March 27 – The European sponsorship market grew by 4.3% in 2022 to €29 billion with sport making up €20.69 billion of the total, according to research from the European Sponsorship Association and Nielsen Sports.
The 2022 sports sponsorship figure marked a new high for the sports sector – the €20.69bn compared with €19.80 billion in 2021 and €20.26 billion in 2019.
While sport was breaking sponsorship revenue records, overall sponsorship in Europe was still €1 billion lower than 2018 and 2019 levels, with a record high of €30.69bn measured in 2019.
The boost in sports sponsorship was attributed to the lifting of covid restrictions across the continent with fans returning to stadia and major events like the Women’s Euro 2022 exciting the market, as well as spill-over from the Qatar 2022 World Cup.
Samantha Lamberti, Managing Director International, Nielsen Sports, who have produced the report annually since 2008, said: “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.”
The report highlights the rapid increase in crypto sponsorship which 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”. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine was also seen as having a negative impact.
The report measures the top 10 markets in Europe and highlighted Spain (14%) and the UK(10%) as this year’s fastest growth markets. Interestingly the report nots 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. The Premier League was the driver of sponsorship growth in the UK.
Andy Westlake, ESA Chairman, said: “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.”
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