The 2020 ESA Awards, sponsorship industry’s tent-pole awards showcasing top European sponsorship campaigns from the past 18 months, has launched – with new categories and a call for judges.

The European Sponsorship Association (ESA), the membership body that works to inspire, unite and grow the sponsorship industry across rights holders, brands and agencies, is now accepting entries for its prestigious 2020 ESA Awards.

The Awards will see industry professionals across Europe rewarded for their best-in-class sponsorship campaigns at a glittering ceremony at The Brewery in London on 26th February 2020. 

View the full list of categories for 2020.

Andy Westlake, ESA Chairman comments:
“The ESA Awards have always presented us with entries that show us what a dynamic and exciting industry we’re part of – work that continues to innovate, consistently puts great creativity at the heart of the output and with a focus on delivering results. As a result, we see a wide range of campaigns that deserve the highest sponsorship industry recognition. I’m excited to see what this year has in store!”

Jackie Fast, ESA Awards Committee Chairman adds:
“I urge anyone involved with sponsorship to enter the ESA Awards.”

Jackie goes on to explain:
“The ESA Awards are designed for Europeans to benchmark their work, raise their profile, see their world-class campaigns honoured, enjoy celebrating the best of the best at the final ceremony, and, crucially, win business.”

The 2020 ESA Awards rewards successful sponsorship campaigns across all sectors – community, culture, digital, entertainment, media, purpose-led, research and sport – by assessing their business objectives and campaign results. The ESA Awards celebrates great achievement, not just big budgets, ensuring that all campaigns have an equal chance of winning. The early bird deadline for entries closes at midnight on 6th September 2019.

All campaigns receive the same expert critique and are judged purely on merit against a comprehensive criteria-based matrix. Our esteemed judges bring insight, direction and robust evaluation to the judging programme. With a two-stage process of judging – both online and face-to-face – being an ESA Awards judge provides you with the opportunity to both witness and award Europe’s best sponsorship work of 2019.

Anyone interested in being an ESA Awards judge should complete an application by Friday 20th September 2019.

Watch last year’s ceremony and winner interviews and find out more about the 2020 ESA Awards.

For more information about entering the ESA Awards or applying to judge, please contact our ESA Office
t: +44 (0)20 8390 3311

For press information, please contact our Marcomms & Events Manager:

About ESA Awards:
The ESA Awards showcases the very best work in the sponsorship industry across Europe. Every year, ESA receives submissions from some of the most innovative, thought provoking and memorable sponsorship campaigns. The ESA Awards includes ESA Sponsorship of the Year and ESA Best of Europe, as well as sector-focused categories such as Arts & Culture Sponsorship.

About European Sponsorship Association:
The European Sponsorship Association (ESA) is a membership association whose mission is to inspire, unite and grow the sponsorship industry for the benefit of its members. ESA does this through education, guidance, representation, the recognition of excellence and the sharing of best practice and performance. Its many activities, which include policy, governance and corporate responsibility, education and training, information, networking and the ESA Awards, all have these goals as their core objectives.

ESA’s reach encompasses all types of sponsorship activity from sport, broadcast, education, the arts and culture, through to environment and the community. Its membership includes sponsors, rights holders, agencies and consultants, professional advisors and suppliers.

Full list of 2020 ESA Awards categories:

1. ESA Best of Europe

Across Europe, each national sponsorship agency puts forward their sponsorship of the year. These 3 awards (Bronze, Silver and Gold) are awarded to the best of the best – entry by invitation only

2. ESA Sponsorship of the Year

The winner from each main award category (below) is rejudged by the panel. One campaign will be crowned ‘ESA Sponsorship of the Year’ 


Sector-focused awards

3. Arts & Culture Sponsorship

An award specifically focused on the arts and culture sector – for a campaign, activation or holistic partnership

4. B2B Sponsorship

The best business to business sponsorship activation (a campaign primarily targeting business customers rather than consumers)

5. Community Sponsorship

The best sponsorship that makes an impact on communities – small and large

6. Gaming Sponsorship

Focusing on outstanding campaigns and sponsorships in gaming, to include all egaming, mobile gaming etc.

7. Mass Participation Sponsorship

Celebrating the best mass participation event – either created or sponsored. In essence, an event or activity that seeks to drive participation from a significant number of people 

8. Media Sponsorship

Best media partnership or sponsorship across any online or offline media channel e.g. broadcast, cinema, magazine, press, radio and TV partnerships

9. Music Sponsorship

The best sponsorship at a music event or festival – for an activation or holistic partnership

10. Purpose-led Partnership

New for 2020, the best purpose-led partnership or sponsorship celebrates all forms of diversity, inclusion and Corporate Social Responsibility – from charitable partnerships, to women in sport, diversity, and sustainability

11. Sport Sponsorship

Awarding the brand that has demonstrated a successful sponsorship in sport. There are 3 sub-categories based on the approximate rights fee

• 3 sub-categories: 

• Sport Sponsorship < €1M

• Sport Sponsorship between €1M and €2M

• Sport Sponsorship > €2M

Discipline-focused awards

12. Best Employee Engagement

The best activation of a sponsorship through a campaign targeted at engaging employees – utilising internal comms, activations or activities

13. Best Newcomer

Recognising a brand new to sponsorship, entering a new sponsorship contract or a new business/ agency in the industry

14. Best Use of Branded Content

Celebrating the most effective use of branded content in a sponsorship campaign

15. Best Use of Digital Channels

Best overall digital campaign – reflecting excellent overall use of digital as a platform (e.g. use of website, content, and social media) linked to a sponsorship or event

16. Best Use of Hospitality in Sponsorship

Celebrating creativity and execution in the use of hospitality as part of a sponsorship programme

17. Best Use of Insights

The best example of actionable use of data/ insights/ analytics, demonstrating intelligent use of quantitative or qualitative insights, and how this has positively impacted decision-making in commercial partnerships or sports and entertainment campaigns

18. Best Use of PR

The best example of how PR has been used as part of a sponsorship campaign, or in a tactical way to activate around a sport and music event / moment / news story, driving measurable ROO (rather than solely focusing on media value or reach)

19. Best Use of Social Media

Best use of social media by a brand in sponsorship execution or tactically in sport, music or entertainment

20. Best Use of Sponsorship across Multiple Markets

Celebrating an integrated sponsorship or activation that crosses at least THREE European countries

21. Best Use of Talent

Best use of talent in sponsorship and activations – may be an ambassador, blogger, celebrity, influencer, sports star etc. and can be an individual, group or team

22. Game Changer

Celebrating new thinking in sponsorship – possibly an innovative approach, a commercial strategy, a game-changing social media campaign or an inspiring video. This award is to celebrate the work that best brings genuine creativity to the industry 

Organisation-focused awards

23. Agency of the Year (Pan-Europe)

Recognising the very best agency or consultancy engaged in sponsorship (or related disciplines) work that spans MORE THAN ONE European country. Usually, you will have offices in more than one European country

24. Agency of the Year (Single Nation)

Recognising the very best agency or consultancy predominantly focused on delivering work in sponsorship (or related disciplines) in ONE European country. Usually, you will only have an office in one European country

25. Rights Holder of the Year

Celebrating the Rights Holder that has gone out of their way to support sponsoring brands, offering innovative solutions and opportunities, and hitting targets. The RH may be a charity, sport, music festival, artist or athlete.