The total value of Europe’s sponsorship market dropped by 23 percent across all industries last year, marking the first time it has declined in almost a decade, a new report from the European Sponsorship Association (ESA) in cooperation with Nielsen Sports has revealed. The drop was a consequence of the Covid-19 pandemic, whose negative impacts were felt across the whole continent. The total value of the European sponsorship market fell from a record €30.69 billion in 2019 to €23.63 billion in 2020, its lowest point since 2010.

Sports sponsorships, however, with a 9 percent dip to €18.42 billion, were hit less severely than other industries. Non-sport rightholders saw their sponsorship income halve year-on-year, from €10.43 billion in 2019 to €5.19 billion in 2020. The music industry, for example, suffered a 60-70 percent decline in sponsorship volume, depending on the market. Football accounted for 49 percent of all deals by number of deals and continued to dominate the market. Gaming and e-sports, boosted by coronavirus-related restrictions, rose to second place with 12 percent of deals, followed by handball, basketball and rugby.

The report, titled ESA Sponsorship Market Overview 2021, was produced using Nielsen Sports Market Intelligence, and is available exclusively to ESA members. The ESA Sponsorship Market Overview has been conducted annually since 2008.