The 4th annual Leaders in Sponsorship conference cemented its place as the industry’s leading event with an extended two day programme packed with top budget holders and decision makers from global brands. It was opened by the Global CEO of the advertising agency Saatchi and Saatchi, Kevin Roberts, in a stunning presentation that was the talk of the event, outlining brand building and leadership in sport. He was followed by 3 heavyweights of the sponsorship industry; Hublot Chairman Jean-Claude Biver, Western Union’s Head of Brand Marc Audrit, and Investec’s Chief Marketing Officer Raymond van Niekerk, who discussed where and why they spend their budgets and how rights holders should sell partnerships to them.

Building on the strength of the morning sessions, the organisers had selected best-in-class examples of activations in 2012 and attendees enjoyed a senior-level Olympic sponsorships review with P&G, Lloyds TSB and GE, back in London just 2 months after the Games, and panels on creative and digital/social activation with speakers from FC Barcelona, AB InBev, DHL, Orange and SAB Miller.

Rounding off an inspirational and provocative 2 days were a series of unique talks and interviews from Universal Music, facebook and the Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 team. Olivier Robert-Murphy, Universal’s global head of new business told the story of the music industry’s decline and revival in the digital era, Facebook director Christian Hernandez wowed the audience with an up-to-the-minute review of how brands can use the social media platform to engage with consumers and Nick Fry, CEO of the Mercedes F1 team, described how inventory is developed around F1 to create experiences for brands to engage with fans.

The attendance of the conference was strictly limited to 300 with 34% of the audience working directly for brands, 42% working at rights holders and 24% working for both with 44% attending from outside the UK.  The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive with over 76% declaring it the best forum for sponsorship debate and networking in the world of sport. 

The planning is already in place for 2013 with an expanded programme of high level and workshop sessions due to be announced in the coming months.  For more information see