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Nutri-Grain and Billabong Most Recognised Sports Sponsors

Nutri-Grain and Billabong Most Recognised Sports Sponsors
June 29, 2009

Nutri-Grain has reached top position, along with Billabong, as the brands most Australians associate with being a sports sponsor.

Almost one third (30%) of Australians recognise the breakfast cereal producer as a sponsor of sport, a result of its long-term association with surf life saving.

Billabong attracts the same level of recall, despite its development into a lifestyle rather than a purely sportswear brand. Its heritage, firmly rooted in the sport of surfing through its ongoing sponsorship of individual surfers and the ASP world tour, makes it a leader in the recognition stakes.

The results are shown in the 23rd summer edition of the Sweeney Sports Report covering the 2008/09 summer.

The Report, recognised as Australia’s most authoritative sports and sponsorship survey, also shows that since previous ratings two years ago, then leader Nike has slipped to third place, ahead of Ford and Uncle Tobys at equal fourth.

The report also shows that the main movers have been KFC and Speedo, KFC rising from 73rd to 18th position with more than one of every eight people (12%) recognising it as a sponsor of sport, a result of its sponsorship in Australia of Twenty20 cricket and Melbourne Victory.

Speedo has risen from 17th to 6th position with more than one of every five people (22%) being aware of its sponsorship. Exposure during the 2008 Olympic year, when the ‘swimsuit’ became an integral tool of performance, undoubtedly helping its standing.

Meanwhile, the rating of former long-time leader, Uncle Tobys, has stabilised with slightly less than one fifth of people recognising it.

The large decreases which followed the 2001 termination of its iron man series sponsorships have stopped. It has probably been has kept high on the leadership ladder by a combination of a residual impact of the iron man promotion and its current sponsorship of Australian sports stars including Grant Hackett, Eamon Sullivan and Jana Rawlinson.

Significantly, telecommunications companies 3/three.com and Telstra/Big Pond have slumped from the top ten.

Cricket sponsor 3/three.com has suffered probably because of KFC’s success with Twenty20 cricket sponsorship, deflecting public attention from its brand.

Sweeney Sport say that "Telstra’s decline is surprising given its sponsorship of the Australian swimming team and the Australian Olympic Committee in an Olympic year. The cause of the fall is difficult to define but it may be largely a result of its non-renewal of the naming rights sponsorship of the Homebush and Docklands stadiums.

"Its naming rights sponsorship of NRL may be a contributing factor to the fall due to a softening in interest in the NRL during the past 12 months."

Emirates backs a winner
The Report’s assessment of the awareness resulting from associations between specific sponsorship properties and sponsors shows that Emirates is maintaining a clear lead.

More than a fifth of people (28%) recognise its connection with the Melbourne Cup, a six percentage point increase since last summer.

Emirates leapt from a 10% awareness rating in the year before it began sponsoring the race to 22% in the summer of 2004/05 when the sponsorship began.

Previous sponsor, Lion Nathan’s Tooheys New achieved a 17% recognition in its first year of backing the race, 2001/02 but did not improve before it withdrew two years early from its five-year deal, allowing Emirates to take over.

The results for Foster’s, the long-time sponsor before Tooheys, demonstrates the power of the race to attract attention for sponsors.

Seven years after the 12-year sponsorship ended, one of every eight people (12%) still recognise it as a backer of the race. The residual impact is similar to that which, in the overall awareness ratings, Uncle Tobys has enjoyed with surf lifesaving. In both cases, “ownership” of the event has led to the high, continuing ratings.

The Australian Open tennis-Kia association is second on the table because of tennis’s perennial popularity and the car-maker’s long-time support backed by an intensive and integrated campaign including TV advertising, stadium signage and a fleet of cars for players and officials.

The link between the Australian Rugby Union team, the Wallabies, and Qantas is the third most recognised association followed by Test cricket and 3 Mobile’s association.

The AFL-Toyota association comes in equal fifth with the Melbourne Cup-Foster’s and soccer’s A-League and Hyundai.

The Report is the 23rd summer edition of the nationally conducted Sweeney Sports Report, produced by Sweeney Sports, the sports and sponsorship arm of market research company Sweeney Research.

17th February 2009 - SPORTS SPONSORSHIP IN DECLINE

30th June 2008 - TENNIS: AUSTRALIA’S MOST POPULAR SPORT

30th April 2008 - ASIAN SPONSORSHIPS GROW BY 50%


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