Forecasters Expect Record Sports Sponsorships

A Year-Over-Year Increase Of 6%

Forecasters Expect Record Sports SponsorshipsResearch firm IEG is predicting advertisers will spend a record $13.79 billion on sports sponsorships in 2013, a year-over-year increase of 6%. The jump, analysts believe, is the result of marketers' growing enthusiasm for advertising during live events as companies look for ways to appeal to consumers who fast-forward through commercial breaks. Advertisers are also exploring ideas for more cross-promotion and branding through sporting events, driven by technology like the development of mobile apps.

"The interest has really risen because they've seen that these types of partnerships really do make a big difference as part of an integrated marketing platform," said Jim Andrews, vice president of content strategy for IEG.

As an example of growing demand, the PGA Tour, whose events are greatly supported by sponsors, has already sold out all but one of its 2013 tournament sponsorships, according to a report in the SportsBusiness Journal. The outlook for next year is even more striking. ImageTrack, a monitoring service from IEG and Kantar Media, is predicting that the title sponsorship for the 2014 college football national championship game will bring in $35 million, about double the fee for the 2012 game.

Forecasters think the one downside to the major sponsorship splurge is the potential for less money to be spent on local events. With greater resources, analysts say it's easier for leagues and franchises to show strong ROI, something local organizers might struggle to compete with. It can be "a lot harder for a smaller, local organization to deliver against that," Andrews said.