The European Sponsorship Association has today revealed the third wave of results from the ESA Sponsorship Sentiment Tracker, an industry survey gauging the health and confidence of leading sponsorship organisations across Europe and giving insights into the response of major sponsors.

The third wave of research, conducted in June and July, indicates that the European sponsorship community’s confidence has continued to rise, jumping to its highest-ever total of 6.3 out of 10, up from an average of 5.7 in wave two, conducted in May. 

To date, more than 540 thought leaders and senior sponsorship professionals from across Europe have responded to the Sponsorship Sentiment Tracker, repeated regularly to provide an up-to-date picture of the health of the sponsorship industry and the impact of COVID-19.

Most promisingly, there was a notable upswing in positivity across all parts of the industry, both in terms of geography and company sector. Respondents in the UK saw confidence rise from an average of 5.6 to 6.2, putting confidence levels onpar with continental Europe, where average confidence grew from 5.7 to 6.2.

As with previous results, brands remain most confident about the future of sponsorship, with an average score of 6.7/10. Agencies saw the biggest jump in positivity, from 5.6 to 6.3, while the average confidence score for rights holders was 6.0, an increase of 0.4.

As Europe emerges from lockdowns and continues the cautious return to sport and entertainment, ESA also surveyed sponsorship professionals on their strategy and planning for the coming months. Some 52% of respondents have moved events from 2020 into 2021, with 35% planning to move events towards the end of 2020 and 36% planning for a second COVID-19 wave. 

More than a third of organisations are anticipating a return to the office over the next six months, with only 11% having plans to close offices and move to remote working permanently. 

ESA Chairman, Andy Westlake, said:

"The Sponsorship Sentiment Tracker results are the clearest sign yet that confidence is returning to the sponsorship industry. While it will be a long road to recovery, brands, agencies and rights holders across Europe are all feeling much more positively than they were even a month ago.

"As more events return, new sponsorship deals being agreed and tentative plans for fans to return to stadiums are laid out, there are encouraging signs for the sport and entertainment industry. Importantly, with so many major events on the horizon, a confident sponsorship industry can play a role in the wider economic recovery."