The European Sponsorship Association (ESA) has expressed its confidence in the commercial industry’s ability to bounce back from the global health pandemic as the firm’s ‘second wave’ of Sponsorship Sentiment Tracker statistics were released.

ESA’s Sponsorship Sentiment Tracker is an industry survey gauging the health and confidence of leading sponsorship organisations across Europe which has more than 200 leaders and senior sponsorship professionals taking part. 

The survey highlighted that 23 per cent of respondents estimate an increase in revenue this year, which is up from just 6 per cent in ‘wave one’ which was conducted in April, highlighting that despite the global health pandemic brands are still hopefully to see growth. 

This sharp increase, according to the ESA, is largely due to the gradual return of sports and entertainment which has positively affected partners. Nevertheless despite the rise, it is expected that most businesses are expected to suffer losses. 

ESA Chairman, Andy Westlake, stated: “It’s great to see that some optimism is returning to the industry, albeit gradually. Having been hit so hard over the last three months, it’s clear that the return of live sport and entertainment is having a positive impact on sentiment, especially within the rights holder community. With continental Europe seemingly coping better with the impact of the virus, there’s also a predictable difference between responses when compared with the UK.

As the return of major events continues to encourage sponsors and brands, we expect to see confidence increasingly grow. With 2021 offering so much opportunity, given the huge number of major events due to take place, this gradual improvement in outlook should be seen as a positive sign that the industry continues to recover.”

Overall the tracker highlights that optimism by brands is starting to return, albeit gradually, with an average score of 5.76 out of 10, compared to 5.48 in April. Nevertheless, the UK’s confidence remained largely the same  averaging 5.56 as opposed to 5.53 prior.

Brands seem to be most positive around sponsorships with an average confidence score of 6.2 out of 10. Moreover, confidence has also marginally increased for agencies whilst the positive attitude for right holders have jumped up from 4.9 in April to 5.6 this month, again with no small part to the return of live sports.

In terms of strategy changes it seems the firms most affected have been rights holders, with 32 per cent now outsourcing less and the same amount furloughing more staff. The tracker identifies that around 20 per cent of businesses have pivoted their business models to continue operating. 

On the other hand, 35 per cent have reported no change since the crisis started emphasising how different brands in sponsorship partnerships have had to deal with the Coronavirus crisis in unique ways. 

The ESA Sponsorship Sentiment Tracker has been repeated regularly to provide an up-to-date picture of the health of the sponsorship industry and the impact of COVID-19.