The ESA Sponsorship Sentiment Tracker (SST) has revealed that confidence in the health of the industry is at its highest level since the COVID-19 pandemic, peaking at 7.5 out of 10 in Wave 15 (see below). But the survey also revealed extensive concerns about the cost-of-living crisis.
The SST is based on a survey of sponsorship professionals across Europe and the latest results tell a positive story about how the industry has bounced back from the pandemic, with brand confidence (7.9) higher than at any time since March 2020.
At the same time, this positivity could be short-lived as almost half of brands (48%) admitted they were very concerned about how the increase in the cost of living will affect their business.
With the full effects of the crisis expected to be felt in the winter months, the ripples are already being felt in sponsorship circles, with almost two-thirds of respondents (62%) saying they were making plans and preparing for the impact this will have on their business.
In fact, more than three-quarters of brands (76%) said they were already preparing for the impact, compared with less than half of rights holders (48%) and 61% of agencies surveyed.
While these results indicate that the community could be in for a challenging winter season, confidence in the overall health of the industry appears to be intact – and the feeling of optimism is not confined to brands. Rights holder confidence also rose 0.2 points from 7.5 to 7.7, while agency confidence went in the other direction (from 7.5 to 7.3).
The European Sponsorship Association has been tracking the sentiment among professionals in the industry for two and a half years, since Europe first went into lockdown to limit the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.
ESA Chairman, Andy Westlake, said: “After a break in measurement during the spring and summer of 2022, this felt like the perfect time to gauge the health and confidence of the European sponsorship community.
“The results are interesting on many levels. Clearly the relaxation of COVID-19 measures in the past six or seven months has contributed to a bounce in positivity, with sport and major cultural events returning and bringing back a feelgood factor.
“At the same time, we are now staring down the barrel of another crisis that will affect all businesses and individuals across the sector. With energy bills set to soar over the winter, it is hard to predict the consequences this will have for sponsorship, but it seems telling that the majority of sponsors and agencies have already been planning to mitigate against the impact.”
Click here to see previous sets of results.
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