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Sponsorship growth slows

News, 01 February 2017
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NEW YORK: The North American sponsorship market – the largest in the world – is expected to grow more slowly than the global market in the coming year, at 4.1% compared to 4.5%.

The latest review of the industry by IEG, the WPP-owned consultant in this area, put global spending in 2016 at $60.1bn, rising to $62.8bn in 2017. The North American market, some 37% of that total, is forecast to increase from $22.3bn to $23.2bn.

Sports constitutes by far the largest part of the sponsorship market in North America, accounting for 70% of total spending. A long way behind are entertainment (10%) and causes (9%).

Arts (4%), festivals, fairs and annual events (4%) and associations and membership organizations (3%) make up the remainder.

IEG noted that there several factors that had the potential to affect its projections, including economic uncertainties arising from the Brexit vote and Donald Trump's election.

Another was "the lingering gap between sponsor expectations and properties' ability to deliver when it comes to both personalized marketing opportunities based on audience data, and valuable digital content and platforms".

ARF research presented at last year's Re!think conference sought to close at least part of that gap and provide a measurement for the value of in-stadium advertising and team sponsorship.

The study analysed mobile device location data collected from all Major League Baseball (MLB) stadia during the 2015 season and the online browsing behavior associated with those devices in order to quantify the engagement rates of in-stadium audiences.

It found that brand affinity scores were higher among the MLB fan bases exposed to a sponsorship and generally increased as the season went on.

The methodology could be exported to all sporting venues, the study added, and "could be used to challenge or validate assumptions about which sport's fan base has the best prospective customers for a given brand".

Data sourced from IEG; additional content by Warc staff

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