James Cardona, Business Manager

Right Formula Business Manager, James Cardona, explores how the lines between sport and entertainment have become blurred and how that can impact brand partnerships.

When the global pandemic forced sport off our screens and eventually kept fans away from stadia and events, as a society we lost our weekly right to experience the roar of a crowd or the purr of an engine. What we gained instead was an added appreciation of sport’s ability to deliver more than just sport.

Sports kit went from technical wear to leisurewear when working from home, local clubs became online communities, and athletes became activists, artists and influencers.

Now, sport has the ability to transcend its own definition and glide beyond the on-pitch physical entertainment and competition. It has spread its influence into music, fashion, art, social activism and everyday culture.

paris: a capital of culture

Paris Saint-Germain’s capture of Lionel Messi from Barcelona during the football summer transfer window understandably made the front and back pages, but their business away from the pitch has been equally impressive.

It was recently announced that French luxury fashion house, Dior, was to become the club’s official tailor. This heralds Dior’s first time working with a sports club and through the collaboration with PSG they have aligned with a global lifestyle brand that is modern and fast-growing.

The worlds of sport and fashion are now entwined; influences from one are seen in the other.

The partnership follows on from PSG’s first foray into lifestyle in 2018, when they entered into a sportswear supply deal with Nike Jordan – a brand more famed in the NBA – which had obvious benefits for the club in the US market.

The arrival of the world’s best player in Messi, alignment to French luxury in Dior, and street culture through Jordan, gives PSG the ultimate trifecta. They attack culture from all angles and we expect to see the PSG brand to continue its meteoric rise.

 

an olympic debut for the breakdancing community

Continuing with Paris, the 2024 Olympics will see the inaugural inclusion of breakdancing. After the success of skateboarding and surfing at the recent Tokyo Games, we continue to see the fascinating growth of ‘non-traditional’ sports in the ultimate global competition. The IOC has been on a mission to widen the appeal and relevance of the Olympics as well as secure a younger audience, and as a result, their recognition of breakdancing is significant.

With strong roots in rap music, street art and DJing, the sport opens up multiple avenues for brand alignment and partnership as well as community support. Its Olympic inclusion will only increase the stature and commercial potential of leading events such as Red Bull BC One, a client of Right Formula’s.

 

listening to the cultural beat

Sport’s relationship with music is long-standing. Songs are ingrained in our memories as the soundtracks to historic moments, but it’s how we listen that has changed. Athletes across all sports are now seen arriving to their various events and competitions sporting a range of headphones, earbuds and portable speakers.

As Liverpool FC star Trent Alexander-Arnold explains in his recent link up with Bang & Olufsen: “Music is my way of getting in the zone.” In the content, created by Right Formula Productions, the premium audio company highlights music’s ability to adapt to different states by utilising their ambassador in a multi-faceted role – Trent the chef, the gamer and even the chess-player. Whilst famous for their raw talent, sports stars are also icons off the pitch, court and track.

the implications for brands and partnerships

The way sport is intertwined with wider culture and entertainment only increases the opportunity for brands when they get involved in partnerships.

Did iconic Italian tyre brand Pirelli ever expect to be worn on the runway at Milan Fashion Week by Winnie Harlow? The supermodel took to the catwalk in 2019 to help launch Inter Milan’s 20-year anniversary shirt. This feat catapulted the brand into the front-row of a new fashion-conscious audience.

Through partnerships, brands can now capitalise on the cultural relevance that sport carries.

For the right brand, activated in the right way, partnerships can help you tap into multiple passion points of your audience, launching you into multiple conversations at once.

A sports partnership doesn’t haven’t to be limited to sport. A sports ambassador as the face of your brand doesn’t have to be used in a solely sporting context.

This powerful approach allows brands to reach new audiences in new markets.