Sports and Logistics – A match made in marketing heaven.

When asked to name sports sponsors, our minds may drift to luxurious airlines or the less exciting array of gambling companies we’re used to seeing printed on the front of major sports jerseys or plastered in the background during interviews where managers and sports stars are explaining where it all went wrong. However, logistics is no stranger to sports sponsorship, and when we consider the links between the two markets, this is no surprise.

Fans of the Premier League may be familiar with the lucrative deal struck between the Premier League giants Manchester United and the logistics behemoth DHL in 2011. This deal was worth over £10 million per year just for the training kit. It saw some of the biggest names in football warming up with DHL across their chests in vibrant red and yellow. This partnership worked not only due to the fantastic color combination but also because it presented an opportunity for DHL to portray themselves as the major global movers they are.

Firstly, on a B2C level, major sports teams have millions of fans around the world, each eager to consume regular content about their favorite sports team or stars. This offers regular opportunities to reach a stream of customers in order to build brand recognition and appreciation worldwide. The nature of sports also provides the perfect arena for logistics advertisement as it associates companies with fast-paced efficiency. FedEx is another firm with a major deal in football. The US company had been a sponsor of the UEFA Europa League, the second biggest prize in European club football, until they decided to step up and sponsor the Champions League in 2021. This likely came at a much higher cost, but the company saw it as worth it. And who can blame them? The competition is broadcasted in over 200 countries to a cumulative audience of over 2.5 billion and generates over 25 billion social interactions each year. It’s the perfect stage to show a world of consumers that you can reach them with a stamp of quality and showbiz from football’s biggest stars.

Other examples of this can be seen with DPD sponsoring Eintracht Frankfurt, Zapp sponsoring Chelsea, CMA CGM sponsoring Marseille, and UPS’s two-year deal with FC Koln.

Sponsoring sports teams and competitions also provides B2B opportunities for logistics firms, allowing them to showcase the capabilities of their global networks in truly global sports. DHL is once again a perfect example of this with their F1 sponsorship deal reported to be worth over $50 million per year. This deal, like the others, not only gives the brand exposure but also establishes an extremely functional relationship. DHL manages the shipping operation of up to 2,000 tons of freight to the race tracks, including cars, replacement parts, marketing, and hospitality equipment. With this deal, DHL gets an opportunity to showcase its abilities and the efficiencies of its global network to a global audience. Every team or competition requires some level of logistics from shipping 200mph speed machines to sending out 50,000 season tickets.

In conclusion, the fast-paced and active nature of sports, alongside its global exposure, give logistics companies the opportunity to advertise to customers at every corner of their networks. Meanwhile, continental and global competitions require huge logistics networks to carry the sporting brands across the globe. Sports and logistics share a mutually beneficial relationship that will continue to grow as both markets expand. 

There are many more examples of Logistics and Sport partnerships with one major 3pl company taking naming rights over a yearly sporting event. Can you name this or any other example? Please quote this article with your favourite sports and logistics partnership.