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Sponsorship contracts

The popularity of sponsorship promotions has grown with visible dependence by event organizers who count on such support to ensure financial success. Partnership relationships between event organizers and sponsors have grown to be crucial. In practice, events organized by organizers and sponsors are directed to one goal, the success of the event, being profitable for both sides and providing future opportunities to cooperate. Key to these sponsorship’s are properly prepared contracts serving as the basis of the relationship between orgnizer and sponsor, clearly outlining each side’s rights and responsibilities.

I pay – but can I demand? 

Key elements of sponsorship contracts consist of determination of the scope of the organizer’s obligations to the event and sponsor, and alternately the clearly establishing the level of the sponsor’s financial support and payment dates. An organizer’s obligations to a sponsor may be prior to the event (e.g. placing the sponsor’s logo in promotional material); during the event (e.g. leaflets, branding of stage, vehicle, shirts, exhibition space, etc.); and following the event (e.g. including sponsor logo on all post event promotion materials). Precision is the rule. Doubts are avoided by clear specification of benefits provided to the sponsor such as, frequency (e.g. 10 Facebook posts); placement parameters (e.g. logo size, what forms and locations will sponsor’s logo appear, etc.); and publication schedule. The size and scope of benefits should account to the sponor’s level of financial commitment. What does this mean? Organizers must understand sponsorship is not a donation; a sponsor in exchange for its financial support receives only a catalog of benefits; sponsors must respect it shouldn’t interfere with the organization of the event, if so moderately. The organizer is responsible for delivery of the event, and the sponsor’s contribution to the event is limited to financial support only.

Limitations on Sponsor’s interference during the course of an event

Of great assistance to avoid conflicts between the organizer and sponsor (organizer wanting full decision-making authority and sponsor wishing to hold the decisive vote) is to clearly establish boundaries from the beginning and outline procedures for subsequent modifications. (sometimes resulting as an appendix to the contract.) An organizer may for example inform the sponsor about a significant (both financial and artistic terms) deviation from the original program of the event. In such situations, compromise solutions could allow a sponsor to submit comments, or in a more restrictive version – to oppose any modifications (e.g., no consent to change a marathon to 100m). What’s beneficial to the sponsor, and not burdensome for the organizer involves the sponsor accepting the parameters of the event with the organizer promoting the sponsor within its content with relevant reviews and confirmations. With appropriate contract terms established both sponsor and organizer benefit. Approval of such materials and information means that the sponsor confirms it will not violate any rights or interests. With this acceptance however it’s worth excluding materials that simply include general logos of sponsors and partners, so that it doesn’t result in the sponsor wanted to interfere with the billboard layout because it’s logo is at the bottom.

In the event of anemergency – further tips

Finally, an important element for the sponsor usually allows for the regulation and limitation of the presence and inclusion of other sponsors, brands and products at the event. The presence of a competitive entity at the event will definitely weaken the sponsor’s marketing impact. The organizer should remember that the sponsor’s promotion is related to the use of certain intellectual and industrial property rights of the sponsor. In this respect, a sponsor should therefore grant the appropriate approvals and permits, and preferably – additionally provide official logos, graphics, as well as approved and verified sponsorship information, which may be distributed by the organizer. Finally, also worth bearing in mind when working on the contract, are the provisions regarding exceptional situations, e.g., regarding the change of the date of the event or its cancellation. Finally, it should be remembered that benefits to sponsors can be diverse and have legal specificity – thus you must consider that setting up a drink stand, which promotes alcohol, cigarettes or other sensitive products – may also require further licenses and permissions from the venue and/or other regulatory authorities; or could possibly not be allowed.


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