IEG’s 32nd annual year-end industry review and forecast sees steady sponsorship spending growth in 2017, with the 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.

For now, global sponsorship spending is projected to rise 4.5 percent in 2017 to $62.8 billion from the $60.1 billion spent in 2016. That growth rate is nearly equal to last year’s 4.6 percent, which was slightly below the forecast of 4.7 percent.

Total Global Sponsorship Spending
© 2017 IEG, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

In North America, the world’s largest sponsorship market, growth is expected to lag behind the global rate, increasing 4.1 percent in 2017 following 4.2 percent growth last year.

Spending of $22.3 billion in 2016 was below projected growth of 4.5 percent. North American sponsorship spending should reach $23.2 billion this year.

Total North American Sponsorship Spending
© 2017 IEG, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

One factor that could prove to be a drag on spending is the lingering gap between sponsor expectations and properties’ ability to deliver when it comes to both personalized marketing opportunities based on audience data, and valuable digital content and platforms

Another potential cloud on the horizon is uncertainty over global and local economic conditions in the wake of Brexit, the Trump election and other geopolitical matters, and its impact on marketing spending, including sponsorships and partnerships.

According to the This Year Next Year worldwide media and marketing forecast produced by IEG parent organization GroupM—the global media investment management operation of WPP Group plc.— “Corporates are even more reluctant to make big investment decisions. Some of this is transitory (energy prices), some more enduring (China’s structural adjustment), some political (Brexit, European populism) and some simply because CFOs despair this grinding global recovery will ever reach ‘escape velocity.’ ”

Spending by Chinese enterprises, both locally and abroad, will be the driving factor behind the Asia Pacific region’s strong sponsorship growth—anticipated to again be the highest of any region at 5.8 percent in 2017 on the heels of 5.7 percent growth in 2016.


Sponsorship Growth Compared to Advertising and Other Marketing Mix Components
Sponsorship’s global spending will grow at a similar rate to advertising, while exceeding the projected increase on other forms of marketing—including public relations, direct marketing and promotions—according to This Year Next Year. Global ad spending is expected to increase 4.4 percent in 2017, while spending on other marketing services is expected to grow by just three percent.

Annual Growth Of Advertising, Marketing/Promotion And Sponsorship- Global
© 2017 IEG, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

In North America, sponsorship growth should outpace the other forms of marketing, with ad spending expected to grow just 2.6 percent and other marketing spending up 3.2 percent, according to the GroupM report.

Annual Growth Of Advertising, Marketing/Promotion And Sponsorship- North America
© 2017 IEG, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Spending Across North American Property Types
The song remains the same in terms of the breakdown in North American sponsorship spending among the six property types. Although growth in sports spending is expected to slow from 4.7 percent last year to 4.3 percent this year, at $16.37 billion, the segment will continue to command seven out of every ten dollars spent and will grow at a higher rate than each of the other property types.


Projected 2017 Shares of North American Sponsorship Market
© 2017 IEG, LLC. All Rights Reserved.