Confidence among the European sponsorship marketing community has risen sharply, new research from the European Sponsorship Association has found.
The eighth edition of the ESA Sponsorship Sentiment Tracker, conducted in February 2021, has registered a solid increase in positive sentiment about the future of the industry from all parts of the sponsorship sector.
According to the latest wave of ESA’s regular survey, confidence hit a new average high, reaching 6.8 out of 10.
This represents an increase of 0.5 points from wave seven of the Sentiment Tracker, released in early 2021.
The Sponsorship Sentiment Tracker has gauged the health and confidence of leading sponsorship organisations since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, attracting more than 1,200 responses from senior industry leaders across Europe.
Underpinning the increase in confidence, rights holders jumped from 6.0 to a record high of 7.1/10. Brand-side marketers (up 0.1 to 7.1/10) and agencies (also up 0.1 to 6.4/10) also saw slight increases in positivity.
Some 31% of rights holders have also reported an increase in interest from brands since 2020, with 22% reporting the same brand interest and just 14% saying they have seen a decline in sponsorship interest.
Similarly, 52% of agencies are expecting new business to increase in 2021, with 16% expecting new business to be at similar levels to 2020 and only 8% expecting a decrease.
When asked about their sponsorship budgets, 34% of brand marketers said they were planning on renewing their existing sponsorship deals and a further 22% had plans to widen their sponsorship portfolio. However, 28% also expect at least some of their deals to not be renewed.
ESA Chairman, Andy Westlake, said:
“The ESA Sponsorship Sentiment Tracker has always reflected not just the confidence of the sponsorship industry, but also the wider sentiment of the community, and we’re pleased to see that falling levels of community transmission and a major uplift in vaccinations has translated to new confidence in our sector.
It is a major positive to see that rights holders have started to report increasing levels of brand interest. Confidence among sponsors remained relatively high throughout a tough 2020 and we hope to see these levels of goodwill translate to an industry recovery, as major sporting and cultural events return in 2021.”