an affiliation with the property.

In Vegas, the program comes in the form of the Raiders’ Small Business Showcase, held during the slow early-summer time period and sponsored by America First Credit Union. The third annual competition earlier this month awarded a $100,000 Raiders sponsorship package to Clean & Green Landscape for its efforts to conserve water and convert lawns to more desert-friendly environments.

Five finalists were judged on how well they represented Nevada, their community involvement and how the sponsorship package could help execute their business objectives, according to an AFCU news release.

Such programs deliver wins not only for the small business, but also for the sponsor that gets to build a relationship with the participating enterprises that may be existing or potential customers, and for the property that delivers a compelling proprietary platform to an existing partner and earns goodwill with the small-business community.


Metaverse: How do naming rights deals work in the metaverse?

Pass-Through Sponsorship Rights: how Mastercard executes pass-through sponsorship benefits.