Top sponsorship priorities for brands in 2024 unveiled

Top sponsorship priorities for brands in 2024 unveiled

As we embark on a new year, brands within the sponsorship arena are charting a course guided by key priorities that will define their strategies and engagements in 2024. The results of the European Sponsorship Association (ESA) survey unveil the top categories that have captured the attention of brand sponsors, offering valuable insights into the focal points that will shape the sponsorship landscape.

1. ESG: A Pinnacle of Purposeful Sponsorship

For the third consecutive year, Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) has emerged as the indisputable frontrunner, maintaining its position as the most crucial area of focus for brand sponsors. The sustained dominance of ESG signals a profound commitment among brands to align themselves with values that extend beyond business metrics. ESG, with its holistic approach to sustainability, resonates strongly with consumers who increasingly seek purpose-driven brands.

As Sam Booth, Director of Sustainability at AEG Europe, aptly puts it, "Sustainability continues to hold prominence in the long list of issues facing companies as we move into 2024." The brand sponsors' commitment to ESG reflects not only a response to consumer expectations but a genuine dedication to being agents of positive change.

2. Digital: A Dynamic Landscape of Innovation

Digital sponsorship, securing the second position in brands' priorities, highlights the ever-evolving landscape of technology and innovation. Brands are acknowledging the power of digital platforms to connect with audiences in new and dynamic ways. While the term 'digital' has broadened over the years—from transformation to activation and beyond—its relevance remains paramount in facilitating engagement and interaction with consumers.

In 2024, brands are navigating the digital realm with a keen eye on transformative technologies. The strategic use of digital platforms enables sponsors to stay agile, adapting to changing consumer behaviours and expectations. Whether through immersive experiences, virtual events, or interactive campaigns, brands are leveraging the digital landscape to create memorable and impactful sponsorships.

3. Data: Insights Driving Strategic Decision-Making

The ascent of Data to the third position underscores the growing recognition among brand sponsors of the pivotal role data plays in shaping strategic decisions. In an era where personalisation and targeted marketing are paramount, brands are investing in understanding their audience through data-driven insights. The ability to analyse and interpret data allows sponsors to tailor their sponsorships effectively, ensuring resonance with their target demographic.

The resurgence of Data in brands' top priorities suggests an industry-wide acknowledgment of its instrumental role in enhancing the effectiveness of sponsorships. In 2024, brands are delving into the wealth of data available to them, gaining a deeper understanding of audience preferences, behaviours, and trends, thereby optimising their sponsorship investments.

4. Women's Sports: Empowering Diversity and Inclusivity

While slightly down in ranking, Women's Sports remains a significant area of focus for brand sponsors, reflecting a commitment to diversity and inclusivity. The excitement generated by events like the FIFA 2023 Women’s World Cup and increased media coverage has propelled women's sports into the sponsorship spotlight.

Deloitte's announcement that women’s sport is poised to break the $1 billion barrier in 2024 adds to the momentum. Brands recognise the value and impact of supporting women's sports, not just from a financial perspective but as a statement of their commitment to equality. In 2024, brand sponsors are actively contributing to the growth and recognition of women's sports, fostering an environment where both men's and women's teams are celebrated.

In conclusion, the ESA survey results underline a strategic shift among brand sponsors towards purpose-driven initiatives, digital innovation, data-driven decision-making, and a commitment to fostering diversity and inclusivity through women's sports. These key areas will undoubtedly guide brands as they navigate the complex and dynamic landscape of sponsorships in 2024.