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Engineering_skeleton_sled Sports sponsorship is a vital lifeblood. Without friendly funding, few sports could survive. The beauty of sponsorship is that it comes in many forms.

MBF Blogs sponsors Ironman triathlete Joe Skipper from Oulton Broad. Many companies chip into help every sport imaginable, according to what appeals to directors. Big conglomerates contribute significant sums of sponsorship in cash or kind every year.

What Do Companies Gain?

Arcelor-Mittal, the steel giant, sponsored the tower that stands adjacent to the London 2012 Olympic Stadium in Stratford. They also sponsor Bermuda cricket and the World Chess Championship.

On one level, a technology company enjoys high profile brand visibility when their chosen sports do well and become very newsworthy. There are strong marketing factors at work. But very often a company pumps money into amateur or low profile – even localised – sports, just because they love it. There is no obvious or material gain.

It’s just as well they do, or there would be less sports and fewer arts as well without the philanthropic approach of many entrepreneurs.

SponsorIQ are but one company who specialise in bringing sport, business and technology together. They describe their business brief as: ‘providing strategic and tactical support to companies utilising sponsorships as a marketing, public relations, sales or promotional platform.’ They argue that sponsorships can become ‘a valuable tool’ for a company.

Essential Technology

British defence systems giant BAE has just announced getting on for a million pounds to provide engineering support to the UK Sport organisation over the next four years. This will allow individual experts’ time, equipment and materials. The people involved will be those more familiar to designing and making military hardware.

It complements the work the company have done with some 20 different sports ranging from wheelchair racing to bob-skeleton racing in the past four years.

With the next Olympics in 2016 firmly in sight, it’s easy to forget that there are winter Olympics to come, Paralympic events and a host of sporting challenges where British athletes benefit from sport-technology-commercial input.

Recent technology innovations have included the laser tracking timing system put in at Manchester Velodrome to benefit British Cycling. This harnesses what is normally ‘battlefield ID’ technology to time up to 30 cyclists simultaneously using smart tags.

Angela Monaghan writing in the Daily Telegraph Business pages (31 December 2012) reported how BAE’s wind tunnel at Warton was used to test optimum simulated racing positions for wheelchair racing athletes. The tunnel is more frequently used to test fighter jets at up to 200mph!

According to Louise Corcoran, Skeleton Racer: ‘In the Olympic sport of skeleton racing the athlete descends the bobsleigh track head first, their chin and toes only millimetres from the ice. While balancing on an aerodynamic, rectangular steel and fibreglass sled athletes gain top speeds of up to 130kmph. Skeleton has been an international sport for over 100 years, and was re-introduced into the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City as a full medal sport after a 52 year absence, and the good news is that skeleton is back to stay!

All British skeleton bobsleds were redesigned after BAE and Southampton University ‘analysed athletes’ body dimensions and made sleds individualised for each team competitor.’

Fantasy Sports Just as Valid

Finally, apart from the obvious harmonious serendipity of technology companies applying their thinking to improving human sports performance, there is always Fantasy Sports, where gaming, computer programming, technology and the appliance of science come together in a perfect circle for those who prefer their exercise from a tablet (or PC, laptop or smartphone).

Worth checking out:

The Daily Telegraph, Angela Monaghan, UK Sport to benefit, 31 December 2012

SponsorIQ, Building Brands and Businesses in Sports, Entertainment and Technology

Fantasy Sports/ Sports Technologies

Latest Hot News from the Joe Skipper Camp in Spain, 3 December 2012

The Ironman: Joe Skipper Talks to MBF Blogs, 15 October 2012

Olympic Sports and Technology Predictions Could Be Just Common Sense Guestimates, 21 November 2012

Virtual Sport Rather Defeats the Object of Competitive Sports, 3 October 2012

Image: US Air Force
The Appliance of Technology, Business and Science on Winter Sports