On the heels of a tighter-than-anticipated North American sponsorship market in the year just ended, ESP’s 33rd annual year-end industry review and forecast projects a rebound this year alongside continued steady growth globally.

A year ago, ESP projected worldwide growth of 4.5 percent and an increase in North America of 4.1 percent. However, that forecast’s caveat that “caution on the part of brand and corporate marketers could grow into concern as the year progresses, thus limiting their willingness to commit additional dollars to partnerships,” proved to be the case in North America, as spending increased only 3.6 percent to $23.1 billion.

A key factor was continued examination of sponsorship budgets, with an eye to reducing overall spending, by major players in the beverage industry—the largest spending category—including soft drink and beer giants PepsiCo, Coca-Cola, Anheuser-Busch InBev and MillerCoors. Other packaged goods companies also held purse strings tight in the face of flat overall business.

While estimated spending in other regions of the world met projections, the smaller increase in the world’s largest sponsorship market dragged worldwide growth down to 4.3 percent and a total of $62.7 billion.

Despite lingering concerns over national and geopolitical matters, improving sales outlooks and overall economic indicators indicate higher corporate confidence heading into 2018, which should see brands more willing to spend on marketing, advertising and sponsorship. With that in mind, sponsorship spending is projected to grow 4.5 percent in North America this year—to $24.2 billion—and 4.9 percent globally, to $65.8 billion.

Total North American Sponsorship Spending
Total North American Sponsorship Spending

Total Global Sponsorship Spending
Total Global Sponsorship Spending

A similar outlook is expected across the broader marketing spectrum, according to the This Year Next Year worldwide media and marketing forecast produced by ESP parent organization GroupM—the global media investment management company of WPP Group plc.

While 2017 growth rates for advertising and other forms of marketing—including public relations, direct marketing and promotions—were just above two percent in North America and three percent globally, both are expected to rebound by about a percentage point or more this year.

Annual Growth Of Advertising, Marketing/Promotion And Sponsorship—North America
Annual Growth Of Advertising, Marketing/Promotion And Sponsorship—North America

Annual Growth Of Advertising, Marketing/Promotion And Sponsorship—Global
Annual Growth Of Advertising, Marketing/Promotion And Sponsorship—Global

In North America, all six property types should see significantly higher sponsorship growth in 2018 versus 2017. In what has become a familiar pattern, growth rates are expected to correlate to size, with the largest segment, sports, once again commanding 70 percent of the market and the highest projected spending increase at 4.9 percent.

North American Sponsorship Spending By Property Type
North American Sponsorship Spending By Property Type

Projected 2018 Shares of North American Sponsorship Market
Projected 2018 Shares of North American Sponsorship Market

European sponsorship spending is projected to grow by more than five percent in 2018, which will still be behind the 5.7 percent growth anticipated for the Asia Pacific region. While still strong, APAC growth is expected to be slightly lower than it was in 2017 as the once rapidly expanding marketplace begins to mature.

Global Sponsorship Spending By Region
Global Sponsorship Spending By Region