Playing the long game with corporate sponsorship

The impact of the pandemic on the grassroots sports industry has been felt by everyone we know. From kids sports to adult amateur leagues, all levels have felt the real effects of the social distancing rules which have resulted in lack of training, spectating and of course lack of games being played. One of the potential fallouts from all of this is lack of sponsorship. During recession times many have said that sports are immune to the financial effects as they could indeed host events, sell tickets and offer sponsorships – the pandemic of 2020 has changed that.

At MM Search we feel strongly that with sports like rugby, in particular, becoming more dependent upon corporate sponsors that we need to support these clubs more than ever this year and next.

The reason we and many other organisations sponsor grassroots sport is to both build it up for the future generations but also to provide us with a platform to market our business and entertain our clients. It is a win-win for small clubs to work with corporate partners.

As the headline corporate club sponsor of Greenock Wanderers (GWRFC) we want to protect our relationship with them, and we want to play the long game with them. The value of our sponsorship extends beyond the rugby itself for us at MM Search. We want to actively support GWRFC in the gradual return to a new normal.

Wanderers, like many local sporting organisations, have lost out on a significant amount of income due to the Covid-19 outbreak and subsequent lockdown. We spoke with the team at GWRFC about the importance of corporate sponsorship…

Club President David McIlroy explained the impact of corporate sponsorship for 2020: "The continued support of corporate sponsorship for Greenock Wanderers has made a significant and positive impact on everyone involved at the club. With such a challenging year for clubs, across the UK, sponsorship is crucial to our future. We are delighted that MM Search has continued to be our corporate Club sponsor throughout this exceptionally difficult period.

“The positive impact of MM Search’s continued sponsorship is not just in the sponsorship itself but by doing so, they have demonstrated a level of connection and affinity that has inspired Members and other sponsors to remain loyal to the GWRFC brand. This commitment really is priceless. We are delighted to continue this mutually collaborative partnership this season and want to thank MM Search for their support, particularly during what has been a challenging time for many.”

Kevin Murray, Junior Team Coach, said: “Having the support of the club has been invaluable to our minis, the coaches and local community. With the Return to Rugby protocols being in place in early January, we brought the kids back into training earlier than usual to give them something to look forward to during the first lockdown period. Initially through Touch rugby and gradually back into full contact training. None of this would have been possible without the clubs and SRU's help to implement. Covid guidelines to safeguard everyone attending the sessions. We have actually seen an increase of 16% in registered minis since last season which is testament to the work being done at grassroots rugby at Greenock.”

Beverley Addison, Ladies’ Team Captain, said: “This year has been tough for everyone, but the beauty of sport is that it gives you a family and support system to lean on in tough times. At the ladies’ team that has been our number one focus for this strange season. Our team motto is ‘we have each other’s backs’ and that is true both on and off the pitch.

“Our sponsors are a huge part of this ethos, as they have our back year after year and without their support, we simply could not do what we do. This season our focus has been on training and bringing all of our players up and ready for when rugby returns, setting the girls monthly and weekly fitness challenges.

“We have also focused on what we can do for others and on giving back to our community. Raising funds for our team charity Inverclyde Children in Poverty and also establishing a Scholarship Rugby Programme for disadvantaged young people, all with the financial support of our sponsors.”

Former Club President Steven Anderson said: “In normal times the club relies on the generosity of sponsors to meet the ever-increasing costs, but these are not normal times and we are unable to offer a return to our sponsors and members. It is therefore even more important, to us, as a club and to the local people of the area, that we have the fantastic support of MM Search to assist us through this very difficult period in our club's history. It is no exaggeration to say that we may not have survived without their invaluable contribution.”

We appreciate that the club needs us now more than ever and by continuing to support them at this point we hope that we are helping them to build the foundations of their full return. As with everything, we are all looking forward to getting back to some form of normality and when we can return to matches and corporate hospitality we will do so with bells on!