December 19, 2019

Sports sponsorship deals are hitting all-time highs. This is why you should join.

As we spend more and more of our leisure time on sports, global sports sponsorship spend is predicted to reach €59 billion in 2019.


According to new data analysis by Two Circles, the average time spent participating in and consuming sport has grown by 22% over the last 10 years – almost doubling the rate of overall leisure time growth (12%). The number of hours spent by the average person playing, watching and following sport globally reaches 1 hour 46 minutes per week in 2019. This is compared to 1 hour 26 minutes a week 10 years ago, representing an average growth rate of 1.8% year-on-year, or 22% across the decade.

For the first time, it shows that as technology and growing disposable income drives an increase in the amount of time dedicated to recreational activities, we as a population are actually turning to sport over other pastimes. This is due to a greater emphasis being placed on health and fitness, greater supply and variety of sports media, and growing cultural relevance of sports.

The successes of the major US leagues’ international expansion strategies; the Premier League’s continued global viewership growth; and the exponential growth of women’s sport, seen with FIFA Women’s World Cup – a tournament that has broken ticketing and broadcast viewership records – are just three prominent examples of sport’s continued penetration into everyday global life.

Two Circle report also projects that sport will become an even greater part of the global leisure economy, predicting the growth in time spent participating and consuming sport will increase by 34% in the next decade (2019 to 2029) – continuing to outstrip the growth in overall leisure time.


However, despite all of the marvellous statistics mentioned above, sports rights-holders miss out on a yearly amount of €24 billion in unrealised revenue due to unsold inventory, unreported engagement and outdated asset-packaging.

Despite sports sponsorship spend growing by 4% on average since 2014, rights-holders have under-exploited their sponsorship businesses. Most sports rights-holders continue to package and sell sponsorship just as they did 20 or more years ago, offering good old brand exposure through broadcast coverage as the main benefit for the sponsor brand. However, globally, we spend more time consuming entertainment on digital platforms. Thus, there is a consistent disparity between what brands need and try to reach and what digital assets rights-holder are able to offer in their sponsorship packages, to actually fulfil those goals.

On the bright side, more sport organisations are starting to package digital assets into sponsorship propositions and reports predict that spend on sponsorship will increase by 6% on average per year between 2020 and 2024, as rights-holders are adapting to this new digital-based world.

A major step in sports sponsorship is just around the corner. Little by little organisations start to embrace the power of digital data and create sponsorship assets that can successfully satisfy sponsorship objectives outlined by their partnership agreements. Rights-holders are realising the true value of their sponsorship businesses. All this will stimulate greater spend in sport sponsorship from businesses across all sectors, not just the traditional ones such as financial services, automotive, airlines and gambling.

It is really about time we rediscovered sport sponsorships. Get on!

#sports #sponsorship #growth #digital

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