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Conquering the German market via sports sponsorship

There are many possible ways to conquer the German market with one's brand or product. Among the many communication instruments, sports sponsoring stands out due to its reach and versatility.

Let’s think in clichés for a minute: above all, German's distinguish themselves by their disciplined and calculated nature. A German works on time, carefully and only heads off home. when everything is done. From a business point of view, these are excellent qualities - one can always expect exceptionally good results from a German company. On the other hand: How can one grip an undercooled German emotionally bringing them close to one's brand or product? Thankfully, there is one clear answer: Sport. Why? Because live sporting events are a truly engaging way of connecting with a brands target audience in a trusted and relaxed environment.

Sports brand activation is the easiest and most powerful tool to conquer the German markets because it overcomes boundaries, reduces prejudices and connects people nationally and globally. Sport delivers pure emotions and has the power to accelerate the trust into a brand in a tremendously fast way and place it into the supporter's relevant set.

For example, the sponsorship of Opel for Borussia Dortmund has increased the intention to purchase of people who are aware of the sponsorship from 10 per cent up to 26 per cent. Furthermore, EVONIK increased their brand awareness from 29 per cent to 63 per cent with a period of eight years until 2020. HUAWEI, nowadays a global player brand, started its sponsorship of Dortmund in the 2013/14 season with the goal of increasing brand awareness in the German market. Since HUAWEI was facing major competition with Samsung and Apple, it was a challenge to get the consumers attention and find points of differentiation. Yet, thanks to the BVB sponsorship they could increase the brand awareness from 18 per cent up to 55 per cent among Germans who are interested in football.

Germans love sport

As simple as it sounds, German's love sport and this acknowledgement is essential for potential sponsors. When a ball is in play, even the humourless German develops temperament and passion. The applies to both active and passive consumption. In 2018, around 21.6 million people in Germany over the age of 14 were particularly interested in sport, while a total of 26.7 million stated at least a moderate interest. During the same year, almost 24 million Germans were active in sports clubs - almost 30 per cent of the total population. Even though evidence of an overweight male proportion can be identified, each age group and gender group is represented on the German sports market. On average, 20 per cent of both the 0-6 year-olds as well as the over 60 year-olds actively participate in sports clubs. The largest share consists of the 7-14 year-old male group with over 80 per cent.

Football as a platform

Of course, a sponsor who strives for the greatest possible media attention cannot avoid the football platform. On average, every single Bundesliga match day on Saturday, which is the most demanded broadcasting time, is watched by 1.45 million people on the main Bundesliga channel Sky Deutscheland, which equals roughly 28 per cent of the channel´s total subscribers. For top encounters, audience rating peak at over 2 million viewers. Popular programs such as the 'Sportschau‘, with 5.4 million viewers further boost the Bundesliga’s spread.

Sponsors who especially value their brand fit will also find a solution to meet their objectives in German sport. Although not being able to keep up with the attention figures of the above-mentioned, some sports show great growth potential and stand out due to a high degree of authenticity for their individual characteristics. Trend sectors such as the American Football or E-Sport provide the opportunity to build a successful long-term partnership and thrive within a largely unoccupied market, by representing certain elements they can function as key mouthpieces in order to position a brand in the aspired environment.

Read the German Bundesliga 2020/21 commercial review here

The next big opportunity in Germany

One time events such as the UEFA 2020 European Championships present a unique opportunity to engage with German's at the world's biggest sporting event of 2020. Despite being postponed until 2021, the championships are expected to be the most engaging continental competition by means of its pan-European structure. Amidst COVID-19, the competition is expected to draw unprecedented attention due to the long wait for live sporting events, and the opportunity to think creatively through marketing activation has never held more potential.

Author: Kai McKechnie