First results from new ESA research find that majority of sponsors are changing their approaches during lockdown but plan to honour contracts going forward.
Wednesday 29 April, 2020
The European Sponsorship Association has today launched the ESA Sponsorship Sentiment Tracker, a new regular industry survey gauging the health and confidence of leading sponsorship organisations across Europe and giving insights into the response of major sponsors.
More than 150 thought leaders and senior sponsorship professionals from across Europe took part in the survey, which will be repeated regularly to provide an up-to-date picture of the health of the sponsorship industry and the impact of COVID-19.
As the COVID-19 pandemic causes unprecedented disruption to the world of sport and entertainment, respondents are uncertain about the overall health of sponsorship, with an average confidence score of 5.5 out of 10; with brands being marginally more positive than rights holders.
The relative confidence expressed by sponsors is good news for the industry. With events cancelled or postponed and rights severely impacted, brands are taking a positive and pragmatic approach – just under three quarters of surveyed sponsors said they’re looking to extend sponsorship rights and around half are investigating additional assets to achieve their sponsorship goals.
The impact on the overall industry has already been drastic, with the ESA Sponsorship Sentiment Tracker finding that 43% of surveyed companies have furloughed employees, including two thirds of rights holders. Of those who have temporarily laid off staff, the average headcount reduction was around 40%-50% per business.
This is expected to translate to longer-term impacts on sports and entertainment, with three quarters of all respondents believing that some events and rights holders will disappear. Despite this, only 30% agree that COVID-19 will have a major long-term negative impact on sponsorship.
Just under a third of respondents have applied for government help, with a further 33% saying they plan to or may do. Respondents are also proactively planning for the future, with 67% saying they are working on several different business strategies depending on the length of the lockdown.
There is also widespread belief that the sponsorship industry can adapt to changing consumer behaviour caused by the lockdown. More than half of responses predict a higher appetite for live events in the long-term, while 81% expect to see the widespread adoption of flexible working and 70% anticipate greater consumption of digital content.
ESA Chairman, Andy Westlake, said:
“While we know that the European sponsorship community has been hit hard by the Coronavirus pandemic, the results of the ESA Sponsorship Sentiment Tracker show that there is reason to be positive about the future of the industry.
“Our research shows that more than 70% of sponsors plan to extend or adapt their current deals. I have a strong belief that those brands that continue to support sports and entertainment will undoubtedly reap long-term rewards. There are certainly challenges ahead but we work in an industry that thrives on innovation and I remain positive, once live events return, that our industry will be ready to recover quickly”.
The ESA Sponsorship Sentiment Tracker will continue to be surveyed on a regular basis in the coming months. To take part, please get in touch: email@example.com.
For media queries, please contact:
Marketing Communications and Events Manager – ESA
Phone: +44 (0)20 8390 3311