The European sponsorship industry has demonstrated the clearest signs yet of an imminent recovery, according to a continent-wide survey of senior industry leaders conducted by the European Sponsorship Association.
Wave six of the ESA Sponsorship Sentiment Tracker, conducted throughout November, has found that confidence across all parts of the industry has hit its highest level since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
When asked on a 10-point scale how confident they were in the future of the industry, respondents gave an average score of 6.7 out of 10, a significant increase on wave five’s 6.2/10 (conducted in September and October 2020).
The positivity score is notably higher than the previous peak of the Sentiment Tracker, 6.3/10, registered at the end of Europe’s first COVID-19 wave in July.
The Sponsorship Sentiment Tracker has been held monthly since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, surveying nearly 1,000 senior industry leaders across Europe in order to gauge the health and confidence of leading sponsorship organisations.
In a strong sign for the sponsorship industry, brands continue to be the most positive about the overall health of the sponsorship industry, with brand-side marketers giving an average confidence score of 7.3/10, up from 6.6 in wave five.
Rights holders also saw a solid increase, with confidence growing from 5.8 to 6.4, while agency confidence held steady at 6.4/10. In continental Europe, confidence rose two points to 6.3, while in the United Kingdom the increase was more pronounced, jumping from 6.2 to 6.8.
A further encouraging sign is that a significant majority of those surveyed acknowledged that sponsorship needs to evolve, and 55% of those surveyed said they were actively seeking to upskill themselves and their teams in order to match future challenges. 32% said they were looking to upskill personally and 10% said they would look to train their teams – with only 4% surveyed saying they had no plans to invest in training.
The top five ‘skills of the future’ identified by respondents were:
- Data and analytics
- Content marketing
ESA Chairman, Andy Westlake, said:
“The latest results from ESA’s Sponsorship Sentiment Tracker clearly demonstrate that the European sponsorship community feels more strongly than ever that there is a path to recovery out of COVID-19. The rapid pace of scientific advancements appears to show a light at the end of the tunnel, and this immensely positive development bodes well for so many in sport and entertainment who have endured a tough year.
Our members have spent 2020 developing creative ways of overcoming the challenges that sport and entertainment faces during COVID-19. Equally pleasing is that sponsors remain the most positive part of our industry, and the signs are that progressive brands will continue to invest in sponsorship.”
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