SINGAPORE: Sports sponsorship and marketing look set to grow in Asia-Pacific with the market expected to be worth US$18bn in 2014, a leading industry practitioner has said, based on estimates from consultancy PwC.

Writing in Campaign Asia, Paul Fisher from information company Nielsen, said PwC expects the sector to record a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4.4%, which he said adds up "to a very lucrative, and growing, association between global and local brands and sport".

Brands are expected to spend two-thirds, or US$12bn, of this year's total spend on sports sponsorship with the remaining US$6bn spent by media owners on broadcast and digital rights for major sporting events.

Fisher, who is Nielsen's managing director of the Sports Industry Group for southeast Asia, North Asia and Pacific, also said sponsors and fans can look forward to a series of major sporting events in Australia next year, which will attract regional interest.

These include the 2015 AFC Asian Cup – the first time the football tournament will be hosted outside the continent of Asia – the Netball World Cup, as well as the Cricket World Cup, which Australia will co-host with New Zealand.

"The sports marketing and sponsorship industry looks set to grow in expenditure, investment and competitiveness to secure loyal audience following and brand advertising dollars," he predicted.

The challenges and opportunities of sports sponsorship in Asia formed the basis of the Sports Matters conference, which was held in Singapore in September last year and covered by Warc.

Greg Unsworth, the technology, media and telecommunications leader at PwC in Singapore, expressed optimism about the future of Asia's sports market, although he said the region had underperformed compared to others.

Referring to figures from 2012, he said: "We've got an average of about 5% across the globe, and the surprising trend that we got from the data is that the growth rate projected to 2015 is actually reasonably consistent and above North America and Europe."

"My sense is that we're going to see a fairly dramatic shift in this, and we will see the Asia growth rates starting to swell up," he told delegates.

Data sourced from Campaign Asia; additional content by Warc