What does it take to land the perfect sponsorship deal? While strategic planning and negotiation can certainly help in this regard, timing is also of the essence. Let’s take a look at this inride sponsorship program of the Washington Spirit, a professional club playing in the National Women’s Soccer League; we will start with some facts about the car subscription service, the club and the target audience before getting to the timing aspect.
The Local Opportunity
The NWSL has been around for six years, but it has only recently started to make waves in the world of North American professional sports. The current focus of the league is on building a fan base on a regional level, which is why it is crucial for clubs to attract local sponsorship opportunities. In the case of the Washington Spirit, this is an attractive proposition because we are talking about the metropolitan areas of Baltimore, the District of Columbia, Northern Virginia, and as much of Maryland as possible. Inride is based in Silver Spring, so this checks the local opportunity box.
The Brand and Service
Inride is a car subscription service that combines the convenience of the mobile app economy with the emerging trend of driving without the burden of vehicle ownership. Just like many American sports fans are starting to discover the excitement of women’s professional soccer, which happens to be highly competitive, they are also discovering the convenience of monthly car subscriptions. Soccer fans are also known to be very tech-savvy, and this ticks another sponsorship box because inride is effectively targeting the right audience by becoming a branding partner of the Washington Spirit. It should be noted that the D.C. United of Major League Soccer will let the Spirit play two matches of the 2019 season at Audi Field, and this happens to be one of the models offered by the inride service.
Inride was able to finalize the terms of the sponsorship agreement in the middle of the 2019 season, but there is even more to this timing: Let’s not forget that the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team won their fourth World Cup in July 2019, and they did so amidst a backdrop of controversy involving the most popular Twitter account in the world. For some reason, U.S. President Donald Trump engaged veteran striker Megan Rapinoe in a bout of trash-talking over Twitter; at one point, Trump reminded Rapinoe that sports victories are necessary to support trash-talking, and she certainly delivered with six goals and the Golden Ball award to the best player of the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup in France.
All in all, the timing could not have been better for inride and the Washington Spirit in this sponsorship arrangement, and it should serve as an example of what brands should be looking for when they scout opportunities. At their core, sponsorship deals are about bringing fans closer to brands; in the case of inride and the Washington Spirit, this could be the beginning of a great business relationship.