As the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) season gets into full swing, Fonbet has been restructuring its approach to cooperating with the league, placing more of a focus on supporting clubs and direct sponsorships.
In conversation with SBC News, Fonbet CMO Alina Yakirevich explained that this new approach to sponsorship will be expanded across further sports, with football next on the list.
SBC: The KHL season has just got underway. Now Fonbet has switched up its sponsorship priorities this season – can you tell us about what this new approach entails?
AY: Yes, we recently extended our contract with the KHL for another four years even though our previous agreement was in force for another year. This was mainly because Fonbet is very pleased with the way our collaboration with partners in the league has developed.
Secondly, we decided to restructure our approach to cooperation and decided that, as the main partner of the KHL, we should focus on supporting clubs and direct sponsorship in a more targeted channel.
SBC: Why did Fonbet decide to change its approach?
AY: The world is still recovering from the effects of the pandemic. In Russia, COVID-19 restrictions are still in effect, and stadiums and arenas are not even at 50% capacity. Club revenues have dropped.
The KHL is one of our most important strategic partners. We thought for a long time about what else we can do to support the league and its clubs, and we came to a conclusion that will benefit everyone.
SBC: How will the sponsorship of nine KHL clubs help increase Fonbet brand awareness in the league, especially considering the popularity of hockey in Russia?
AY: Hockey is one of the most popular sports not only in Russia, but in Belarus, Kazakhstan, Latvia and other post-Soviet countries as well. Signing sponsorship agreements with KHL clubs is more than just brand placement on uniforms, billboards or the ice of home arenas.
For us, it encompasses a huge volume of work we plan to carry out with each partner club. This includes both traditional entertainment events and socially significant events that Fonbet considers essential.
One of the most important areas is working with club fan bases. It is crucial for us to build communications with fans, and hold their interest with contests, sweepstakes, gifts, and more.
However, the major goal of sponsorships is to ensure that Fonbet is perceived not just as a sponsor, but as a reliable and responsible partner.
SBC: Do you plan to use the same sponsorship approach for other sports?
AY: Yes, we will definitely be revising our positions in other areas as well. First and foremost, this means football. We are already partnered with several leading RPL clubs, CSKA and Rubin, and we are looking to expand this pool.