How is luxury investing in the sports sector?
We know the special relationship between luxury and sport.
More than a simple link, it is here the whole storytelling of the houses which is based on common identities. But these partnerships seem to be mutating to offer new formats. Sharing values and formidable marketing integration levers, analysis of a link that has become a notable area of investment, where performance and excellence set the pace.
An old link
More than notoriety, sportsmen drain with them a particular and inimitable image. Far from movie actors or influencers, who have to prove their real marketing impact, sportsmen are like a bulwark of trust for today's society, tired of traditional marketing campaigns.
In sports, there is no (or very little) room for lies or endless storytelling. Here everything is clear and the effort is at the heart of the issues. It is therefore not surprising that, for a long time now, luxury has been associated with renowned sports teams. Sailing, tennis, golf or even motor sports, the alliances are obvious and the targets have been defined beforehand. This classic model responded primarily to a technical demand: creation of waterproof watches, specific outfits for a given sport or other targeted tools. The companies were looking for a way to surpass themselves, which they supported through their expertise, with the idea that a brand could only represent one sport. However, this strategy seems to be losing ground to a much more invested luxury that wants to occupy the space in a complete way and not just as a simple expert.
Indeed, it is clear that today, luxury goods no longer appear as a utilitarian player but as a partner present in all phases. It is developing in a wide variety of fields, often far from its spectrum of activities and its basic identity, but who cares? The goal is elsewhere and the companies want to be represented from the beginning to the end of the process.
For example, Rolex sponsors Formula 1, golf and also tennis (sponsorship of the four Grand Chelem tournaments, Roger Federer and the Laver Cup...) or the Swiss watch brand Tudor, which recently joined forces with the Swiss surfing concept Alaïa Bay, which has the largest artificial wave in continental Europe. A partnership that reflects Tudor's "Born to Dare" vision.
Another example is Panerai, a watch brand belonging to the Richemont group, whose history is associated with style and the sea, and which gave its name to the Régates Royales trophy, whose 27th edition brought together nearly 200 yachts. Through these partnerships and daring links, the luxury industry strives above all to break the codes and create an innovative format, even if it means surprising its clients and thus conquering new markets and renewing its influences.
As Thibaut de la Rivière, director of Sup de Luxe, points out: "If the industry used to invest in sports directly related to their storytelling, the challenge is now to transfer values, allowing brands to broadcast a stronger emotional marketing message."
This sharing favors a different exposure and brings with it new challenges and new targets. Indeed, this diversity of partnerships leads to profound changes in terms of targeting but also in terms of value.
Common ambitions and affirmation of identity
If luxury is synonymous with exception, rarity and excellence, it is not only interested in elite sports. Offering an attractiveness that has nothing to envy to certain sectors (notoriety, image, commercial potential), sport is definitely conducive to development and serves the storytelling of the biggest brands. A popular strategy that seduces and represents a certain open-mindedness of brands.
An example is Louis Vuitton, with its monogrammed trunk containing the footballs of the last thirteen World Cups, or the British designer Stella McCartney, who supervised the making of the outfits for the British athletes at the Olympic and Paralympic Games in London. An assumed democratization, linked to the advent of a hedonistic society that also wants to enjoy the sometimes too exclusive world of luxury. A strategy for the future, definitely.