The Irish sports sponsorship industry had a blazing start to the year with record deal volumes recorded but a new ONSIDE survey of sports industry executives released this week has uncovered a mix of challenges to maintaining this momentum in the second half of 2022.
The fifth wave of the ONSIDE Sports Industry Monitor of Sport for Business industry members shows a 5% decline in the levels of optimism around the sponsorship industry and a sharp 33% drop in sentiment toward the wider economy in which the sports business sector operates.
On a practical level, the ability to recruit staff is a key concern for 57% of executives while 43% are having difficulty getting the working from home and office mix right. At the same time 47% of executives are facing budget constraints and 35% are having difficulties engaging in new sponsorship opportunity discussions.
“The start of 2022 was hugely positive for sport and sponsorship with deals up 58% year-on-year and it is very difficult to sustain that rate of growth,” explained ONSIDE Chief Executive, John Trainor.
“As well as the practical factors of adjusting to the changes that have resulted from the pandemic, we are also starting to see the implications of high demand for premium properties. Our research found 4 in 10 industry stakeholders agreeing that increased demand over supply of attractive sports sponsorships is a growing issue for the industry. Over a third agree that the price of sponsorship is growing at levels that are a watch-out for the market.”
Rugby, Olympics and GAA are seen as the three strongest sports property categories in terms of their attractiveness to sponsors, narrowly ahead of soccer.
The Paralympics and golf have enjoyed the most significant positive perception change over the past six months. Golf and Rowing stood out in the data as most attractive Olympic sports for sponsors in Ireland, with 7 in 10 surveyed seeing rowing as an attractive platform to sponsor and 84% in the case of golf.
Women’s sport continues to be seen as the stand-out opportunity for new investment with two-thirds of the industry strongly agreeing that their organisation would be interested in supporting and advancing women’s sport in the next 1-2 years.
“Data from this latest ONSIDE Sports Industry Monitor shows that the momentum around women’s sport continues to grow,” said Sport for Business CEO, Rob Hartnett.
“It is also interesting to see the sports in which Ireland enjoyed Olympic success in Tokyo such as rowing, hockey and boxing maintaining high levels of commercial interest as attention turns to Paris 2024.”
Meanwhile, growth in Web3, the metaverse, cryptocurrencies and the blockchain all featured prominently in industry predictions at the start of 2022, but adoption levels in the Irish sports industry remain low.
While 23% of organisations are developing plans to introduce NFTs into their sports strategies in the next 12 months, only 9% plan to incorporate fan tokens or the metaverse and 8% some form of cryptocurrency or blockchain initiative.
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Jon Long | Managing Director, UK & Middle East, ONSIDE | email@example.com
ONSIDE is a pioneering international consultancy committed to providing our clients with exceptional intelligence.
With decades of expertise in sponsorship, research and insight services across Europe, the Middle East and North America, we deliver on Strategy, Intelligence, Deals and Evaluation.
For over 15 years we have led the industry in Ireland, influencing over €50 million of annual spending across sport, entertainment, culture and social causes.
From 2021 we began to expand our international footprint. Foundation projects included helping the world’s leading snooker player secure a landmark sponsorship deal, supporting the pre-launch of London’s most exciting new entertainment venue and enabling the West Indies Cricket Board and USA Cricket to secure hosting rights of the men’s ICC T20 World Cup in 2024.
From complete new strategies, to supporting inspired activation and breakthrough evaluation models, we deliver evidence-backed advice and highly advantageous business and brand outcomes. That’s why the world’s biggest and best Sponsors and Rights Holders trust us to help them grow.