Jan 12, 2011 at 04:04 PM
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Sponsorship's Nuclear Winter Comes to a Close?

Chicago-based sponsorship firm, IEG, reports that "the dawn of 2011 marks the sponsorship industry's return to full health." IEG's forecast predicts that sponsorship spending by North American sponsors will increase by 5.9 percent to $18.2 billion in 2011, while global sponsor spending should increase at the same rate it did in 2010--5.2 percent. If it holds true, this will bring worldwide spending to $48.7 billion.

That's welcome news! In 2009, sponsorship got caught up in the economic quagmire and reportedly contracted for the first time since the company has been tracking the industry.

"Based on the slightly accelerated pace of deal-making experienced in 2010 and our conversations with sponsors and properties about prospects for the coming year, we're confident the industry has rebounded from the historic low point of 2009," said IEG senior vice president and editorial director, Jim Andrews.

For comparison, WPP's GroupM (IEG's parent company) projects a 3.9 percent jump in 2011 for broader media spending, which it says rose only 2 percent in 2010.

Breaking down North American in 2011, IEG says that corporate spending on cause sponsorships grew at the highest rate of the six major property sectors in 2010--6.7 percent, while sports grew at only 3.4 percent, lagging from what it says was "little or no growth among some sports, including auto racing."

Outside of North America, Europe will remain the largest source of sponsorship spending followed by the Asia Pacific region and Central and South America. In the run-up to the FIFA World Cup and Olympic Games, IEG expects that Central and South America will be the fastest-growing source of sponsorship dollars outside of North America, with a growth forecast of 5.6 percent for 2011.