Cognizant: Increasing Sponsorship Value Through Fan Data Insights

Cognizant helps companies modernise technology, re-imagine processes and transform experiences so they stay ahead in a fast-changing world. David Ingham, Head of Media, Entertainment & Sport explains how they help clubs develop strategies to enhance their sponsorship value whilst delivering a deeper fan experience.


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The business of football has developed hugely in recent years but clubs are facing growing operational costs and tighter financial restraints imposed by leagues and associations meaning they must derive as much value from all potential commercial sources of revenue than ever before.


Marketing is a key vertical in a club’s commercial department and advancing technology and knowledge is having a greater impact on its effectiveness. Driven by a greater focus on Direct-to-Consumer (DTC) marketing and zero party data, these approaches are helping clubs and companies maintain greater control over their brand image and messaging.


Allowing clubs to gather valuable data and insights about their customers through direct interactions, they can gain a better understanding of their preferences, behaviours, and needs. This information can then be used to inform further strategic marketing decisions.


“More clubs and teams need to take a more Direct-to-consumer strategy approach with their data which they really haven’t before. They’ve been mainly trading on the brand and the cache of football,” Ingram told fcbusiness. “But the new business angle to it is unlocking that fan data and taking that DTC approach.”


Whilst marketing practice has developed hugely over the years there is still the propensity for clubs to use basic data metrics when approaching potential sponsors, as Ingham explains.


“Continually people will say ‘here’s our social media following’ or ‘here’s the broadcast viewership figures’ but those are metrics that are one or two steps away from the club. Those aren’t interactions or customers they have direct access to. That is of no use to sponsors that are looking to engage in direct conversations with the fans.”


Ingham believes that by taking a different approach to data collection and management, clubs could achieve a significant increase in their sponsorship value.


“You could easily make a case for a 20 percent increase in sponsorship value if you can show sponsors that you control a database of contact information that you can jointly activate on.”


But whilst this may seem obvious, Ingham suggests the biggest issue is that clubs aren’t investing in their commercial data infrastructure in the way they have in the performance side of data collection.


“Clubs have invested primarily in performance analytics,” he explained. “They want to know the health of their players and whether the training is paying off through IoT devices on jerseys or from video analysis because they’re trying to maximise on-pitch performance. But they’ve been largely neglecting of fan data and investing in that business side of commercial performance.”


Whilst there may still be an immaturity around data collection and its use in a commercial setting, Ingham notes the next steps clubs can take to take advantage of the opportunities it affords. He said: “First of all it’s about setting up the technical infrastructure required such as a data lake or a CRM system, and marketing automation systems. Cognizant can provide the entire technical data infrastructure and then help activate that data as well as help develop the strategies to monetise it.


“Imagine if a club could proactively approach sponsors who had the most interest in their first party data. Clubs could analyse their fan data and determine, for example, that airline partners were a better fit to fan behaviour than mobile providers.


“By implementing more proactive fan analysis, clubs can build a business case and approach highly targeted, relevant organisations with a data backed proposition for investment in a sponsorship, providing higher levels of return. This would represent a real step change in the monetisation strategy for these clubs.”


Ready to learn more? Cognizant can help to transform your company to get ahead and stay competitive.





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