IBM – Sports & Entertainment Partnerships

IBM - Content & Strategy


IBM’s sports sponsorship unit catered to an older, more mature client base, partnering primarily with golf and tennis tournaments.  IBM wanted to bring its sponsorship portfolio into the 21st century with a greater focus on its emerging buyer personas. Gather evaluated the portfolio of sponsorship partners, ultimately culling the portfolio to its best in class partnerships and bringing in a new breed of partners into the portfolio.

The Approach

First, Gather led a process to create the future-state vision for IBM’s sponsorship portfolio. Then, Gather led a portfolio review to examine both existing properties and new opportunities for fit to mission, audience relevance and demonstration of IBM’s capabilities through unique experiences. Finally, Gather made the recommendation to terminate certain tournament partnerships and establish new relationships with eSports, award shows, fantasy leagues and other emerging competition events.

The Impact

IBM added partnerships with The Grammys, The Academy Awards, and ESPN Fantasy Football. Gather created a measurement program for the IBM Sports and Entertainment Group (SEP) which tracks performance across the portfolio from year to year. IBM now has a clear strategy for what types of partners it should consider in the future.