Sponsorship Insider

Sports sponsorship rights intelligence

Aviva: A portfolio approach to sponsorship

27 Feb 2014

Aviva, the UK’s largest insurer with over 14 million customers and one of Europe’s leading providers of life and general insurance, will continue to take a portfolio approach to its sponsorship activity, using key assets in rugby union and football.


  • Target sports: Rugby union and football
  • Target market: UK, Ireland, France
  • What’s important: Strengthening relationships with customers, brand awareness
  • Decision-making: All sponsorship decisions are taken by the business, not individuals

Last year, Aviva extended its original four-season partnership with Premiership Rugby, England’s top tier club rugby league, which will take the deal to the end of the 2016/17 Aviva Premiership Rugby season.

Louisa Cheetham, senior sponsorship and CR manager at Aviva, said the extension was testament to the fact that the sponsorship continues to work well for the business and deliver significant returns.

“It has been very successful in strengthening the relationships we have with our customers and, during an exciting period of growth and interest in the game, will be increasingly used as a key part of our brand and business development, “ she said.

Rugby has proven appeal to Aviva’s target audiences. England is hosting the 2015 Rugby World Cup, which will generate even greater interest around the game and help Aviva as a brand.

Aviva is also the main shirt sponsor of English Premier League football club Norwich City for four years from 2012-13 to 2015-16. The Aviva brand resulted from the merger of British insurance firms, Norwich Union and CGU, in 2000.

Aviva France is an official sponsor of Perpignon Rugby Club in the French Top 14 league. Aviva France is one of the country’s top 10 insurance businesses with 3 million customers.

In addition, Aviva is the naming rights partner to the Aviva Stadium in Dublin, Ireland, where international rugby union and football matches are played. Aviva Group Ireland signed the deal for a ten-year duration in 2009. Aviva is the largest general insurer in Ireland, with a more than 20-per-cent market share.

Aviva has used both its football and rugby assets to raise cash and awareness of Aviva’s charity partner, Railway Children, which deals with issues of children running away from home.

Aviva was the lead partner of UK Athletics for 13 years, from 1999 to 2012, which enabled the company to build awareness of the Aviva brand, Cheetham said.

Demographics and strategy

Given the products the company offers, the family is one of the brand’s most important demographics, said Cheetham. “Aviva always look to reflect the interests and passions of its customers in the sponsorship which it does, “ she said

Aviva uses a number of measures to evaluate its sponsorships, including brand awareness and media value.

Aviva is not currently thinking of adding to its portfolio of sponsorships, not is it currently exploring new geographical markets.

Aviva’s sponsorship activity meets specific business challenges. The business is currently focused on clear, simple financial metrics and the delivery of cashflow and growth.

“Our sponsorships and their activation are geared at ultimately helping the business to deliver these metrics,” said Cheetham.

The Aviva brand combines life insurance, general insurance and asset management businesses.

Aviva's strategic plan has three main objectives:

  • Narrow focus - Focus on fewer business segments where we believe we can produce attractive returns and with a high probability of success.
  • Build financial strength - Achieve target economic capital levels in line with our industry peers, reduce capital volatility, and bring leverage down to a conservative level.
  • Improve financial performance - Aim to deliver a higher level of revenue growth, a lower cost-income ratio, lower losses and claims and higher return on capital, notwithstanding the subdued economic environment in developed markets.