Value of Olympic Sponsorship questioned at Future Sponsorship Conference

MUMBAI: Sponsorship practitioners from all over Europe recorded a resounding vote of no confidence in London’s Olympic sponsorship programme and indeed Olympic sponsorship in general at ESA’s annual European flagship conference, Future Sponsorship, in London.

Over 200 figures from all areas of the sponsorship industry took part in a survey that asked the question – Are domestic Olympic packages (Locog) good value for money? 
A staggering 79 per cent said No. The Tier One Olympic Sponsorship Programme did not fare much better with 66 per cent of delegates believing that the IOC’s Top sponsorship programme did not represent good value for money.

Locog had some very ambitious targets for generating revenue from sponsors and certainly had some initial success in attracting sponsors for the London Games. However, as companies began to feel the full impact of the credit crunch, attracting sponsors for the Games in London in recent months has proved to be much harder. 
The over-riding message from several of the speakers including rights holders, sponsors, agencies, accountants and lawyers was the need in the current climate to deliver measurable returns on sponsorship investments.

Indeed one sponsor revealed that as little as 25 per cent of the measurable value of their sponsorship programmes now comes 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 programmes.

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”.

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