JUNE / JULY 2022

We take a look at the sponsorship industry after a few uncertain years during the pandemic

Postponements and cancellations have been the name of the game in the past few years as the coronavirus has wreaked havoc on live events in the sports, arts, entertainment and MICE (meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions) industries. However, the industry appears to be making a comeback and here we take a closer look at the industry - from the good to the bad and the uncertain.

According to a new report by stateofsponsorship.com, there are many reasons to be bullish about the state of sponsorship. Investment into cryptocurrencies, the emergence of hobbies as professional sport businesses, the introduction of NFTs and new content offerings have all provided opportunities for sponsorship that have the promise to significantly alter the industry.

Based on surveys from 217 sponsorship professionals from over 200 organisations in 15 counties and 1,771 consumers from 14 countries, the report offers insight into the differences and commonalities of different countries and sectors.

The good

There is overall agreement that sponsorship works, it’s here to stay and there are plenty of growth opportunities on the horizon. Five topics are identified as drivers of growth: the resilience of the industry after Covid-19; an abundance of deals and opportunities; the emergence of technological improvements and new formats; the emergence of new brands and categories; and an abundance of money.

Another positive finding in the report is the general alignment between consumers and industry professionals regarding the benefits of sponsorship. For example, industry professionals see brand awareness and purchase conversion as some of the main benefits, while consumers think sponsorship helps increase their awareness of the brand as well as increase their consideration of purchasing, using or visiting the brand.

One of the main topics of discussion when it comes to sponsorship these days is the impact of technology on sponsorship. According to the survey, 65 percent of industry professionals agree that the industry is embracing innovation and technology, with evolution in content delivery, NFTs and augmented reality identified as the top technologies creating waves within the industry. In addition, consumers are actively participating and / or interested in the innovation coming to the sponsorship world.

In terms of brands and properties leading the way in innovation, Nike is the undisputed number one for both industry professionals and consumers with Adidas and Red Bull also mentioned. In terms of properties, industry professionals tend to mention the NFL and NBA as the most innovative, while consumers tend to call out sport categories as opposed to specific properties with soccer/football taking the lead.

The bad

There’s concern over the amount of clutter in sponsorship and in measuring attribution and return on investment. According to the report, these concerns are widespread and may be contributing factors to an overarching lack of transparency felt by industry professionals that headlines this section.

Fifty-nine percent agree that sponsorship lacks transparency. When it comes to challenges in the industry, 69 percent see the difficulty of internally demonstrating the value of sponsorship versus other types of marketing spends as one of the major challenges, closely followed by measuring attribution and impact. A third commonly identified challenge is understanding and valuing an asset. Similarly, properties face the same challenge of delivering and demonstrating value to partners.

Sports is largely considered best-in-class in delivering awareness and ROI, but struggles significantly on whitespace/clutter, with 72 percent agreeing that sport sponsorship is becoming increasingly difficult to navigate.

The unknown

Looking ahead, 77 percent of industry professionals believe that the sponsorship industry is yet to reach its peak, with 42 percent saying they think the industry is nowhere near its peak yet. Forty-three percent feel the industry is undergoing an evolution with mixed undertones of optimism and concern.

When it comes to momentum, there is a disconnect between what professionals see as having the strongest momentum and what consumers want to see sponsors getting more involved in. While industry professionals believe athletes and personalities have the strongest momentum, consumers would like to see more sponsorship going into causes and charities.

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: info@paulpoole.co.th