With the UEFA Euro 2016 and the Olympic Games in Brazil set to take place this year, the Irish sponsorship market can expect to grow by around 5% to €158m according to the latest annual ONSIDE Sponsorship Industry Survey.
The expected 5% growth is on the back of a 10% growth in 2015 according to ONSIDE’s CEO John Trainor.
“2015 was an extraordinary year of growth, with major deals including Dubai Duty Free Irish Open and AIB’s GAA Football Championships coming into play, and broadcast sponsorships like Land Rover’s coverage of the Rugby World Cup on TV3 injecting fresh impetus into the market,” says Trainor who points out that the sponsorship market was worth around €150m last year,” says Trainor.
He adds that the sponsorship outlook for 2016 points to continued growth influenced by major events like the UEFA EUROs and the Olympics Games in Rio, the growing popularity of golf as it returns to the K-Club and as a sport in the Olympics as well as the wider economic recovery that is stimulating greater leisure consumption amongst the Irish public. Major new events such as the Aer Lingus American College Football Classic and emerging music festivals are all set to create incremental investment in sponsorship rights by brands in the market this year.
According to the ONSIDE research, sponsors are more intent than at any other time this decade on increasing their spend on sponsorship in the year ahead, with 46% planning to invest more this year on the tool, albeit individual increases may not be at the same levels as witnessed in 2015.
“Airline, energy and telecommunications have replaced banking as the ones to watch in terms of hot sectors for heightened sponsorship spend in 2016, while sponsorship platforms that topped the list, both in terms of expected growth potential and investment value, included GAA, rugby, and community events,” notes the report. “Soccer showed most significant growth in terms of a strong opportunity space, while Mixed Martial Arts joined the ONSIDE Top 10 areas of opportunity for the first time in 2016 – at the same level as the Arts. Venue Naming Rights ranked 4th in terms of perceived opportunity for sponsors in the coming year, with 1 in 3 Irish rights holders currently exploring the options around selling naming rights sponsorship to their venues.”
In terms of the sponsorship potential afforded by landmark events in 2016, ONSIDE notes that 8 in 10 Irish sponsors see UEFA Euros as an opportunity to engage with their consumers, compared with 2 in 3 who saw the Rugby World Cup 2015 in this light last year and 45% that see the 2016 Olympics as a business opportunity for them this summer.
As word of adidas ending its IAAF sponsorship deal four years early, John Trainor also says that 2016 will lead to an “escalation in the debate around political and ethical matters relating to sponsorship both globally and locally. The nature of the decision not just to waive the right to renew post the end of the contract term in 2019 but to actually terminate ahead of the Olympics this summer is a major new stand by a sponsor.”