Something weird happens with brands when they decide to do sponsorships. Marketers who are usually very careful about how and where they spend their money suddenly start making gut calls.
Brand managers tend to ignore red flags like small audience pools or poor brand alignment if they are a fan of the sport in question. That's really the only way I can explain why Columbia Pictures decided to sponsor Atlético Madrid back in 2003.
On the flip side, it's easy to be blind to the potential of something because it's outside of your own personal interests. Christine Aguilar over at Talkwalker published some data on the Formula 1 last week that reminded me of how limiting my own social bubble can sometimes be.
I was surprised to see that the Melbourne Grand Prix generated over 1 Million mentions on social. Clearly I'm not a car guy.
Like with any data It's important to go deep and really understand what it's saying before jumping to conclusions though. For example, 97% of the race day mentions originated from outside of Australia. That means a sponsorship probably isn't the best opportunity for a local brand but could be great for an international one that's looking for a prestige alignment.
To know for sure you'd want to pull together data from a bunch of sources but there's something comforting about being able fall back on some quick numbers instead of having to have a gut-off with your clients.