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Consumers think auto, tech and telco brands are the most appropriate sponsors of professional sports clubs, leagues and athletes, according to a survey across 17 markets by YouGov.

More than a third of consumers said automakers (36%) are appropriate sport sponsors, with tech (34%) and telecommunication (34%) brands following close behind. Successful examples include auto brand ŠKODA, tech brand Samsung and telco brand Vodafone.

Banks and insurance brands (31%) and tourism destinations or travel brands (31%) are also viewed as appropriate. Pharmaceutical companies, however, place lower (17%).

Despite gambling's often close relationship with sports, only 12% of consumers say it is an appropriate sponsor of professional sports. There is variation though – just 7% of Brits, Italians and Singaporeans think it is appropriate for gambling brands to engage in sports sponsorship, while this rises to 20% for consumers in France and urban Mexico.

As well as this, cryptocurrencies have recently emerged as a key sports sponsor, though only 10% think they make for appropriate partners. This drops to 6% for Brits and Germans, equals 11% with Americans and rises to 22% among urban Indians.

Sports sponsorship is attractive to many advertisers as it offers an opportunity to reach large and engaged audiences. While the pandemic caused widespread disruption to sport events, new performance-driven models for sponsorship have since emerged. Additional research shows shirt sponsorship delivers the highest level of awareness.

Tapping into related channels, for example esports and short-form content, is also becoming more common.