The European Sponsorship Association (ESA) nonprofit organization has published the findings of a report revealing that the value of the European sports sponsorship industry has grown to a record €21.98 billion ($23.95 billion).

This record value naturally represented a growth on the previous highs of €20.69bn in 2022, and the prior high of €20.26bn in 2019.

It indicates that the sports sponsorship industry has broadly recovered from the hardships of the Covid-19 pandemic that caused values to plummet across 2020 and 2021, in which years they fell to as little as €19.8 billion.

Germany has remained the largest sponsorship market in Europe, according to the report, with a collective value across both sport and non-sport industries of around €5.7 billion, with the UK second-best with a €5.13 billion value.

Sophie Morris, chair of the ESA, has said that the report showcased “what we were all hoping for” in the return of values to a pre-pandemic level.

Morris stated: “The continued recovery, particularly through the global political and economic uncertainties, shows the strength and also the future potential of the industry.

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She added: “We are also seeing new sectors of growth, particularly in sponsorships related to ESG (environmental/social/governance), cause and purpose.”

Examples include the SailGP boat racing competition and the Extreme E all-electric off road motor-racing league, both of which are purpose-driven competitions aimed at promoting decarbonization. As such, they both target similar purpose-driven sponsorships.

In January, a separate ESA report revealed that ESG sponsorship had remained the prevailing trend across all of the sponsorship industry coming into 2024, for the third year running.

Corporate social responsibility also morphed into its own prevailing trend, per the ESA, that drew major sponsorship growth itself.

The report also pinpointed the growth of AI (artificial intelligence) partnerships across Europe as another prevailing trend.

At the time, Sam Booth, the director of sustainability at events company AEG Europe stated through the report: “With each passing year the effects of the climate crisis become more pronounced, international governments become more focused and consumers more concerned. Those who continue to perform well in this [ESG] subject will ensure they’re future-fit and will become increasingly attractive to fans and brands alike.”