You should spend about 40 minutes on this task.
Some companies sponsor sport and sports stars as a way to advertise themselves. Some people think it is good, while others think there are disadvantages. Discuss both views and give your opinion.
Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own knowledge or experience.
Write at least 250 words.
Sample Answer 1
It is true that a growing number of enterprises seek to promote their products and services through sport and sporting celebrities. While some people argue that this is a positive development, I agree with those who consider that the drawbacks outweigh the advantages.
On the one hand, sponsorship brings money into sport, and some believe that this benefits sport and business in general. Firstly, sponsorship and marketing are linked, and through television sports coverage, for example, both sport and companies profit. Sports, particularly minority sports such as cycling, are able to make the most of sponsorship to increase their popularity and encourage wider public participation. Secondly, as more money is poured into sport, sports stars are paid higher salaries and train full-time to raise their standards. Finally, in terms of advantages for businesses, associating their products with the healthy and popular image of sport enables them to enhance their public image and to break into new markets.
On the other hand, I support the opposing view that the entry of business money into sport has betrayed the Olympic ideal. Companies simply strive to gain a competitive edge over their rivals and to maximize their profits. Sports merchandising – like Nike and the National Basketball Association in the US – sometimes connects the product and the sport, but often it does not. Liverpool FC, for example, is sponsored by a bank. However, money in sport has resulted in a win-at-all-costs attitude, encouraging bribery or the use of illegal substances such as performance-enhancing drugs. Individual celebrities, like Cristiano Ronaldo, have gained a fortune from the endorsement of sporting goods, and enjoy millionaire lifestyles.
In conclusion, I totally agree with the critics of sponsorship in sport. While it has made profits for business, sponsorship has destroyed the sporting spirit of fun and fairness.
Vocabulary from sport:
sports coverage: the activity of reporting news related to sport
Example: Many top sports stars are now known to millions of people around the world because of global sports coverage by the media.
the Olympic ideal: the ultimate goal is not to win, but to know that you have taken part and done your best in a competition
Example: Unfortunately, professional sport is just another branch of the entertainment industry, and the Olympic ideal has been lost.
sports merchandising: the activity of selling products connected with a sport or sportsperson Example: Sports merchandising is a multi-billion dollar business worldwide, in the form of t-shirts and sports equipment.
a win-at-all-costs attitude: an idea that a match or competition must be won, using all possible means
Example: Youth sport is being ruined by a win-at-all-costs attitude, which includes cheating and breaking the rules in order to achieve victory.
to use illegal substances: to use drugs or medicines which are not allowed under the rules of a competition
Example: In professional sport, it has become increasingly common to use illegal substances in order to win at all costs.
performance-enhancing drugs: drugs which improve the ability of a sportsperson to compete
Example: Athletes who take performance-enhancing drugs are not only cheating, but they also set a bad example for young people.
the endorsement of sporting goods: an advertising statement, usually by a famous sportsperson, saying that they use or like a particular product.
Example: In addition to their fabulous salaries, sports celebrities also make a great deal of money through their endorsement of sporting goods such as trainers or even casual clothes or deodorants!
Vocabulary from business and money:
to make the most of something: to make something appear as good as possible; to exploit something; to get as much out of something as is possible.
Example: They designed the advertisements to make the most of the product’s features.
to enhance their public image: to make their company appear more attractive to people
Example: In order to enhance their public image, some companies donate large sums of money to charities.
to break into a market: to enter a market with the connotation that entrance to the industry was difficult.
Example: It is difficult to break into the market for designer sportswear because there is too much competition from leading brands like Nike.
to gain a competitive edge: to achieve an advantage over another company or organisation, often by providing the same goods or services at a lower price
Example: The high quality of VW cars, combined with their affordable price, has enabled the company to gain a competitive edge over all its rivals in world markets.
to maximize profits: to increase profits to the highest possible level
Example: The company has hired a marketing consultant to recommend how to maximize profits next year.
to pour into [phrasal verb]: to provide a large amount of money for something
Examples: Millions of dollars are being poured into the development of a new vaccine for coronavirus.
bribery [noun]: the act of giving money or something valuable to somebody in return for their help – often to do something dishonest
Example: It was discovered that the bribery of the referee was responsible for the shock result of the football match.
Sample Answer 2
Sport sponsorship has gained significant prominence in recent years and has been recognized as one of the effective instruments for promoting companies and brands. While some believe that this could be beneficial for the sponsors, I agree with those who believe that there are potential negative outcomes from sports endorsement.
Looking firstly at the positives, the most significant of which is increased awareness of the company brand name. This is because sponsoring companies are able to gain publicity and recognition through their association with the event and the organization. Furthermore, sponsoring sports is an effective way for companies to get involved in the community. For example, consumers would develop a preference for Coca-Cola’s products, and intention to purchase because of the sheer number of social activities done by the company during its sponsorship of the Olympic games.
However, sports advertising does present some disadvantages, the most obvious of which is it can be a risky financial investment. To elaborate, profit, improved brand image or increased sales cannot be guaranteed for the sponsor. For example, if the endorsed athlete falls ill, gets injured, does not perform well, there is a possibility that the sponsor will not receive the profit that they had originally expected. Another downside is that sport endorsement could harm the reputation of companies. If the athlete or athletes endorsing a brand become involved in scandal, drug abuse, or violence, that brand could become associated with that scandal, and face consumer boycotts.
In conclusion, despite the benefits of brand awareness and involvement in the community that sport endorsement can offer, the drawbacks of risky investment and the potential damage to the company’s reputation should be taken into consideration.