Top 5 Sponsorship Predictions For 2019 7th January, 2019

As a new year begins, it’s not only a time to reflect on what has come before, but a time to look forward. So, Slingshot sat down and brainstormed what we think will be the biggest trends in sponsorship for 2019. Without further or do, here are our predictions.

Content is Still? King:

It might sound like nothing new here, as content has been a pinnacle focus for years now, but without leveraging partnerships with content, organisations run the risk of missing key audience engagement. We predict that content-centric partnerships will become more prevalent: partnerships which actively revolve around the shared creation of content for mutual use. Social platforms have invented multiple great ways for brands to capitalise through sponsored content and this is ever evolving, with Instagram’s new swipe up function, IGTV and direct purchasing through the app. There is truly no end to content leveragability when it comes to sponsorship.

eSports:

2018 was another incredible year for eSports, with battle royale games such as Fortnite, PUBG and Black Ops 4 seemingly bringing eSports from the fringes into the homes of the many. With 2019 global eSports revenues set to reach a milestone $1 billion and expected viewership to rise by another 100 million, 2019 is shaping up to be even bigger than 2018. What does that mean for sponsorship? eSports is by no means saturated and non-endemic brands have yet to really take the bait. If we remove energy drinks and the odd fast-food chain from the equation, very few sponsors are from outside the gaming industry.  Hence, with a millennial demographic and constantly rising viewing figures Slingshot sees huge potential for more brands to partner with eSports organisations.

Technology:

Technology is an ever-evolving space, with new applications, services and products almost sprouting out of thin air! With the expansion of the tech space comes a need for brands to stand out amongst the crowd or drown in the sea of competitors. Thus, we expect more tech brands to enter the sponsorship industry. Some of the brands currently leveraging the partnerships the best are GoPro, Samsung and OWC.

A new trend that is emerging out of the tech market is AR/VR activations in the home of the viewer. AR and VR have been a useful activation tool at sporting events for the last few years, but what has begun to emerge is its use as a fan engagement tool in their homes. Take RedBull’s 360 Degree course preview and live VR camera at 2018’s RedBull Rampage event, this revolutionary tech saw fans being able to ‘walk’ the track from their phone screen and allowed access to camera angles exclusive to the live broadcast via the app.

Betting:

2018 Brought a surge of sports betting properties to the English Premier League and Championship alike, and with that surge came a rise in concern for consumer health and gambling addiction. As such there had been calls on the FA and Parliament to put restrictions on sponsorship from sport betting companies. Thus, we feel that betting sponsorships will likely slow on our side of the Atlantic. However, we expect that across the pond, the reverse is the case. Numerous law changes made 2018. the first year betting organisations could sponsor leagues and teams with the NHL and MLB making the most headway in this space. Time will tell if the NFL will receive its own exclusive betting partner in 2019 (our gamble is that it will) as many teams within the league have set up their own gambling partnerships.

CSR:

Numerous studies suggest that CSR partnerships boost employee satisfaction and have a positive effect on brand perception, and this year we expect brands to buy into this more than ever. More specifically Slingshot suggests that more brands will migrate from sports properties across to CSR led partnerships. This is inevitable due to the purchase intentions and priorities of the millennial demographic who are seeking brands that care. One of 2018’s biggest shocks was Sky announcing that they will be pulling their sponsorship of Team Sky in 2019. Sky CEO Jeremy Darroch stated “the end of 2019 is the right time for us to move on as we open a new chapter in Sky’s story and turn our focus to different initiatives including our Sky Ocean Rescue campaign.”

If you are looking for advice on any aspect of the sponsorship industry, we would be more than happy to offer our expertise, please email info@slingshotsponsorship.com or call 0207 145 0150 to get started.


My Sponsorship Predictions 2017.  23rd January, 2017

I predict a big year for sponsorship.  It’s been steadily gaining a bigger seat at the big boy table, but this year I anticipate it will accelerate at great speed.  We have seen big brands slowly start to pull away from badging and into more integrated experiential campaigns – lead by partnerships, whether in a traditional rights holder/sponsor sense or through multi-agency collaboration.  The value of Big Data is finally being understood by the ‘every brand’ and implementation of data is finally getting into Star Wars territory (A.I. and more).  As a bit of a geek myself, I am truly excited for 2017.

But at the heart of sponsorship and at the heart of sales for any business is the audience – which is why I predict 2017 to be big for our industry like never before.

Here are the trends I think we’ll see:
1.    Young blood, new ideas: Sponsorship as an industry has grown and more university students are realising that if they can’t be the next David Beckham, then they could perhaps work in football through sponsorship.  We’ve seen a significant increase in university students applying for internships and placements in the last year.  Once these kids are out and start working, I think we’ll see a shift in process with some of the more traditional sponsorship agencies – and the creative that comes out of them.

2.    Consolidation makes way for the little guy: A number of long-established sponsorship agencies got bought, sold and acquired last year (Brand Rapport, Brand Meets Brand, Generate Sponsorship) and I predict we’ll see a number of new start-ups in the sponsorship space launching in the next 6 months.

3.    Consolidation lends to campaigns rather than ad hoc projects: With a number of long-established sponsorship agencies merging/selling into larger agencies with additional disciplines, the aim will be to create a more integrated approach for their clients.  This type of business is more beneficial to clients through a long-term approach so I predict the desire of these agencies to focus on campaigns and retainers.  This may create opportunities for other agencies to scoop up the ad hoc projects throughout the year.

4.    Big brands taking on transformational sponsorship: Transformational sponsorship is sponsorship that shifts an entire business practice.  Rather than being stuck moving the needle in the marketing department, Boards are starting to realise that integrating sponsorship can impact the entire organisation.  We have had more requests from brands last year to help them integrate transformational sponsorship (or sponsorship without logos) than we have had in our 6-year history.  This trend is sure to continue.

5.    The ‘British Brand’ of sponsorship agency makes bigger waves overseas: Slingshot now has more than 35% of our retained clients headquartered overseas, with 60% of our clients international and the remaining national in the UK.  This is a radical change from a couple of years ago when we only worked with local clients on local programmes with maybe a handful of smaller international projects.  As technology makes the world smaller, there is greater opportunity to expand and grow market share elsewhere.  I believe this trend will continue with both an influx of international agencies working in the UK and UK agencies getting brought in for more international pitches.

However you look at it, I think 2017 will be a very exciting year – best of luck!

*I was 4/5 on last year’s predictions, to see last year’s predictions click here.