Value of Olympic Sponsorship Questioned
The value of Olympic sponsorship was questioned at European Sponsorship Association’s annual European conference, Future Sponsorship, in London last week. Over 200 leading figures from all areas of the sponsorship industry took part in a survey which asked the question – Are domestic Olympic packages (LOCOG) good value for money? A staggering 79% said "NO." The Tier One Olympic Sponsorship Program did not fare much better with 66% of delegates believing that the IOC’s TOP sponsorship program did not represent good value for money.
LOCOG disagrees with this suggestion. LOCOG has raised nearly £600 million in domestic sponsorship in the last two and a half years, and today announced its 25th sponsor of London 2012 with GlaxoSmithKline.
The over-riding message from several of the speakers including rights holders, major sponsors, agencies, accountants and lawyers was the need in the current climate to deliver measurable returns on sponsorship investments. Indeed, one major global sponsor revealed that as little as 25% of the measurable value of their sponsorships now come through what used to be considered sponsorship’s main asset – media exposure and brand awareness.
As if to reinforce the results of the survey, there was a call for “sponsorship” to be reclassified and even renamed to more accurately reflect the marketing role which sponsorship is now so effectively delivering for thousands of companies and brands. American sponsorship industry guru, Lesa Ukman issued a stark warning to the sponsorship industry across Europe when she revealed that in the US, any of the financial services companies that received financial help from the government were no longer allowed to undertake sponsorship programs.
The European Sponsorship Association’s Chairman, Karen Earl was quick to pick up on Ukman’s comments, “What we heard about the American market and the new restrictions imposed on the financial institutions is extremely worrying and shows that there is still a massive lack of understanding of the potential of sponsorship as a marketing discipline. It is still seen by many as having philanthropic connotations and at a corporate level providing opportunities for excess and waste. The Sponsorship industry is now worth in excess of 8 billion Euros across Europe and for the leading companies and brands it is an absolutely vital component of their overall marketing plans”.