Jun 14, 2018 at 12:00 AM
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Five Sponsor Categories To Keep An Eye On This Summer

As summer temps heat up and festival season kicks into high gear, several new sponsorship categories have been on fire in the first half of 2018. Naturally, SponsorPitch has a catbird seat to all the action so we’d thought we’d share a few of them with you.

Security Screening: Identity service firms such as IdentoGO first entered the music festival scene on behalf of the TSA Pre✔ brand in 2016. As part of their activation, they enrolled fans for expedited security screening at the airport. However, in wake of recent events, the focus has shifted to expediting the heightened security screenings at the event venues themselves. Therefore, biosecurity brands such as Clear have ramped up major venue and gameday partnerships. As new technologies make it easier to verify identity and detect threats, this category should be one to watch for some time to come.

DNA / Genealogy: According to MIT Technology Review more people took genetic ancestry tests last year than in all previous years combined. It’s reported that in 2017, over 12 million customers took a direct-to-consumer ancestry test – future sparking the interest and access to heritage that Ancestryignited years ago. As with any large-scale growth in a category such as that, brands must strategically differentiate themselves in a hurry before the spotlight dims. 23andMe recently created one of the more creative partner campaigns with Fox Sports promoting the “Root for your Roots” feature connecting US fans to this year’s World Cup teams. The biotech brand Orig3n has also successfully paved its way to the portfolios of both sports and festival properties.

Peer to Peer Apps: Peer to peer formats have been formulated to shake up nearly all industries. Chances are you’ve used one already today! That’s why it’s no surprise that everything from roommates (Roomi to rides (Lyft) is being disrupted by new players aiming to win the attention and adoption of the consumers which they are powered by.

Gambling / Sportsbook: Legalization of sports gambling is definitely poised to change cash flow within the sports industry in more ways than one. Betting was already booming both legally and offshore, so the race is on for U.S. sponsorship sellers to maximize return from what is one of the most active categories globally. Though some hurdles and category restrictions still remain, with a major U.S. sports team yesterday partnering up with sports betting giant, WIlliam Hill, and today’s kick-off of sports gambling in New Jersey the second half of 2018 should see a lot more activity with this deep-pocketed category.Reuters reports that the leagues and teams are interested in doing commercial deals.

Cannabis: As more states and countries legalize cannabis, for both medical and recreational purposes, demand and therefore sponsorship will continue to emerge out of the shadows with big money from brands well-funded brands seeking to land grab in this rapidly growing industry. Of course, the stigma against cannabis will still need to be broken down one partnership at a time, which means properties can offer real value to brands and the industry at large, in gaining acceptance with mainstream audiences. Deal history predicts music festivals being the first genre to warm up to the idea such as pioneer Kindland at Life is Beautiful – or more recently, brands like MedMen’s presence at LA Pride. However, Cannabis shouldn’t be ruled out in the near future for sports as well. Recovery supplement? Freestyle skier and X-games gold medalist Tanner Hall became the first professional athlete to build an official partnership with cannabis company Black Rock Originals in 2016. Since then, mainstream athletes have begun to speak up about how cannabis products are incorporated to their training regime and rituals. It should go without saying that each property should be well-versed on laws, regulations and category restrictions before dipping their toe in this emerging category!

And here's three bonus categories to keep an eye on: hard seltzer, private aviation and cryptocurrency!