Sponsorship industry confidence dips, but rights holders and brands still positive

11 September 2020 | Commercial & Sponsorship
Sponsorship industry confidence dips, but rights holders and brands still positive
Confidence amongst sponsorship industry professionals has fallen slightly in the European Sponsorship Association’s continent-wide survey, but rights holders are feeling more confident than ever. Wave four of the ESA Sponsorship Sentiment Tracker, conducted throughout August, has found that overall confidence has dipped to an average of 6.1 out of 10, down from a peak of 6.3 in wave three (conducted in July).

The Sponsorship Sentiment Tracker has been held monthly since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, surveying more than 150 senior industry leaders in order to gauge the health and confidence of leading sponsorship organisations.

While confidence has fallen slightly in general, rights holders registered their highest-ever confidence score, which rose from 5.9 in wave three to 6.1 in wave four.

Rights holders are also divided on the economic impact of the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic, with 53% forecasting a decrease in income for 2021, 33% expecting it to stay steady and 14% predicting an increase.

For brands, confidence fell only slightly, from 6.7 to 6.6. Conversely, agencies saw a sizeable drop in their levels of positivity, from 6.3 down to 5.7. Despite this dropoff, more than a third of agencies are predicting a rise in new business next year, with 42% predicting a decrease in new business and 21% expecting it to stay the same.

Mainland Europe and the United Kingdom have also diverged, with confidence falling further in the continent, down from 6.2 to 6.0/10. The UK saw a slightly smaller drop, from 6.2 in wave three to 6.1 in wave four, still well above confidence levels seen in earlier surveys.

ESA Chairman, Andy Westlake, said:

"While the latest Sponsorship Sentiment Tracker results show that there is a long road to recovery ahead, there is still much to be positive about in the sponsorship community.

The fact that rights holders are more confident than at any other point since lockdown demonstrates that many of our members have continued to innovate in challenging circumstances and will emerge from this year in better shape. Necessity has certainly been the mother of invention. More than a third of agencies are forecasting an increase in new business in 2021, which is another great indication of an industry in recovery. These latest findings provide some encouraging signs for the sport and entertainment industry going forward.”

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