The decision to back a little-known school teacher turned boxer has paid huge dividends for one Brisbane SME, with around one billion people tuning in to see Jeff Horn win the world title.
In May this year, Steve Scanlan (pictured below, on the right with Jeff), founder of specialist IT recruitment firm Recon Solutions, wrote an article for My Business exploring his sponsorship of Jeff, the first company to get behind the then budding sportsman, and whether sponsorship provides a good return on investment.
“I made a decision over three years ago to support this little-known Brisbane school teacher turned boxer when I saw him train at my local boxing club and was impressed by his dedication,” Steve wrote.
Steve said his business wasn’t in the best financial position at the time, but Jeff’s determination and attitude resonated strongly with him, and so Steve made the decision to sponsor Jeff and committed to do so for the long term.
That investment paid off spectacularly on Sunday, 2 July, when Jeff beat world champion Manny Pacquiao to claim the WBO welterweight title and become a world champion himself.
“Never in a million years did I think Jeff would fight Manny Pacquiao, and a billion people would see my logo on TV – that’s crazy!” Steve tells My Business the day after Jeff’s win.
“You can’t pay for these types of experiences. Never in a million years. Four years ago, did I think that something like that would ever happen? Looking around the stadium, seeing the logo that was built in my back garage absolutely everywhere; I wore my hat into the ring, and there [are] these photos in the papers now of me picking up Jeff, and Recon smack bang in the middle of it.
“We had some really, really good clients, really high-profile clients there that have sent messages saying, ‘That was unbelievable, thank you’. As a business, the exposure that we’ve got is second to none.”
Sponsorship a long-term approach
According to Steve, it is important not to see sponsorship as a short-term investment with the expectation of receiving a defined return on that investment.
“It’s all about the person … and how I can make their [situation] any easier. It’s not about the return on investment per se just yet because you never know. It’s a gamble, isn’t it?” he says.
For Steve, sponsorship has always been about community involvement more than business returns, and supporting causes close to his heart.
By doing so, Steve says, he develops personal relationships and enjoys experiences that are worth far more than the money he puts down, and these in turn deliver the biggest returns – to both his business and himself personally.
“We sponsor the West Fiji Dolphins. We do that because it’s a dream of mine, seeing these young kids who live and breath rugby league over in Fiji, they sleep in their uniform and stuff like that – they love it so much. How awesome is it to go over there and just see all these 14-, 15-, 16-year-olds running around with my logo on the front of their shirts,” he says.
“We [also] sponsor a couple of other up-and-coming boxers: one being Joe Goodall, who is fighting in the World Championships, and he is a favourite for the Commonwealth Games gold medal next year.”
For the moment, Steve is enjoying celebrating Jeff’s win with his family, friends and clients, and plans to continue Jeff’s sponsorship “as long he’ll have us”.
“I guess you can tell how excited we are; it’s been an amazing experience … it just shows that if you really believe in someone or something, you just need to follow your gut, you have to follow your instinct and not look for the return straight away, and good things happen to good people.”
*Thumbnail image courtesy of The Australian / Getty Images