In the face of economic uncertainty sparked by fears over a no-deal Brexit, one in two sponsors in Ireland are planning to increase their spend on sponsorship this year, fuelling a market that is set to grow by 11 per cent to €226 million, the annual sponsorship industry survey conducted by the Onside sponsorship specialist agency indicates.
Contributing to an overall 70 per cent increase in spend on sponsorship over the past decade, last year saw the market grow by 14 points to €204m. Two in three sponsors upped their investment in 2018, underpinned by a marked surge in the numbers of sponsoring companies investing close to one in every four euros from their marketing budget.
John Trainor, founder and CEO of Onside, said that with 67 per cent of sponsors looking out for new opportunities, and only 40 per cent of existing assets potentially becoming available, 2019 will again see a competitive marketplace as sponsors jostle for a limited supply of strong assets. Hot sectors to watch in 2019 are travel and airline sectors.
Onside also expects banking, telcos and beer to be key drivers in increasing spend. Seven in 10 sponsors will be looking for a sports play, with properties in rugby seen as providing top growth opportunities for sponsors and GAA offering strongest potential in terms of value for money. After rugby and GAA, concerts and music festivals fared well.
The report shows that 57 per cent of industry practitioners interviewed felt that sponsorship campaigns in Ireland last year were “more effective” than previous years. Vodafone’s partnership with the IRFU was again voted by the industry as the best sponsorship in 2018, followed by Lidl/Ladies Gaelic Football and SoftCo/Ireland’s women’s hockey squad.
No doubt boosted by these successes, three in four sponsors believe women’s sport in general provides a major opportunity for sports sponsors in 2019 – up 14 per cent year on year. The 20 x 20 campaign, which aims to exponentially increase attendance, participation and coverage of women’s sport in Ireland by 2020 scored an 84 per cent recognition.
Rugby’s Johnny Sexton stands clear at the top of the most marketable personality list for 2019 and is joined by the public’s favourite, boxer Katie Taylor (above), and Ireland rugby head coach Joe Schmidt. Other 2019 stars likely to be considered for brand ambassador roles are rugby players Conor Murray, Rory Best, Peter O’Mahony and Jordan Larmour.
One in two sponsors see the Rugby World Cup 2019 in Japan as a sponsorship opportunity.