By Barry Janoff
January 15, 2016: The coming year will see a series of unique sports events with global impact, led by the Summer Olympics and Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, the NHL-led World Cup of Hockey in October and the NFL's historic Super Bowl 50 on Feb. 7.
Driven by these high-profile competitions, and supported by such factors as companies moving toward worldwide expansion and finding more opportunities to partner with rights' holders, global sponsorship spending is projected to grow 4.7% in 2016, and top a record $60 billion.
In North America, sponsorship spend is expected to increase by 4.5% over 2015, topping $22 million, according to marketing, research and consulting firm IEG, Chicago.
Also in North America, sponsorship growth should outpace other forms of marketing, with ad spending expected to grow just 2.6% and other marketing spending up 3.7%, per IEG.
If IEG's projected numbers hold true, worldwide sponsorship spending would grow faster than in any of the previous three years and would top $60.2 billion.
In North American sponsorship spending was $21.4 billion in 2015 and is expected to grow to $22.4 billion this year, per IEG.
Over the past year, several North American-based sports properties hit record highs in spending by marketing and sponsorship partners.
The NFL had sponsorship revenue in 2014 of $1.15 billion. Sponsorship spending on the NBA and its 30 teams hit $739 million last season, up from $679 million (8.9%) the previous year.
MLB sponsorship revenue in 2014 was $695 million and the NHL in 2014-15 reached $447 million, according to IEG.
Worldwide sponsorship revenue on motorsports topped $5.3 billion, golf hit $1.65 billion in 2014 and tennis was at $739 million, per IEG.
“More marketers, in particular major brands from China and India, are taking a page from the playbook of U.S., European and Japanese companies before them that used sponsorship to build regional and global brands,” Jim Andrews, IEG svp, said in a statement.
“At the same time, rights-holders continue to take advantage of digital media to open up sponsorship opportunities in markets around the world, regardless of where the property is based," said Andrews.
Around the world, sponsorship growth is projected to be on par with spending for ad, marketing and promotion, according to the IEG's 31st annual year-end industry review and forecast.
This year, global ad spend is seen increasing 4.5%, as are other forms of marketing such as public relations, direct marketing and promotions.
Among other observations from IEG, strong international and domestic spending by companies based in China, India, South Korea, Japan and other countries is expected to make Asia Pacific sponsorship spending the "fastest growing of any region" in 2016 at 5.7%.
In addition, Central and South America "should see strong growth" at 4.7%.
However, what IEG labels the "more mature" European market would experience the slowest growth, 3.9%, "despite a significant rebound from 2015’s 3.3 percent rate."
According to IEG, "In what has become a familiar story, the (North American) property types that receive the most dollars are expected to again grow at the fastest rates. "Sponsors (will) continue to invest marketing dollars in properties that can deliver customized benefits, integration with digital and social content, insights from audience data, and top-notch servicing."
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