Stobart’s ‘Owned Media’ Super League Sponsorship


The Super League launch for 2012 occurred on Wednesday 1 February with a convoy of branded Eddie Stobart trucks driving from Widnes to Old Trafford.


But why?


Because the power and value of owned media is becoming an increasingly important and influential factor in the world of sponsorship.


Nowhere is the more clearly highlighted than in the new title sponsorship deal between Rugby Football League (RFL) and new backer Stobart


The European transport and logistics brand has become the name sponsor of the UK’s elite rugby league competition, The Super League, in a deal that will run to until the end of the 2014 season under the title The Stobart Super League. The Stobart brand will feature prominently across all 14 clubs in the competition, but surprisingly it hasn’t paid a penny for the deal.


While previous league sponsor, Engage Mutual Assurance, paid in excess of $1.5m-per-year for the rights, this innovative new deal with Stobart focuses on the transport brand’s owned media – its distinctive trucks. The sponsorship is all about exposure and awareness and newly designed Stobart Super League artwork will adorn 100 trailers of the company’s famous red and green trucks.


Each of the 14 clubs will have trailers branded with images of their players and team colours.


With an Eddie Stobart vehicle passed, on average, every 4.5 minutes when driving on the UK’s major roads, the brand has a valuable asset in its owned media. Indeed, there is even a child’s car travel game based around the names of Stobart trucks.


“The deal with Stobart is excellent for the Super League clubs and the competition as a whole,’ argues Super League Chairman Richard Lewis. “The Super League clubs turned down other offers and took a strategic view that the brand values of Stobart are closely matched to those of Rugby League. The Super League clubs are excited by the multi-layered sponsorship that services the game and the competition on a number of levels in a way never seen before.”


Stobart CEO Andrew Tinkler maintains that his 2,250 trucks have made the company a SuperBrand.


And describes the deal as an innovative way to market the company and the league through interaction with fans and the public alike and a great opportunity for us to help promote Super League and enhance our own status as a brand defined by quality, reliability and distinction. Indeed, the transport brand has its roots in Northern rugby league territory and is a name sponsor of its local Stobart Stadium at Halton


The partnership will dovetail alongside a new five-year television contract with leading broadcaster Sky Sports, which will see up to 70 televised games each season. Rugby League is the broadcaster’s most watched domestic league outside of football and the fourth most popular televised sport in Britain.




The big cash sums often grab the sponsorship headlines, but smart marketers know that sponsorship is all about the extra value the rights owner and its partners can bring to the event. If a partner can bring exposure that is more valuable than a cash sum, then it’s definitely worth a rights owner being brave and eschewing the immediate cash sum in favour of longer term benefits.










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