Digital Transformation of Sports Sponsorship

Digital marketing has had a gigantic impact on almost every industry. Whilst not instantly apparent, the impact that the digital revolution has had on sports is vast. From advertisers connecting with fans, to the use of online channels – digital powers every aspect of fan engagement. Sponsorship is at the heart of this new paradigm since it directly touches fans. To establish a strong connection between a brand and its fans, sponsorship has to have the correct digital glue. IBM has developed a new approach for creating digital sponsorship and engaging effectively with fans.

This article focuses on the experience of one of our client’s digital transformation of sponsorship experiences.

Our client – a denim producer, was sponsoring an ATP World Tour 500 tennis tournament. An event in Germany in which globally ranked top tennis players attend annually. As one of the main sponsors, our client wanted to differentiate its brand among the other sponsor brands. They wanted to shift away from traditional way of sponsorship to one based on value-add and engagement.

IBMs solution centered on socialcommand-center media strategy and analytics wit
h an aim to increase brand a
wareness among fans and to enhance engagement on all social channels throughout the tournament.The traditional approach of placing logos around the court does not bring actionable impact and measurable outcomes. We suggested that they replace the logos with a dedicated brand hashtag. To support the use of the hashtag, IBM set up Social Walls on two large led-screens around the stadium allowing fans to see their posts live and contribute to social conversations.

IBM also set up an analytical dashboard in the press area in order to empower the press with real-time analytics – such as the most used hashtags, most talked topics and most discussed tennis players during the day. At the end of each day, the client and the press received the social media report of the day to share on their news outlets.


In order to extend the fan engagement outside the stadium and stream the pulse of the tournament across geographies, IBM launched a responsive website, which became the “fan’s emotion hub”. Fans all around the world could see social media conversations, photos, videos of other fans along with tournament insights and live scores.



This work led to unique client success story showing how the physical world met the digital world. It allowed a tailored fan experience and extended community engagement. In only ten days, the tournament reached more than 240 million impressions. Unsurprisingly, the most discussed tennis player throughout the tournament was Roger Federer.


Regards – Vedya Daron



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s