TUESDAY 22 DEC 2020 11:04 AM


The European sponsorship industry has shown clear signs of an imminent recovery, according to a continent-wide survey of senior industry leaders conducted by the European Sponsorship Association. The latest ESA Sponsorship Sentiment Tracker, conducted throughout November, found that confidence across all part of the industry has hit its highest level since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Answering the question of how confident they were in the future of the industry, respondents gave an average score of 6.7 out of if 10, a significant increase from 6.2/10 of the last tracker conducted in September and October 2020.

The positivity score is also notably higher than the previous peak of the tracker, with 6.3/10 registered at the end of Europe’s first Covid-19 wave in July. In a strong sign for the sponsorship industry, brands continue to be the most positive about the overall health of the sector, with brand-side marketers giving an average confidence score of 7.3/10.

“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 face during Covid-19. Equally pleasing is that sponsors remain the most positive part of our industry,” says Andy Westlake, ESA chairman.

Right holders also saw a solid increase in confidence levels, with confidence rising two points in Europe and even more in the UK. Another encouraging sign highlighted in the tracker is that the majority of those surveyed acknowledged that sponsorship needs to evolve and more than half admit that they were seeking to upskill themselves and their teams in order to match future challenges. The top five skills of the future include data and analytics, innovation, measurement, content marketing and creativity.

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.