Dec 31, 2013 at 01:57 PM
written by Staff

The Ten Biggest Sponsorship Stories of 2013

New Year's Eve is a great time to reflect on the year that was. Here's a few of our hand-picked sponsorship stories that made waves around here over the past 365 days...

Tablets Take The Field

Tablets hold promise for ushering in a whole new generation of tech-savvy sideline activations. Whether the promise of that opportunity was fulfilled in 2013 is largely a matter of opinion, but the building blocks were definitely put in place this past year with several blockbuster nine-figure deals. Starting with MLB's tie-up with T-Mobile through to Microsoft's deal with the NFL and rounding things out with Samsung's league-wide sponsorship with the NBA, this will definitely be a category to keep an eye on in the year ahead.

FC Barcelona - Intel

The tech giant put 'Intel Inside,' quite literally, by being the first sponsor to place its logo inside the jersey of a sponsored club.

Dallas Cowboys - AT&T

After four years without a naming rights partner, Jerry Jones dialed up the Cowboys' hometown telecom, AT&T, in a reported $17-19 million/year deal.

San Francisco 49ers - Levi Strauss & Co.

Jeanswear, or fashion for that matter, isn't the typical a category that takes on a lot of naming rights deals, particularly for such a prolific and highly anticipated venue, but when it came time to name the 49ers' new Santa Clara home Levi's stepped up with a 20 year, $220 million offer.

Citi Bike Launches

Though announced in 2012, Citi Bike launched in 2013 with $41 million committed from the financial giant and another $6.5 million from MasterCard. Though the program had its fair share of skeptics, it's fair to say that Citi Bike has set the bar for future programs while the program it is most often compared to, London's Barclays Bike, is looking for a new naming rights partner.

Tribeca Film Festival - AT&T

After helping get the festival off the ground in 2001, American Express will step aside after 12 years as presenting sponsor as AT&T steps in to fill the role. While American Express will remain a sponsor, it will be interesting to see how AT&T puts its own mark on this annual gathering of hollywood elite in lower Manhattan.

New York City Marathon - Tata Consultancy Services

After canceling the event in 2012 due to Hurricane Sandy and losing its title sponsor for the past ten years, the New York City Marathon got a big boost in October when it teamed up with India's Tata Consultancy Services, which will get naming rights to the world's largest marathon for the next eight years.

IMG Sells To William Morris

Two of Hollywood and sports' biggest power brokers have converged with the recently announced $2.3 billion merger of IMG and William Morris Endeavor. While the merger is in its early innings, there is no doubt that the deal will have a big impact on the landscape for sports and entertainment marketing partnerships in 2014 and well beyond.

Sochi Sponsors Putin A Tough Spot

This will likely be more of a 2014 story, but there's no denying that the run-up to the Sochi games as been a PR challenge for blue chip IOC sponsors like McDonald's, Procter & Gamble and Coca-Cola. From Russia's anti-gay laws to more recent security concerns, sponsors may face a difficult time crafting meaningful activation around their nine figure investment with the media focused on bigger issues.

SFX - Anheuser Busch InBev

Coming at the tail end of the year, this multi-million dollar global marketing partnership is a big one for not only the recently launched SFX Entertainment, but also the fast growing EDM music genre at large, More non-endemic deals like this will only help fuel the fire in 2014.

Last, but not least three recent highlights from our own year. In August, SponsorPitch made its Forbes debut followed shortly by the very successful launch of our first agency RFP on behalf of SeaWorld. SponsorPitch also made highly targeted real-time sponsorship recommendations a reality enrolling dozens of organizations into Property Manager Elite and Brand Manager Elite, our new sponsorship recommendation engine.

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It's been a busy year all around. What did we leave out? Feel free to offer up additions to our list in comments.

Thanks for making us part of your 2013 and best of luck for a successful 2014!