November 30, 2021

the new hobby of large groups?

French amateur sport has not been spared the consequences of the health crisis. Already in difficulty before the outbreak of Covid-19 due to the scarcity of public funds, it must now suffer the contraction of the communication budgets of local shops, the usual support for local clubs. But the growing interest of large groups for the amateur world could contribute to the transformation of the economic model of sports associations. Lighting.

“If sponsorship does not feed our raison d’être, it is useless! It is in these terms that Stéphane Tardivel, Sponsorship and Partnerships Director of Orange, began his speech at the last meeting of the Responsible Commitment Commission of Sporsora held last September. “We want to give everyone the keys to responsible digital consumption. And our commitment to amateur sport should help us fulfill this mission ”then specified the Orange manager.

“At Orange, amateur sport symbolizes the time to disconnect,” adds Stéphane Tardivel to get the message across. While Orange’s investment in French amateur sport is nothing new, the telecommunications firm has considerably strengthened its activations aimed at sports associations in recent years. Taking advantage of its partnership with the French Football Federation, Orange set up in 2020 an operation in collaboration with Nike aimed at subsidizing part of the equipment of many amateur football clubs against an Orange flock inscribed on the front of the jersey. An activation which was a resounding success since in total, more than 18,000 jerseys were distributed to clubs affiliated to the FFF. “Supporting the practice of amateur sport is for Orange an essential axis of commitment” then explained to us last May Jean-Eric Naon, Sports Sponsoring Director of Orange France.

“Amateur sport represents a unique development axis in the evolution of communication strategies ”

Guillaume Sarfati – Head Of Sponsoring – Act For Sport

Orange’s commitment does not end with its contribution to equipment. Once again relying on its partnerships with the various national federations, the group seeks to make young graduates aware of good digital practices, by organizing workshops or even by producing sheets given directly to educators and coaches of youth teams. “We aim to reach 80,000 children through football and 40,000 through rugby in this 2021-22 season” confirms Stéphane Tardivel.

How to reconcile CSR commitments and visibility in amateur sport?

Responding to societal challenges has become the new priority for many companies that have reached a certain level of maturity in the sports sponsorship market. And, at this level, the amateur world has its card to play in capturing investments. Orange is not the only large firm to bet on this niche to meet new objectives. Unibet, Butagaz, Land Rover, Vbet or even the competitor… Bouygues Telecom have also stepped up their investments in recent months.

“The big brands play an essential role in our societies and in 2021 their social and societal involvement has almost become a“ moral ”obligation. They are showing more and more the will to get involved in their speeches in order to give meaning to their communication strategy. Amateur sport therefore represents a unique development axis in the evolution of communication strategies in sport ”confirms Guillaume Sarfati, Head of Sponsoring of Act for Sport.

While CSR issues are becoming prominent in decisions about investments in sport, the large groups do not forget the logics of visibility and image specific to sponsorship. Goals that are not always easy to achieve by choosing to invest in the amateur world. The need to enter into agreements with several dozen or even hundreds of clubs to obtain the desired visibility can complicate the management of partnerships. Especially for companies that cannot rely on decentralized governance.

Sponsoring amateur sport: the new hobby of large groups?