The trusted national network now boasts an impressive roster of top level sport sponsorships, but why does it bother? For lots of reasons…
Betway Premier League Darts is playing to packed houses across the UK (and, this season, beyond). The Vitality Netball Superleague is winning new fans with a series of high octane, thrill-a-minute matches.
And up and coming boxing superstar Gavin McDonnell might just have secured a world title shot after jabbing and hooking his way to another impressive victory in February.
What connects these apparently unrelated sporting spectacles is that Approved Garages is sponsoring them all. The trusted national network is now a key partner of Premier League Darts, Superleague netball, and unbeaten Doncaster super-bantamweight McDonnell.
“We are committed to supporting top level British sport,” says Chris Chaplin, marketing manager for GROUPAUTO, the parent company of Approved Garages. “That’s good for the sports themselves, and is also proving itself a wonderful marketing tool for us. Sports partnerships help us to deliver our message – of excellent workmanship, top quality parts and unmatched customer service – to a wider demographic than would otherwise have been possible.”
Approved Garages has chosen its sports wisely, with top level darts, netball and boxing giving the network access to a wide cross-section of the British public in a cost effective way.
“This isn’t Premiership football,” says Chris. “But all these sports draw tens of thousands of truly passionate fans who consider themselves part of the ‘family’ of the sports they love. As such, they appreciate companies who partner with their sport in a positive and committed way and also come to see them as part of that family.”
The network is certainly committed, featuring the sports heavily on its website and social media channels. Sports sponsorship has helped drive large amounts of traffic to Approved Garages’ social networks, and especially its blog, Facebook page and Twitter feed (@approvedgarages).
Competitions to win tickets and merchandise have proved hugely popular (the Approved Garages Player of the Night competition has become a much anticipated feature of weekly Premier League Darts nights, for instance) and signage and publicity material at venues, and on player’s kit, have helped to spread awareness of the Approved Garages’ brand.
Fun and imaginative initiatives like the legendary Approved Garages netball darts video mash-ups have also helped to publicise the network on social media.
And there are other advantages too. Sports sponsorship allows Approved Garages to entertain members and potential members, treating them to fun nights out at top class sports events. According to Nigel Jones, MD of sports marketing and sponsorship expert The Purple Tangerine, that’s a key benefit of partnering with sporting events.
“If you’re targeting business to business,” he told the Daily Telegraph, “then you want sponsorship that enables you to entertain clients and customers. So the hospitality side of it is very important.”
Approved Garages has created dedicated marketing campaigns around each sport, something Jones believes is essential for the success of the venture. “Set up your own Facebook page and Twitter account, make your own app, run PR campaigns. Create your own community within the sport,” he advises.
Approved Garages has actually gone one step further, creating bespoke content, particularly around Premier League Darts. The network’s exclusive interviews and analysis has been read by thousands of darts fans.
Of course, sport sponsoring isn’t just about what sport can do for business, it’s also about what business can do for sport. Approved Garages is helping all its partners reach a wider audience, and introducing that audience to its services and offer.
“We are delighted to welcome Approved Garages to our increasing sponsorship portfolio,” said Matt Cook, Commercial and Marketing Director at England Netball. “Netball’s growth means even greater opportunities for sponsors and we look forward to giving Approved Garages some really positive exposure alongside the top level of women’s sport.
“It will be fantastic for our members to get access to Approved Garages extensive network and to provide them with a trusted and value for money service.”
Boxer Gavin McDonnell believes Approved Garages’ sponsorship has been a key factor in his rise towards a world title shot. “My sponsors, including Approved Garages, mean that I can do a gym session now, when I’m at my best, and not before work or after work when you’re tired. The quality of my sessions is so much better because I don’t have to work and that’s down to sponsors. I really appreciate all the help.”
Approved Garages’ portfolio of sport sponsorships appears to be a winner for all concerned.