The growing importance of measurement in sponsorship

The word is often maligned, overlooked and some cases completely ignored, but the importance of measurement in a post-COVID world cannot be overstated. Only 20% of respondents to Frontier felt they were able to measure the success of their sponsorship against their objectives. The increasing array of tools at our disposal has enabled us to deliver accurate, holistic, and bespoke sponsorship evaluation. So why aren’t more people able to measure it and how do people know they should repeat the exercise?


According to a report by Two Circles $46.2bn was spent last year on sports sponsorship rights. Even with a 37% drop expected this year, this figure is expected to be $28.9bn. These vast sums of money spent on rights fees alone place pressure on companies to vindicate the value. Effectively measuring a sponsorship not only provides the rationale to justify sponsorship but also to strategically target opportunities that align with the company’s key business objectives and deliver meaningful returns.

And while several sectors, who have traditionally spent significantly in sponsorship, like finance and airlines will see a significant cut, we will also see many new categories and companies are entering the market, like Cazoo in football or similar online companies or from the FMCG sector.

This presents a great opportunity to upweight the focus on evaluation, with brands having to be much more selective with who and what they partner with, and rightsholders demonstrating the value in selecting their property, beyond just a media value.

Sponsorship is not just about selecting a property and attaching a name to it. Activation is increasingly prevalent and important with sponsorship, so tracking what works becomes even more important. The advancement in measurement tools has given brands the chance to optimise these activations. Previously brands would have to wait until the end of a campaign to evaluate the success. However technological advancements mean that they have the chance to view the data in real-time. This offers a chance to find out what is working and what is not during an activation or campaign and to adjust this accordingly. 

The solution

Whilst historically measurement has been seen as an afterthought, it must be incorporated as part of the initial sponsorship budget. The desire for a ‘big number’ can be overwhelming particularly for rightsholders wanting to emphasis the benefit of sponsoring them. However, the needs of each client are unique. Some clients will want to concentrate on increasing the visibility of the brand, whilst others simply want to sell more products. The measurement programme should match this.

Moving away from the catch-all ‘media value’ of a partnership can provide more insightful data, more in line with the business objectives - Our Frontier Report found that while 88% of the industry think that tracking performance against objectives is critical, only 20% are confident they are able to do this. Click here for more information on Frontier.

At MKTG we have a clear 5-point bespoke process in place when it comes to evaluating a sponsorship:

     1. Agree on the purpose and the objectives of the partnership and how you are trying to engage.

     2. Set key performance indicators and ensure they are strategic and manageable.

     3. Evaluate the best tools and agencies to use and then bring all of this data together with a 360-degree viewpoint.

     4. Provide constant data and actionable insights to the client on an ongoing basis.

     5. Provide a holistic review of the sponsorship against the objectives to help with future negotiations and plans.

To see how this has been successfully implemented for a diverse range of clients click here.

For help with evaluating a sponsorship opportunity or to measure the success of an existing partnership, get in touch.

Measurement should be part of the solution not just an afterthought.

By Joe Jackson, Insight Assistant at MKTG