European sponsorship valued at €29bn as sport hits record high in ESA Sponsorship Market Overview
Sport sponsorship sector measured at high mark of €20.69bn
Spain (14%) and UK (10%) named as fastest-growing markets
Sponsorship across Europe continued its post-pandemic recovery in 2022 as the sport sector achieved a record high, according to research from the European Sponsorship Association and Nielsen Sports.
The 2023 ESA Sponsorship Market Overview found that the total value of Europe’s sponsorship market increased by 4.3% over the past year from €27.85bn to €29.05bn. The total volume remained more than €1bn lower than 2018 and 2019 levels, with a record high of €30.69bn measured in 2019.
The Sponsorship Market Overview covers sport and non-sport, and both sectors enjoyed an increase in 2022 but sport went from surviving to thriving with a record high volume of €20.69bn compared with €19.80bn in 2021 and €20.26bn in 2019. The recovery of the non-sport sector was modest in comparison but still significant with a 3.85% gain from €8.05bn to €8.36bn.
Nielsen Sports, which has been delivering this annual report since 2008, concluded that the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions was the main contributor to the market growth across sport events, festivals and concerts. Sport also benefited from the staging of major events such as UEFA Women’s Euro 2022 and the Commonwealth Games, as well as spill-over from the Winter Olympics and FIFA World Cup.
The authors also noted that the rapid increase in crypto sponsorship had both a positive and negative impact on the industry, bringing a cash injection alongside a degree of volatility due to the instability of the sector. They also acknowledged the negative impact on all markets caused by Russia’s military occupation of Ukraine.
The Sponsorship Market Overview measures the top 10 markets in Europe, and it found that Spain (14%) and the United Kingdom (10%) were this year’s fastest growers. The report found that Spain had benefited from market stabilisation after the ban on betting sponsorship in 2021, with renewed commercial growth driven by FC Barcelona and Atletico Madrid, along with the emergence of female athletes as ambassadors. The continued growth of the Premier League was a major contributor to increases in UK sponsorship.
Samantha Lamberti, Managing Director International, Nielsen Sports, commented: “A look at the figures confirms 2021’s trend: the sponsorship market in Europe is growing for the second year in a row. Lifted restrictions and the increased adaptation of Web 3.0 technologies served as drivers of growth.”
Andy Westlake, ESA Chairman, added: “The continued recovery of the sponsorship industry is highlighted by Nielsen Sports’ latest Sponsorship Market Overview, which paints a picture of a dynamic and resilient sector.
“It’s remarkable how well sponsorship has bounced back after the devastating effects of the pandemic, and we all enjoyed the full resumption of in-person sporting and cultural events that contributed to the regrowth of the sector in 2022."
“To see the volume of the 2022 industry come close to matching pre-pandemic levels underlines the importance of sponsorship to companies across Europe that need to achieve tangible connection with their customers. Sport sponsorship reached record levels last year and I am sure 2023 will see a continued regrowth in non-sport sponsorship."
ESA members can click here to see the full report. This report was produced using Nielsen Sports Market Intelligence and is available exclusively to ESA members. The ESA Sponsorship Market Overview has been conducted annually since 2008.
“This good news comes in spite of some very profound challenges affecting business stability, not least Russia’s continued military occupation of Ukraine. The 2023 Sponsorship Market Overview also highlights the positive and negative impact of crypto sponsorship on our industry. It’s more important than ever that companies use reliable data to inform their sponsorship decision-making – and this vital annual analysis by Nielsen Sports leads the way in that category.”