The Art of Sponsorship Activation: Creating Memorable Fair and Festival Experiences

by | Book Entertainment

sponsor definition.

The Art of Sponsorship Activation: Creating Memorable Fair and Festival Experiences

Sponsorship activation is a familiar yet misunderstood buzzword often used in the fair and festival industry. This article navigates the world of sponsorship activation and discovers its power in transforming ordinary events into unforgettable experiences for attendees and sponsors.

While strategically placing a sponsor’s banner or comping a few concert tickets is necessary, there is so much more involved with effective sponsorship activation.

By creating innovative ways to activate sponsorships you can unlock the potential for remarkable partnerships.  With this information, you can feel confident going after the big bucks and presenting a win win win for yourself, your sponsor, and your event goers.

Understanding Sponsorship Activation

the word

What Is A Sponsor?

A sponsor is a person, organization, or company that provides financial support or resources to another person, event, or organization in exchange for certain benefits or recognition.  

By providing the necessary funds or means, sponsors are vital to many organizations and events.  A desire to contribute to a cause, event, or organization that aligns with their values or interests is what motivates sponsors.

What is Sponsorship 

Sponsorship is the money or resources provided by the sponsor to help produce an event like fairs and festivals.   These funds help to offset the entertainment budget, facility rentals or upkeep, ticket prices, and even awards.      

Rather than an expectation of direct sales or responsibility for repayment on loans, sponsorship is based on a goodwill gesture.  Unlike traditional sales transactions where goods or services are exchanged for money, sponsorship operates on the principle of supporting something without expecting immediate financial gain.

Their generous support enables everyone to have an exceptional and memorable experience.  Sponsorship is a major source of revenue for many fairs and festivals.

What Is Sponsorship Activation? 

Sponsorship activation refers to the ways in which the recipient of sponsorship acknowledges and showcases the support provided by the sponsor.  Activation is the active and intentional process of expressing gratitude, recognition, and value to the sponsor.

In other words, sponsorship activation involves creating meaningful and engaging experiences that not only highlight the sponsor’s involvement but also enhance the overall event or project.  

Why Is Sponsorship Activation Important? 

Sponsor activation is a unique way of bringing a brand to life and connecting with an audience in a meaningful way. Sponsors want to go beyond traditional advertising and truly engage with their target audience. By activating a sponsorship, sponsors can showcase their products, services, and values in a way that leaves a lasting impression.

Sponsorship activation is a smart investment. Before any financial commitment, potential sponsors carefully measure the return on their investment (ROI) to ensure it’s worthwhile.   Well-executed sponsor activations have been proven to increase brand awareness, generate customer loyalty, and even drive sales.  Sponsors want to create a positive impact and see tangible results from the partnership.

By effectively activating a sponsorship, you are able to create unique experiences that go beyond mere exposure.  Sponsors want to be a part of your fair or festival adventure, offering interactive activities, exclusive offers, and memorable moments. They want your guests to remember them and choose their brand with confidence.

Sponsor Activation with Small Budgets

Simple inexpensive sponsorship activation idea, sponsor a contest.  

Many times sponsor activation is often overlooked or misunderstood. From my experience, many sponsors aren’t even aware of the term ‘activation,’ especially those in rural areas. It’s not something they actively ask for or expect. Similarly, fair coordinators, who often handle sponsorships, may not have much knowledge or training in this area.

The industry tends to focus on large-scale events and extravagant activations, which can feel out of reach for small fairs and sponsors. Seminars and conferences discuss strategies that may seem unattainable and overwhelming for those with limited resources. 

However, sponsor activation doesn’t have to be complicated; it can be tailored to fit the capabilities of each fair and sponsor.


By engaging sponsors in interactive activities that align with their brand and resonate with attendees, small fairs can create meaningful connections and enhance the overall fair experience. Activation doesn’t require a huge budget or elaborate setups.  It’s an opportunity to nurture relationships, showcase sponsor support, and deliver value beyond exposure.

Instead of just placing a banner, imagine engaging sponsors in interactive activities.  It could be something as simple as hosting a fun contest or providing a unique booth experience. 

Sponsorship activation is about making the most of the available resources and creating memorable moments that leave a lasting impression.  It’s a chance to show sponsors that their investment matters.


Sponsorship is more than just a financial transaction; it’s a partnership. 

How Sponsor Activations Enhance Attendee Experience 

FAME Racing promoting sponsors at a county fair.


Sponsor activations play a crucial role in enhancing the attendee experience at an event or festival. They contribute to creating a more engaging, interactive, and memorable environment for the attendees. 

Here are some ways in which sponsor activations enhance the attendee experience:

Interactive Engagement: Sponsor activations often offer interactive elements that allow attendees to actively participate and engage with the sponsor’s brand or products. This hands-on experience creates a deeper connection between attendees and sponsors, making the event more enjoyable and memorable.

Unique Experiences: Sponsor activations introduce unique and exciting experiences that can’t be found elsewhere. They add an element of novelty and surprise, capturing attendees’ attention and leaving a lasting impression. 

Value-Added Benefits: Sponsor activations often provide value-added benefits exclusively for event attendees. These can include exclusive discounts, special offers, or access to VIP areas or amenities. Attendees feel appreciated and rewarded for their participation. 

Personalization and Customization: Sponsor activations can be tailored to cater to the specific interests and preferences of the attendees. By understanding the target audience, sponsors can create activations that resonate with attendees, making them feel more connected and involved in the event experience.


What Does The Sponsor Want In Return?

Sponsors want a Return on Investment.

Sponsors typically expect certain benefits and returns for their sponsorship investment. While specific expectations may vary depending on the sponsor’s goals and the nature of the event or project, here are some common things sponsors may want in return for their sponsorship money:

Brand Exposure: Sponsors seek increased brand visibility and exposure to the target audience of the event. They want their logo, brand name, or products/services to be prominently featured and recognized by attendees.

Audience Engagement: Sponsors aim to engage with the event’s audience in a meaningful way. They want to create a positive association between their brand and the event experience, leading to increased brand awareness, customer loyalty, and potential sales.

Targeted Marketing: Sponsors often look for opportunities to reach their specific target market or demographic through the event. They want to connect with potential customers who align with their brand values and interests.

Relationship Building: Sponsors may seek to establish or strengthen relationships with key stakeholders, such as event organizers, attendees, or industry influencers. They see sponsorship as a way to build mutually beneficial connections that can lead to future collaborations or partnerships.

Product/Service Promotion: Sponsors may want to showcase their products or services and generate leads or sales directly at the event. They may seek opportunities to demonstrate or sample their offerings, distribute promotional materials, or provide exclusive offers to event attendees.

Hospitality and Networking: Sponsors often value hospitality benefits, such as VIP access, exclusive networking opportunities, or invitations to special events related to the sponsored project. They want to build relationships with industry professionals and decision-makers.

Return on Investment (ROI): Sponsors expect to see a return on their sponsorship investment. This can include measurable results such as increased brand awareness, sales growth, customer acquisition, media coverage, or positive public perception.

It’s important for event organizers to understand the specific goals and objectives of each sponsor and work closely with them to create customized sponsorship packages that fulfill their desired outcomes. Open communication and transparency are key in establishing a successful partnership and ensuring both parties’ expectations are met.



 Examples of Successful Sponsor Activations  


Naming Rights:  An activation can be as simple as naming a highly trafficked barn or facility on your grounds.  Referring to the old barn as “ The Allen Family Barn” identifies the Allen family as a major contributor.  

Likewise, smaller areas like benches, walkways, and gardens are perfect for smaller sponsorship dollars.

Exhibitor Space:  Many times sponsors and exhibitors want to generate warm leads. By offering a free interactive activity with an easy sign-up is perfect for name acquisitions.

Entertainment:  Face painters and balloon twisters are perfect for booth entertainment.  While the children wait in line, company representatives can easily take surveys or even introduce their line of products to the adults.  Strategically placing grounds entertainers near or even in your sponsors’ display will increase traffic to those areas.

Require your entertainers to mention their sponsors in a meaningful way.  Equip your entertainers with a few talking points that they can refer to during their show.  Entertainers have an engaged captive audience.  Pair a sponsor with an entertainer and let the entertainer deliver the pitch.

Printed materials:  Banners are still relevant and necessary for sponsor recognition.  

VIP Tent and Refreshing Stations:  Treat your sponsors like a VIP and give them a place to hang out.  Tables, chairs, and water with a private restroom go a long way in the fair and festival industry.  This area allows them to rest while networking with you and others in the community.  Building relationships within the community will strengthen your event.  

The State of Sponsor Activations in the Fair and Festival Industry

Deserted fairgrounds at dusk.

In the ever-changing landscape of fairs and festivals, financial constraints have become tighter than ever. Sponsors are still willing to contribute, but it’s crucial for event organizers to maximize the impact and value of those sponsorships. This is where sponsor activations come into play.

Many events struggle to effectively extract the full potential of sponsorships, resulting in missed opportunities and underutilized resources. It’s not enough to simply place a sponsor’s logo or banner at the event; organizers must go above and beyond to create meaningful and engaging activations.

Fairs and festivals can unlock a range of benefits with enhanced sponsor activations. Not only does it provide sponsors with better returns on their investments, but it also elevates the overall event experience for attendees. 

It’s a win-win situation: sponsors receive enhanced visibility and engagement, while events secure the necessary financial support to thrive.

  Introducing FAME: The Solution to Engaging Sponsor Activations

FAME Micro Reality race track a solution to fair sponsorship activation.

For over 20 years, our company, Fast Action Motorsports Entertainment, has effectively activated the industry’s sponsors.  Our unique grounds entertainment is suited for sponsors of all sizes, including national sponsors.  

Our professional announcers are well-trained in incorporating the excitement of LIVE RC Racing with sponsor recognition while entertaining and engaging their audience.  Our show is interactive, hands-on, and fun for the entire family.  

FAME has worked with hundreds of sponsors over the years including a very successful two-year National Sponsorship.  From name acquisition to promotional material distribution,  we prioritize building strong relationships with sponsors by understanding their specific desires and objectives.

FAME Sponsorship Activation 


Features of FAME Sponsor Activations


Multi-Media Approach:  Our multi-media approach to sponsor recognition and promotion is subtle yet impacting.  With custom-painted RC Cars, Sponsor signage, and captivating LIVE lap-by-lap announcer coverage, our racing action immerses spectators and racers alike.  

Brand Identity:  While most entertainment groups want their name recognized, FAME is different. In other words, their brand or identity remains separate from the sponsors.

Sponsorship Activation:  FAME transforming into sponsor branded identity.


FAME is motivated by promoting your brand, and engaging your sponsors while seamlessly integrating their brand into our experience. With custom skirting, signage, and talking points FAME can easily transform our personal brand into your corporate brand.  


We prioritize your brand over ours.


For example, while Mike the Magician will always be known as Mike the Magician in the Sunoco booth, FAME has the flexibility to become “The Sunoco Racing Experience.”, rather than “FAME Racing at the Sunoco Booth”.   There’s a big difference!

This distinction makes a significant impact. We want your sponsors to shine and be the focus of attention.   

At FAME, we believe in the power of collaboration and cohesiveness. By aligning our brand with your sponsors, we enhance their visibility and ensure that they receive the recognition they deserve.

We are committed to delivering a sponsor-centric experience that goes beyond promoting our own name, ultimately creating a win-win situation for everyone involved.


Multiple and Simultaneous Sponsor ActivationFAME excels at promoting multiple sponsors in a cohesive and exciting environment. With our racing show featuring 8 distinct race cars, each displaying a different company logo, we provide simultaneous sponsor activations. 

Moreover, our professional announcers skillfully incorporate sponsor names and brands into their lap-by-lap recaps, ensuring fair play and maximum exposure for sponsors throughout the day.

FAME Racing simultaneously promoting multiple sponsor activations.

Family Fun and Friendly Competition:  Our family-friendly show includes everyone. FAME has a unique ability to include up to 64 different racers in each show.  There is no other ground entertainment that allows this many participants in a show.  From 3-83 years old, everyone is on the same level competing with each other.  

Most shows only have 3 or 4 volunteers, while the rest of the kids are left out.  Not our show, if you want to race, you can race!

Photo Opportunities:  Victory Lane is a perfect place to display a sponsor’s banner.  What better way to promote your sponsor than in Victory Lane?  With a Victory Lane selfie station, eventgoers can snap a pic and post it to social media immediately!

 Benefits of FAME Sponsor Activations


Lasting Impressions: By incorporating custom-painted RC Cars, prominent sponsor signage, and captivating LIVE lap-by-lap announcer coverage, our racing action immerses spectators and racers alike. We ensure that our sponsors’ names and businesses leave a lasting impression.

Creating Memories:  The impact of winning a trophy or almost winning in some cases carries a racer for years.  As they stand in line waiting, we can hear them recap their previous experience.  Whether it was an hour ago or 10 years ago, the racers remember the details of the race and more importantly, the sponsor of their car.  

Promotes Unity and Goodwill:  The FAME staff are professional, clean, and observant.  They will never intentionally embarrass a driver or a sponsor.  We represent you and your values with a desire to build confidence in our audience. 

Longer Stays:  FAME Racing Tournaments are designed to promote longer stays on your fairgrounds.  This means, your guests will spend more money, riding rides, shopping, and eating.

This is a fun business and everyone should have fun!

FAME promotes unity, lasting impressions and longer stays.



In conclusion, sponsor activation is a vital component in securing long-term sponsor commitments and maximizing sponsorship dollars. 

By developing a winning activation strategy, fairs and festivals can build strong relationships with sponsors, showcase the value of their partnership, and generate tangible results. This not only benefits the event itself but also opens the doors to continued financial support and enhanced attendee experiences. 

Discover the power of FAME for your sponsor activations and create memories that will leave a lasting impact.

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