Sport sets the pace for sponsorship deals

Sport is regaining its dominance in the sponsorship market, accounting for 78% of the 1,400 global sponsorship deals struck in 2004, according to a new report.

Last year’s performance saw sports sponsorship gain ground on 2003, when it comprised 75% of the global total, according to the May edition of Adstats.

The report, published by WARC, says that the UK now comes only second to the US in terms of ‘big deals’, accounting for nine of the reported top 50 global sponsorship deals of 2004.

The heaviest spend came from recent deals for the 2006 Fifa World Cup, the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games and Formula One. Of the UK deals, the biggest by far was Emirates Airlines’ 15-year naming rights deal with Arsenal Football Club’s new Ashburton Grove stadium at a reported £102m.

Football continued to produce the most lucrative deals – Newcastle United in a £23m, five-year renewal deal with Northern Rock, and the Football League in a £6m three-year deal with Coca Cola.

This year will see a lull in the volume of sports sponsorship activity, with the Turin 2006 Winter Olympic Games and the Fifa World Cup in Germany only a year away.

Despite this, 2005 will see a projected spend growth of 9%, to create a total sponsorship market value of £18.7bn by the close of this year, the report predicts.

“Increasingly, brands are acknowledging that traditional advertising is not the sole way of building a national, regional or global footprint”, concludes Adstats.

Following way behind sport in the global sponsorship market were the arts and broadcast genres, with 9% and 8% market share respectively. The outstanding 5% was shared by charities and cause-related sponsorships.

All figures are based on a report by the World Sponsorship Monitor.

By Lucia Cockcroft

May 19 ¦ UK ad spend to rise

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