As marketers look for ways to connect with their customers, companies in some sectors are moving back into sports sponsorship in a big way. In particular, the automotive and financial services industries are expected to invest more heavily in this area.
Currently, North America is the largest market for sports and commands 41% of total industry revenue. In the next 4 years, analysts believe the global market will be valued at $145.3 billion. Compound annual growth will be 3.7% through 2015. The North American market will fare better than average with a 4.0% growth rate.
While gate revenues comprise the largest source of revenue, 31.5%, for sports marketers, the fastest growing sector in North America will continue to be sponsorship which will experience a 6.1% CAGR. This growth rate would put global sponsorship at the following levels for the next 4 years:
- 2012 $39.173 billion
- 2013 $40.236 billion
- 2014 $45.559 billion
- 2015 $45.281 billion
While companies are investing more money in sponsorship, their activities and goals are changing. Historically, businesses aimed to maximize their visibility during sporting events. These days, sponsors want to forge stronger ties with their customers and ‘manage the perception’ of their company. And because more companies now have a global presence, especially in the banking and financial services sector, sports sponsorship is being used to ‘generate global recognition’. New types of businesses are also marking their mark in the sports sponsorship arena. For example, telecommunications concerns such as Vodafone in Australia and Megafon in Russia maintain a presence supporting domestic leagues. Worldwide, beer companies will also be opening their purse strings wider for sports sponsorships.
The sponsorship strategy is also being integrated with social media efforts. This move allows sports marketers to mine the data. As a result, they can target consumer segments, those who attend live events and those who watch via TV, with the right types of marketing platforms.
As sports marketers accept these sponsorship funds, they’ll also be developing better models to demonstrate the return on investment to their business partners.[Source: Outlook for the Global Sports Market. PriceWaterhouseCoopers. PWC.com. 2011. Web. 6 Jan. 2012]