MAY 2020

Sponsorship in the time of COVID-19

As events are being cancelled and postponed due to the effects of COVID-19, rights holders and brands are faced with unprecedented challenges and questions about how best to manage the situation. The Sponsorship Experts offer their views.

Over the last couple of months, we have worked with clients, sponsors and partners, helping them make a decision on what to do with their rights packaging and what ‘bounce back’ activities to undertake. Every client, sponsor and partner is different but there are a few principles and notions that, in our opinion, are worth taking into account during this time.

  • It is easy – and in some cases mandatory – to postpone an event, however, we believe that rights holders that go ‘against the tide’ will be long-term winners. What that looks like will depend on each individual case but now is the time to get creative and test new formats, setups and distribution channels.
  • The COVID-19 pandemic has created a buyer’s market for sponsorship rights – brands are looking for deals and are incentivised to be creative.
  • There is huge value in the market for brands brave enough to commit budget rather than wait until a return to normality.
  • There is a clear opportunity for brands not just to be seen as supporting rights holders who are affected financially by prolonged disruption to the calendar, but to be the brand that was there in times of uncertainty. This is a unique opportunity to strengthen relationships and increase brand loyalty.

In addition, we have also been digesting a number of white papers and briefings on how to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic from a marketing and sponsorship perspective. Our friends at BBH have developed a useful white paper sharing instructive examples and data to guide marketing discussions, specifically how marketing can help, how teams can be mobilised in the coming months and how to position your brand to emerge well on the other side. To read the full briefing, please see

We also found the briefing from goat very useful. It outlines some of the ways in which communication, creation, learning and consumption are changing, and how brands and rights holders might best adapt and maximise a new increasingly digital world. To see the full picture, please see

There is no doubt that these are challenging times which could very well have a lasting impact on the sponsorship industry. However, it is the actors who are arming themselves with the best-available data and making tangible plans on how to move forward in an uncertain environment that are most likely to come out on the other side best prepared to navigate this new reality. That means finding the bridge between your products and services and new needs and mindsets: sell to help – not to move product. Stay active – a lot of marketing activity does not require physical proximity; you can still make powerful marketing happen.

Please do not hesitate to get in touch about how to navigate our new environment. We also encourage you to take a look at our opportunities, please see, products, please see and services, please see and to see if any of them align with your plans or if we can be of service or help you and/or your teams in anyway whatsoever – we will get through this together by being kind, keeping healthy and staying connected virtually!

Paul Poole (South East Asia) Co., Ltd. is an independent marketing consultancy based in Bangkok, Thailand specialising in commercial sponsorship and partnership marketing, working with both rights holders and brands - acting as a catalyst by bringing them together and maximising the relationship.

We have packaged, sold and managed sponsorship and partnership opportunities for a wide range of rights holders and worked with many of the world’s leading brands to source and engage the right sponsorships and partnerships for them to maximise.

Please contact us for more information: Tel./Fax: +66 2622 0605 – 7 Email: