According to the results of the study Consequences of the covid-19 pandemic as an opportunity to adapt and develop sponsorships in sports , representatives of sponsorship brands estimate that sponsorship investments in 2020 will not be drastically reduced.
In the future, growth in the creation of its own content is expected, as well as greater consumption of digital content, and the use of new technologies is recognized as key to the evolution of sponsorships. Given the fewer sporting events in the near future, both sponsors and sporting property owners are planning changes to their communication strategy as an alternative measure. Both sides agree that more cooperation will be needed while recognizing the importance of sustainable development as a trend.
Sponsorship is one of the key pillars of sports financing, so research into the consequences of the covid-19 pandemic and its effects on the development of the sponsorship industry in Slovenia is of national importance. This is why the Covid-19 Pandemic Consequences study emerged as an opportunity to adapt and develop sponsorships in sport . Sport Media Focus, the organizer of the SPORTO conference, carried it out together with research partners from the Faculty of Sports of the University of Ljubljana, the Faculty of Economics of the University of Ljubljana, the Olympic Committee of Slovenia and the Marketing Association of Slovenia between 5 May and 19 June 2020. 23 companies, which represent a significant share of funds invested in Slovenian sports, and 22 major and marketing-active holders of sports property (clubs, associations, organizers of sports events).
The following is a brief summary of the key findings according to the four research topics.
Assessment of the current situation: 60% of sponsors do not plan to terminate any of the sponsorship agreements
Sponsors included in the sample estimate in 70% that the consequences of COVID-19 in 2020 will reduce the budget for sponsorships by less than 25%. 60% of sponsors do not plan to terminate any of the sponsorship agreements; rights owners are more pessimistic, with as many as 86% believing they will lose at least one sponsoring partner.
Assessment of changes and trends: own (digital) content
The view of trends in the sports sponsorship industry due to the consequences of the pandemic is similar among sponsors and holders of sports property. With a higher level of agreement, both expect growth in their own content creation (as many as 95% of sponsors who participated in the survey) and that the use of new technologies (as many as 85% of sports property owners who participated in the survey) will be crucial in the evolution of sponsorship. .
Given the projected smaller volume of events in the near future, both sponsors and sports property owners (94% of sports property owners who participated in the survey) plan to change their communication strategy as an alternative measure. Most sponsors do not plan to freeze marketing budgets until events return. Both sponsors (all who participated in the survey) and sports property owners agree that the covid-19 pandemic will result in increased demand and consumption of digital content by consumers.
Sponsorships: motives, activation of rights, performance
As the most important goal of sponsorship, both sponsors and rights holders assess the increase in the visibility and reputation of the sponsor brand, followed by the sustainable attitude and social responsibility of the company.
The assessment of the planned amount of funds invested in sponsorship activation indicates the development of the Slovenian sponsorship market; 23% of companies plan to activate even more funds than the value of the sponsorship investment.
The research also finds that the perception of sponsorship performance varies between sponsors and holders of sports property. Sponsors assess greater awareness of their products and brand affiliation as the most important element of success, while sports property owners emphasize the fulfillment of contractual obligations and the appearance of the sponsor in the media as the most important.
Wider social effects and the role of the state: the importance of sustainable development
Among the activities that will be most important in marketing communication for the benefit of society in the future, sponsors and holders of sports property include those that promote sustainable development and improved health.
Regarding the state as a stakeholder, sponsors see its active role in the sports-sponsorship industry mainly in investments in projects with wider social effects (sustainable development), and sports property holders see it primarily in tax relief for sponsors.
The research concludes that the consequences of the pandemic have brought new insights and even more focused visions in the field of sports sponsorships. Covid-19 does not look at what is happening in terms of negative effects on sponsorship, but as an incentive for even better integration – both sponsor brands and sports property owners have recognized that the best solution is stronger cooperation.
The results will be used to prepare a longer-term survey, which will monitor changes and adjustments of sponsorship in the Slovenian market over time.
The full research (in PDF document) can be downloaded at the link:
Consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic as an opportunity to adapt and develop sponsorships in sport