Sponsorship: Through Passion to Attention

04.12.2015 Blog

“By experiencing their passion for the sports they love, Heineken can be a part of consumers conversations. If we are part of that then we gain strong awareness and loyalty to the brand.”Tim Ellerton, Global Sponsorship Manager Heineken

Last week Kuznech visited Russian Sponsorship Forum, the first business event in Russia about sponsorship. One of the most important speakers at the event was the incomparable William Fenton, a co-founder of Find!Sposnorship, Board Director of European Sponsorship Association (ESA) and co-author of The Sponsorship Handbook. In this blog post we summarized the points Mr. Fenton made in his presentation “Sponsorship Market in Europe”.

Use Technology to Get Closer to Your Audience

“The days of high demand and limited supply are over… It’s a new game now. A game where the limited supply is attention.”Seth Godin

20 years ago, the Internet provided a revolutionary new way to communicate with and provide information to your audiences. Today, the technology enables a seismic shift that allows rightsholders and brands to go beyond mere communication. In the digital world, everyone can create content and distribute it (over social networks, blogs etc.) directly. Eliminating intermediaries and taking control over media and channels opens startling possibilities to entertain, educate, interact and more.


According to Wall Street Journal Procter&Gamble, the biggest advertiser in the U.S., cut its traditional advertising budget by 14% in 2014. P&G has been working to improve its marketing efficiency by investing more in digital media. Chief Financial Officer Jon Moeller recently said that 30% of P&G’s working media is now digital: “We continue to drive marketing productivity through an optimized mix, driven by new, more efficient digital media. We have quietly strengthened and invested in all of our digital capabilities, including mobile, search and social, with a wide range of partners”.

Relative to advertising and media, the growth rate for sponsorship spending holds its own versus other forms of marketing in North America. According to the worldwide media and marketing forecast produced by IEG parent company GroupM, North American ad spending will grow 3.8% in 2015. The rise will be driven by double-digit increases in digital spending, which should offset nominal growth for TV and out-of-home, and declines in radio and print advertising.

So, marketers focus on digital marketing activity, and the emphasis won’t wane in 2015.

Sponsorship’s USP: Engage the Heart of Your Consumer

Supporting values, emotions and passion, sponsorship can perform different tasks: act as campaign driver, campaign supporter, brand platform, business tool, conversation tool, PR tool and advertising tool. While advertising generates awareness, PR informs and influences, sales promotion stimulates interest and desire to try your product/service, sponsorship reaches the parts other media cannon reach. Which ones? It engages the heart of the consumer.


Sposnorship Global: Facts and Numbers

“We don’t want to be a sponsor, we want to be an enabler”Björn Wäspe, Global Head of Sponsorship UBS

In 2008, the global sponsorship spending amounted to 43.1 billion US dollars, up from 37.9 billion a year earlier. Sponsorship has slowly been increasing yearly and is projected increase to 57.5 billion US dollars in 2015. The majority of the global sponsorship spending came from North America, totaling 20.6 billion US dollars, followed by Europe with 14.8 billion US dollars and the Asia Pacific with 13.3 billion US dollars. North America has had the highest growth of global sponsorship spending since 2010, increasing by 4.2 billion US dollars over the course of five years, while Central/South America only had a growth of 0.7 billion US dollars from 2010 to 2015. Out of the 3 major regions, North America, Europe and the Asia Pacific, Europe had the lowest growth, increasing by only 2.4 billion US dollars over five years. This is how the global sponsorship spending since 2007 to 2015 (in billion US dollars) looks like:


IEG’s 30-th annual year-end industry review and forecast shows continued steady growth in sponsorship spending. Spending by North American companies is projected to rise 4% in 2015 to $21.4 billion. Growth in 2014 was 4.2%, just below the 4.3% IEG forecast a year ago. Globally, 2015 sponsorship spending is forecast to rise 4.1% to $57.5 billion, matching 2014’s growth rate.

Share of reported sponsorship deals (global) by category and number in 2014:

Sports: 84%
Arts&Culture: 7%
Naming rights: 4%
Broadcast: 3%
Other: 2%

Number of deals shared by type of sponsorship in 2014:

Team sponsor: 44%
Event sponsor: 38%
Personality sponsor: 11%
Organization sponsor: 8%

Top 10 sponsored sports 2014 (in number of reported deals):

Soccer: 342
Rugby union: 73
Golf: 61
Venues: 51
Tennis: 44
Formula 1: 42
Cricket: 33
Basketball: 32
Cycling: 26
Sailing/Yachting: 26

Top 10 sponsoring industries 2014 (in number of reported deals):

Cars/Automotive: 136
Clothing – Sports: 92
Financial Services – Banking: 74
Gambling/Lottery: 63
Watches/Timing: 57
Financial Services – Insurance: 52
Telecommunications: 44
Airlines: 43
Retail.Stores: 41
Financial Services – Other: 39

The Key Trend Is: Put Audience Engagement at the Heart of Everything

“Not many people have a bad opinion of Nissan, but most are quite indifferent. If you ask people ‘Do you know Nissan?’ 98% will tell you yes, but when you ask them more specifically about the brand or what it stands for, they struggle. By using the Champions League’s massive platform we can explain what innovation and excitement mean as part of the Nissan brand.”Bastien Schupp, Vice President, Marketing, Nissan Europe


In the new marketing environment the goal for rightsholders is about positioning their commercial partnership opportunities within the new digital ecosystem. To do this successfully, properties must recommit to the fundamental idea at the heart of sponsorship: Be the best at delivering the audience your corporate partners seek. That begins with the ability to collect, analyze and apply audience data in order to offer true understanding and insights. Rightsholders must then work with partners on creating value for fans, viewers, participants, members, etc. The end result, often achieved through digital and social means: partners that are relevant to and meaningfully engaged with audiences.

You Can’t Manage What You Don’t Measure

In return, we’d like to add that the analysis of social media buzz, interactions and sentiment, tracking brand metrics and awareness is a crucial part of sponsorship measurement. We at Kuznech provide properties and brands best-in-class sponsorship measurement solutions. Our Brand Logo Detection system precisely analyzes brand presence in images and videos of sponsorship events, taking the guesswork out of “big data” and helping you act on our findings.