JTA, the international relations and communications consultancy specializing in sport, has launched a new sponsorship consulting division dedicated to helping brands with their post-pandemic sponsorship strategies.

The new division, Partner for Purpose, will operate from JTA’s office in London, England, and will launch its own dedicated website and social media profiles.

The launch comes on the back of a survey conducted by JTA, along with Loughborough University, Loughborough College, and Loughborough Sport, that revealed most global sponsorship leaders believe the pandemic and geopolitical issues have profoundly impacted the sports sponsorship ecosystem.

Over 600 leaders in sponsorship and marketing took part in the survey, with 93% agreeing the pandemic had greatly impacted sponsorship trends, while 75% agreed that the pandemic created more opportunities.

Other findings in the survey reveal a total of 70% believe the pandemic has already changed the nature of partnerships between sponsors and sports organizations, while 96% saw partnerships between brands, athletes, and sports organizations becoming more purposeful, innovative, and fluid.

More than half the respondents said that corporate social responsibility (CSR) has become more important since the beginning of the pandemic, and 80% believe the relative importance placed on CSR concerning partnership strategies will increase in the future.

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Jon Tibbs, founder and chairman of JTA and chair of Partner for Purpose, said: “The results of this survey show that there is an overwhelming belief within the sports sponsorship industry that partnerships are expected to be more engaging, more community-centric, and more focused on positive change.

“This trend has only been accelerated by the Covid-19 pandemic and recent geopolitical events have reinforced the need for the industry to be responsive, flexible, and adaptive.

“Consumers want, and increasingly expect brands to engage in more purposeful and meaningful partnerships.”

Commenting on the survey, Conrad Wiacek, head of sports analysis at GlobalData, said: “While the trend towards partnership, rather than simple sponsorship, was evident prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, it is no surprise to see the results of this survey solidifying this trend for sporting organizations in a post-pandemic environment.

“The Covid-19 pandemic has illustrated the need for more community-focused, sustainable engagement with fans. While sectors such as the cryptocurrency took advantage of the increased volatility in the market, it is expected that the more traditional sponsorship sectors will look to re-establish themselves in the sponsorship space with a greater focus on purposeful engagement with fans.”

JTA has previously been closely associated with the Olympic movement, having worked with Munich 2018, the city’s bid to host the 2018 Winter Olympic Games; Sochi 2014, the organizing committee of the 2014 winter Olympic Games; European Athletics, the continental governing body for track and field, the Jordan Olympic Committee, and the successful bids of Beijing and Athens to stage the Olympic Games.

Its current Olympic clients are the Paris 2024 Olympic Committee and the Olympic Council of Asia.

Outside the Olympics, JTA boasts an extensive roster of rights-holding clients including swimming’s FINA, volleyball’s FIVB, boxing’s IBA, teqball’s FITEQ, and World Taekwondo.