Global Sport Technology

An Interview with Sam Baring, Sam Baring Partnerships

1. Tell me about your working background, Sam Baring Partnerships (SBP) and your role at the company.

With ten years of sponsorship sales experience for rights holders (The Rugby Players’ Association and Ascot Racecourse) and an agency (The AOK Events Group), I am now setting out on my own through the formation of SBP. I’m really pleased that AOK Events will switch from my employer to an SBP client and I’ll also be kicking off with a long-term agreement with the excellent team at Caytoo.

2. What are your short- and long-term goals for SBP?

In the short term there is a focus on winning retained work with rights holders and supporting other agencies and consultancies. Medium and long term, my focus is a continuation of my most successful pieces of work at AOK: brokering six and seven figure sustainability-led partnerships with brands.

3. How do you see SBP and GST working together?

A priority for me is the awareness of where my skill set starts and where it stops and the importance of collaboration across the sports and sponsorship industries is more crucial than it has ever been before. Giles Goodwin and I have spoken at length around how we could work together and there are clear synergies across existing GST clients and prospective SBP clients. We will be looking to support each other across client pitches where GST’s data-driven approach can be enhanced by SBP’s sales processes, and vice-versa.

4. With life becoming more digital, has SB Partnerships had to do anything to adapt?

For me, a successfully executed partnership needs to have a real core understanding of the rights holder’s first party audiences and how a brand coming onboard as a partner can engage with those audiences. The industry’s renewed focus on digital sponsorship rights should not change that although perhaps too many sponsorship proposals have focused on how many Facebook followers, Twitter followers and Instagram followers a rights holder may have. This data should be secondary to the scope of work GST excel at in breaking down participant and fan engagement.

5. How important is data in the sponsorship world?

The industry is being repeatedly told that data is king, and of course it is essential, however I think there is often a limited understanding of how to transact upon that directive. Data is only really relevant to a sponsorship proposal or sponsorship negotiations when it is extensively detailed and truly tailored around the conversations you are having with a brand. ‘Off the shelf’ data can be rehashed by anyone very quickly but has very limited value unless it’s applied to a brand’s sponsorship objectives. Any rights holder that breaks down their data into audience segments will be streets ahead of competitors who just aggregate social followers and tell us what their average attendance us.

6. Why do you think different sports been affected by the pandemic sponsorship wise?

Across the industry, we’ve seen that broadcast rights deals have acted as kingmaker, and it has been no surprise that sports most reliant on these big rights deals have been the ones that have best navigated their way through Covid-19. The Premier League is obviously one than found a solution to the problems a lot easier than others.

It has been really challenging for those smaller sports federations, and it will continue being a battle in the foreseeable future, as no-one knows how long they are going to have to keep treading water for. Smaller sports and clubs are so heavily reliant on event day and ticketing revenue, they’ve had that completely wiped away. This is where both GST and SBP can come in and help.

7. What future changes do you see happening to the sports sponsorship landscape?

From regular Zoom meetings with brands over the summer, I expect there to be much more of a community and CSR focus to sponsorship, especially with bigger brands. Seven figure budgets that may have been honed in on a single sponsorship opportunity will become divided up into more regional and local community projects. We have seen there has already been a huge shift across society with the work/life balance changing at a rapid pace and sponsorship needs to adapt to that. The industry needs to understand that huge crowds at multiple events might once have been the quick route to market but such ease of access is not guaranteed to return any time soon.

8. Anything else you want to add?

Sam Baring Partnerships was officially up and running from 22nd September so do please check out the website ( and keep an eye on the blogs section for a guest feature from GST next month.  Do also head to and request a trial report, their data is a cut above any previous service available across the industry.