Was our Norwich City Shirt Sponsorship Worth it? – James Draper

May 18, 2017

By James Draper (Founder and CEO, bidstack)

bidstack sponsored the back of Norwich City FC’s shirt, for the 2016/17 EFL Championship season – and I thought it would be worth highlighting the benefits it’s given us. All in all, I’d state it’s given us seven-figure tangible value.

Sponsoring Norwich City was the third step of our four-stage strategy of establishing our brand. I’ll come on to that in a minute.

So, first things first – why Norwich? Well, honestly? They came to us, via their charismatic Partnership Lead Ben Tunnell. He worked for a rival business to my previous employer, before heading home to Norwich – so, via our connection on Linkedin, he was aware of our updates – including our initial video.

We spoke about the opportunity internally, and knowing how the media world is setup (media Thursdays anyone?), we knew it would cause a stir in our market.

During the trip to Carrow Road we looked at all options and the back of the shirt package, and the financials surrounding that, started looking really rather reasonable. Especially considering it was going to give us 7+ months worth of exposure. From TV, matchday in-stadia, social media etc – for a five-figure sum, it made a lot of sense. Also, crucially, the ‘Canaries’ play in our brands yellow…!

As mentioned above, this was a logical ‘third step’ in our four-tier plan.

Step 1: create a stunning intro video that will enable us to grab the attention of the market we’re entering. Comedic, yet irrepressible – with strong brand cues.

Step 2: a preview video, showcasing our thought-processes. (this has lead to 5 x competitors emerging…).

Step 3: a power play. A platform that will give sustained brand reinforcement over our beta launch period.

Step 4: an announcement of a contract/partnership, that clearly establishes our company as a major player.

I’m delighted to say, this will be a forthcoming announcement.

A few stats worth mentioning. Following our announcement of Norwich City, we had over 10k+ sign-ups on our site. 1,000+ profile views on day one of the announcement. Plus, doors opened with every major agency and media owner.

Added to that, we had representatives from major F1, NFL, NBA, La Liga, Serie A teams (among others), chasing for a similar arrangement to that with Norwich City.

We are delighted that the activity also grabbed the attention from a number of now bidstack investors. Which we would never have reached without this platform. They were Norwich City fans…!

Working in a startup is hard. Low pay, little security for staff, a battle to establish yourselves in a competitive market – let alone carrying the weight of angel investors’ personal cash, on your shoulders. So, for staff and investor morale, it was also a hell of a coup.

Our website traffic across our beta was deep into five figures, and our soon to announce contract came off the back of our first three steps. It will make a lot of sense when you see it shortly.

Point being – the sponsorship worked for us. It makes little commercial sense for bidstack to continue into a second season, as all the initial benefits have had their time. But, for a new company, it’s been crucial in establishing ourselves.

I want to briefly say – we’ve become Norwich City fans here off the back of the sponsorship (not necessarily a good thing after a topsy-turvy season on the pitch…) – and have made some fantastic friendships along the way. Going to the Red Lion in Angel, to watch the Sky Sports covered games with the ‘Capital Canaries’ was a great way to unwind.

I’d encourage startups to broaden their marketing ambitions – and seriously consider team sponsorship as a B2B marketing platform.

Was our Norwich City sponsorship worth it? Oh yes – I’d say it’s given us at the very least an x10 ROI.