For quite a while now, technology-focused companies have played a major role in sports sponsorship. But over the past few years, the focus has shifted from global B2B IT giants such as AWS, IBM, Oracle, SAP and others that have skillfully used sponsorship to showcase their services, to consumer and small-business-focused tech sectors, including a large group of disruptive direct-to-consumer players.
As a Sportico article this summer pointed out, U.S. properties on the receiving end of this new spending can thank the more than $100 billion in venture capital that is filling startup coffers each year. Looking to grow awareness, acquire customers and increase sales, VC-funded businesses are deploying plenty of their new capital into sponsorships.
No category is more exemplary of the trend than fintech, with a host of recent partnerships that followed on the heels of the category’s bellwether deal: SoFi’s 30-year, $625-million-dollar naming rights to the home of the NFL’s Los Angeles Rams and Chargers.
Sponsorships in fintech—which is considered here a separate sponsorship category from cryptocurrency—have popped up regularly in the two years since SoFi Stadium was announced, including:
- LendingTree’s title sponsorship of the college football bowl game in Mobile, Ala.
- Chime’s jersey patch sponsorship with the Dallas Mavericks
- Cash App’s content house sponsorship of esports organization 100 Thieves
- Q2 Holding’s naming rights agreement for Austin FC’s stadium
- Yieldstreet’s “official alternative investment platform” status with the New York Giants
- Klarna’s founding partnership with Angel City FC
Activity in the category is not limited to the U.S, with the U.K. recently seeing new deals from fintech companies eToro, Habito and Laybuy, among others.
Given the number of well-capitalized companies in the segment, together with opportunities to engage with targeted audiences and the multiple brand- and business-building objectives that fintech players can achieve through sports sponsorship, expect the category to continue its fast growth trajectory well into 2022 and beyond.