UK Sponsorship Awards 2024 - the Categories



The Arts and Cultural Sponsorship category is focused on the traditional arts and culture community; for example - museums, galleries, classical music, opera, theatre.  Look for culture-commerce connectivity. In previous editions, this category has been divided into Events & Awards and Theatres, Museums & Galleries. This is dependent on the nature and number of entries received and will be decided upon at deadline.  See also RIGHTS HOLDER AWARD


This category is focused on the contemporary music, festival and event sectors (not sport). It recognises the fact that sponsoring the MTV Awards, Glastonbury, a Rock Concert Tour or a Stand Up Comedy Tour is different to sponsoring The National Theatre or Glyndebourne. If you're not sure, please do call us to talk it through.


This category is designed to reward campaigns that make a difference. Often, the winner will be able to demonstrate that both the sponsor and the sponsored organisation have benefited from the partnership – and this is welcomed by judges. But it is not a hard and fast rule (see last two years). For example, sometimes the sponsor is also the social purpose beneficiary. In other words, this category covers two possible scenarios – a) Commercial Brand X sponsors Charity Y and both achieve goals OR Charity Y sponsors Event Z and Y achieves goals (fund-raising, brand engagement etc).  If this is unclear, contact the UKSA team to discuss. 


This category is not restricted to schools or core curriculum. School-based sponsorships are still welcome, but campaigns which achieve broader learning goals are also encouraged. This might mean FE and HE but could also be sponsorships based around re-skilling or adult education.


We're looking for sponsorships with a genuinely green ethos running through them. This category is open to sponsorships of 'green' organisations or campaigns but equally to sponsorships which demonstrate sustainability within their activations. This could be in the context of a new stadium build, stakeholder lobbying, employee activities or cleaning up after a big event such as a festival.

6. WOMEN'S SPORTS SPONSORSHIP - supported by Women in Sport

This category rewards brands, associations and agencies for the work they have done with women’s projects. This could be anything from opening up access to sport for girls through to celebrity endorsements that are plugged into the wider female empowerment agenda. As with all categories, the judges will want to see some evidence of clear objectives, interesting execution and positive business results related to the sponsorship. But this will be considered in combination with any evidence supplied about how women or girls have been empowered.  A sponsorship that fails to achieve business objectives won’t win. But judges will take a slightly less rigorous view if they are presented with a truly transformative campaign.  


The Diversity, Equality & Inclusion category is recognition that the UK - like many countries - still has a long way to go in achieving true social inclusiveness. Examples of partnerships that might fit this category include sponsorships that support the LGBTIQ+ community, sponsorships that have increased opportunities for minority ethnic communities in some way, and sponsorships that have addressed the numerous challenges that still exist around disability.Tthe judges are looking for a combination of business benefits and evidence of social transformation.

8. TV SPONSORSHIP - supported by Thinkbox

TV sponsorship is about partnerships that have a stand-alone television property at their heart. The association might be leveraged across other platforms and channels, but the core IP will be a TV show, a channel or a component of a TV show, such as a celebrity/character/show segment. Brands that partner with free-to-air or PayTV properties are the primary but not exclusive target of this category. As an example, 2020’s category winner was Hillarys sponsors Homes on Channel 4. To ensure like for like comparisons, this category may be split by size so please specify the fee paid. Branded content and AFPs should be entered in the new Branded Content category – unless they are activations of an overarching TV sponsorship in which case this category may also be relevant.  


This category is about sponsorships that begin with print, radio or film. It's designed to recognise great work that is often overshadowed by the big budgets available in TV. Again, the sponsorship can (and should) be leveraged across platforms, but it needs to start with Print, Radio or Film IP. This might be a branded supplement or product placement. In the case of film, sponsorships that do not involve product integration into the film itself are also eligible for this category – i.e., a brand may choose to sponsor a period drama film even if it would be anachronistic for it to appear in the production itself.


This category rewards the most innovative and effective work across all forms of digital activation – with the proviso that they are underpinned by a sponsorship. This could be on owned channels, third party digital brands or social media platforms. Judges will be looking for digital activations that have amplified the way sponsorship supports branding, commercial or corporate objectives. Please provide clear evidence of success, especially around audience engagement levels. This is a broad category that might activations across YouTube, TikTok, Instagram etc. The entry might be led by mobile, AR/VR, ecommerce, crypto or search. As long as the entry is recognisably digital in character then it can participate in this category.


Best Use of Branded Content is aimed at strategies where the client has been directly involved in the funding and creation of the content in question. It may overlap with TV sponsorship – but it is not the same as sponsoring a traditional TV show or a film. Branded content can be anything from an advertiser-funded show on TV to a piece of content created for the internet. While branded content does not include a standard TV ad, a 3-5 minute film that integrates the brand with more traditional storytelling devices could fall within the definition of branded content. To win this category, entrants must explain why they pursued a branded content strategy and how they activated it across different channels and platforms. Branded content for this category does not need to originate in TV, but can also originate in the online or mobile arenas. In some cases, it can also be a film – such as The Lego Movie – or a game.


This category was introduced to recognise the importance of brand-talent relationships. Any sponsorship that involves a celebrity or influencer as part of its activation strategy is eligible (TV, film, sport, music, etc). Judges will look at why the personality was chosen (not just because they were famous), how they were involved and the business benefits they brought. The endorsement must show some evidence of a multi-tiered sponsorship strategy to win. For example, a musician in a TV commercial drinking a brand of beer will not, in itself, be enough to impress judges. Possible scenarios include: Brand A endorses Celebrity X, who then becomes an integrated part of the brand’s marketing activity (getting involved in grass roots activities, hosting online forums, speaking to the press on behalf of the brand, launching product lines, motivating employees, etc.). Or, Brand B sponsors Team Y and secures the services of Celebrity Z as part of its package, and then uses the team and celebrity in harmony. If you are unclear about eligibility, please contact the organisers to discuss.

13. SPORTS SPONSORSHIP – Supported by Sport England 

There are traditionally two Awards within this category split by fee, one for campaigns valued at £750,000 or more, another for smaller campaigns to recognise the great work done on tighter budgets. Please ensure that you supply budget details.  See also Grass Roots Sports Sponsorship (14), Football Sponsorship (15), Naming Rights (18),  Mass Participation Sponsorship (17) and the Rights Holder Award (19).

14. GRASS ROOTS SPORTS SPONSORSHIP – supported by the Sport and Recreation Alliance

Sports sponsorship isn't all about high-profile activation. Grass roots is a crucial component, so this Award is about the way sponsors and partner organisations reach out to local communities. Echoing the Social Purpose category, the judges like to see how both the brand and the sponsored organisation/community benefited.

15. BEST FOOTBALL SPONSORSHIP - Entries from across Europe are encouraged

This category is open to all football sponsorships so that can be anything to do with clubs (from elite to amateur, local to international), leagues or cup competitions for example. Any kind of football sponsorship can be entered regardless of sponsorship designation (eg. title sponsor, category partner), industrial category or focal point (eg. grassroots, naming rights, media activation or endorsement). The UKSA team reserves the right to split this category in two by budget/profile if there are sufficient entries to justify this.  Entrants into this category are also encouraged to enter any other category – including sport and grassroots sport.


As its name suggests, this category is for brands that have made great use of the fast-emerging gaming category. Criteria for success are similar to those in other categories, namely – clear objectives, great execution and proof of business benefits. The fast-emerging field of esports is covered, but so is sponsorship of everything from high-end console games to casual gaming. Sponsors that have managed to take advantage of emerging technology like VR gaming are also eligible.


Open to everything from the London Marathon to large-scale charity events, this category rewards companies that have made effective use of Mass Participation Sponsorship. Clear objectives, innovative activation and great results will be necessary to win this Award. Some indication of why Mass Participation made sense for the sponsor is important.


The category Venue Sponsorship  is designed to reward companies that have made greatest use of their assets. While media exposure is a useful benefit of naming rights deals, this category requires some evidence of how the rights in question have been activated in different ways. The scale of the deal is not necessarily a guarantee of success in this category. It is important to show creativity and innovation around assets.  Examples of Venue Sponsorship deals would be the first direct arena, SSE Arena, The O2, the Emirates Arena Glasgow, etc.

19.  RIGHTS HOLDER AWARD - supported by SportBusiness

The purpose of this category is to showcase rights holder organisations that have used their assets to maximise their income streams and provide better and more attractive offerings for potential sponsors and partners.

The three awards on offer are for: Arts Rights Holder, Media Rights Holder and Sports Rights Holder. Unlike the majority of UKSA’s awards, these three new categories will not focus on the strength of a single campaign. Instead, they will look at the success of organisations as facilitators of sponsorship across the entire year.

UKSA’s judges will look at everything individual rights holders have done to make their platform more appealing to sponsors. They will look at new business wins, returning clients, and examples of creativity and innovation. Overall, the new awards are an opportunity to shine the spotlight on a broader range of industry work.

The Arts Rights Holder award might celebrate a cultural venue that has revamped its approach to individual exhibitions, securing a new profile of sponsor. The Media Rights Holder category could be a broadcaster, radio station or social media platform that has created innovative branded content opportunities for sponsors. In Sports, the winner could be a club that has reorganised its official provider tier and secured important new revenues as a result.  For guidelines on this category, please click here. 

To support this category, a UKSA Case File looks at ways rights holders can support/improve their offering.  Click here to read more.


In this category we are looking for the very best sponsorships which have helped a business organisation or corporate entity reach out to business/public sector/governmental stakeholders businessmen/women and/or high net worth individuals.   One important point to note is that we are also interested in how the sponsorship has influenced the company's relationship with its employees (greater loyalty, improved productivity, etc.). So b2b should not just be thought of as the relationship between the sponsor and third party organisations. It is also about internal business benefits.

21. BRAND SPONSORSHIP  - sponsored by Sponsorium

This category is aimed at sponsorships where the primary objective is the promotion of a brand or a group of brands. So we're looking for sales data and brand image shifts. Like sport, this category is split into two budget bands. Please ensure that you state the budget level on the entry form. 


As its name suggests, this category is open to campaigns conducted by companies or brands that have executed sponsorship programmes for the first time in the last two years.  This category is not open to first time sponsorships but to first time sponsors/brands - i.e., the first time that particular brand has used sponsorship as a marketing vehicle.


This category is open to sponsorship campaigns which have been in place for a minimum of four years. Entries are judged on the success of the campaign and how it has been developed year by year. Evidence of how insights have been developed and applied during the course of the relationship is a key consideration. There's no penalty for saying, "X didn't work in year 1, so we did Y in year 2 and boosted sales".


Open to campaigns which are activated across more than one country.  One country does not need to the be the UK. 


Entries should include details regarding : Objectives of research programme; budget level; methods and implementation; quality procedures; integration within sponsorship programme; how research was used to measure success, add value to project, attract new sponsors, etc. Emphasis should be placed on how the research was used to create, develop,  edit and revamp the sponsorship. 

This category will be judged against the following criteria:

Sponsorship scope and objectives: What were the objectives of the sponsorship and how were these to be achieved (scope of activities)

Aims of the Evaluation: What were the key aims of the research, measurement and evaluation? 

Scope of activities: What activities were used to achieve the aims? What role did each of the activities have in contributing to overall learnings? 

Evaluation design considerations: What factors were important in determining the type of evaluation conducted; what options (e.g. media valuations, profiling, tracking, impact assessment, market research...) were considered, and why/how was the eventual programme selected? 

Brief outline of information/data collected/generated: a brief overview of the results, or type of data collected, with annotations where appropriate as to how the insights answered the original objectives. 

Conclusions drawn and actions taken: How did the evaluation meet the objectives of the brief, and how it was used; what decisions or strategies were taken or amended or re-confirmed based on the results; in the case of evaluation or effectiveness research, what did the results demonstrate and has this/will this impact on future sponsorship campaigns? 

26. BEST USE OF PUBLIC RELATIONS  – supported by the Public Relations and Communications Association.

This category is open to two kinds of entries: PR stunts/tactical campaigns and PR as a piece of integrated strategy. Both can win and have won. If the category attracts enough entries, it is possible that we may split it to reflect both varieties. Ambush-style stunts are initially more eye-catching, but winning entries need to show some strategic depth. If stunt-based, try to show us how the stunt came about and how you managed to leverage the impact it generated.

27. BEST USE OF A SMALLER BUDGET (under £150,000)

Another category designed to recognise the great work being done with a smaller budget. Usual criteria apply but we are conscious of the fact that less budget limits what can be done in activation. 

28.  UKSA SPOTLIGHT AWARD - BEST SPONSORSHIP IN THE TRAVEL & TOURISM SECTOR (airlines, rail operators, travel companies, hotels, etc.)

To win the Spotlight Award, entrants will need to meet the same criteria as in other categories: namely proof of clear objectives, examples of innovative and effective activation, and concrete results.  The big difference is that the judges will be comparing sponsorships from the same industrial space. As a result they will be able to drill more deeply into the specific nuances associated with this competitive sector.


The 20/20 Vision Award is looking for outstanding executions where sublime craft has brought an exceptional creative idea to life. The category is open to every area of the sponsorship sector and will focus on areas such as design, craft, artistry, technique, expertise, talent, vision and iconic imagery. It runs alongside UKSA’s innovation award, which is concentrated more on the use of future-facing, game-changing or unorthodox technology.


This category is about technology. It has some overlap with innovation, but is more tightly-defined and less subjective. The goal here is to reward companies that use or supply technology solutions to amplify/impact a sponsorship campaign. This could be digital Out Of Home screens, digital perimeter boards, smart TVs, robots or self-driving cars – anything where a tech solution has clearly had a game-changing impact. It doesn’t have to be hardware however. VR/AR/metaverse, innovative data manipulation and delivery, smart use of mobile technology could all fit the bill. Keep in mind that the emphasis here is more on effectiveness than innovative solutions – so the winner will be the company/companies that have shifted the needle rather than simply delivered an eye-catching idea. Also remember this is an entered category, whereas innovation is decided by judges. So this is an opportunity to argue a tailored case rather than hope your entry will be selected from across the entire 2023 entry pool.

31. SPONSORSHIP AGENCY OF THE YEAR  – Large, Medium to Boutique, Breakthrough - sponsored by CSM Live

This category will be split into segments by size of agency, and possibly by type.  It is essential therefore that you provide information on fee income.   In previous years, this has meant one for large agencies (likely to have turnovers of £5 million plus) and another for Medium to Small or boutique consultancies. We also (depending on the entries)  award for Innovation and in 2024 we will also be looking for the Best Breakthrough Agency.   Entries are encouraged from both the sponsorship sales and the advisory and activation sides of the business as we will be awarding a prize to the best sales team. However the final decision as to which category an agency falls into will be down to the judges. Judges will receive all entries in one group and then filter them into sub-groups, awarding a winner in each. Their decision is final. This approach is to make sure we are measuring like with like and not unfairly penalising SMEs.  No agency should feel it is precluded from entering because of size.  

  1. Entries for this category need to offer:
    • Evidence of success over the past 12 months – indicators: revenue growth, profit uplift, new business wins, client retention, success in securing sponsors for rights holders
    • Examples of creativity and innovation either in terms of sponsorship campaigns or rights sales strategy.
    • Examples of campaign success within the industry
    • New initiatives within industry/influence/influencers within the sector
    • Staff motivation and training
    • Client testimonials



Entries to this Award are put forward by the judging team during the shortlisting process.  The trophy will go to the agency, rights holder or brand behind an eye-catching, game changing innovation. For this category, we will take a slightly softer line on objectives and evidence but will not reward innovation for innovation's sake. The winning campaign will be one which, in the judges' opinion, introduces a creative solution to a campaign’s objectives - something fresh and inventive. It does not need to be a winner in any of the categories.


The top prize will be awarded to one outstanding winner chosen from the winners of the individual categories.


This initiative shines a spotlight on some of the most talented and influential figures in the sponsorship and partnership sector.  The Champions programme replaces UKSA's long-standing Personality of the Year Award.  Champions consists of five awards covering the full gamut of sponsorship activities:  Arts & Entertainment, Sport, Community, Media and Innovation.  All we need is your recommendation with a couple of paragraphs outlining why you are nominating this individual sent to

2023 Champions are:


Amanda Fone, co-founder of NOTURNINGBACK2020 and founder and CEO of F1 Recruitment & F1 Search and Adrian Walcott, co-founder of NOTURNINGBACK2020 and founder & MD of Brands with Values


Andrew Selby, head of partnerships, Deloitte


Abby Stanworth, head of partnerships, MSix&Partners


Jon Dutton, former Chief Executive, Rugby League World Cup 2021  To view their profiles, please click here


This award recognises young executives (27 or under) working within agencies, client companies or rights holders who are making a significant impact within their organisation and the sector at large. Judges need a profile outlining what in particular makes this candidate exceptional, how he/she has impacted on your business, exceeded expectations on particular tasks and campaigns and how this translates into future career development. 

The winner of this category will win a cash prize and will be invited to a career enhancing Think!Sponsorship training workshop.

Please send a maximum of 750 words outlining what in particular makes this candidate exceptional, how he/she has impacted on your business, exceeded expectations on particular tasks and campaigns and how this translates into future career development. 

The submission should ideally come from the executive’s line manager and can include input from clients if appropriate.

Please address the points below:

Name of candidate:


Job Title:

Length of time in role:

Previous experience:

1. Why did you put this candidate through for this Award?

2. What qualities stand out as worthy of the BG Award? What does this executive bring to his/her role over and above what can be expected?

Please consider: Personality (motivation and drive); adaptability (flexibility of personality); credibility (knowledgeable, confident); innovation (tried new approaches with what results); ambition (drive and desire to succeed), entrepreneurial skills.  Tell us about their teamwork/mentorship skills.

3. Where do you think he or she will be in five years time?


Please email your submission to by the deadline of Tuesday February 20th 2024. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you need any further information or assistance. A member of the judging team will contact your candidate for a telephone conversation following which the candidate may be invited in for a more in depth face to face conversation with the Barrie Gill judging panel.  Please note that the face to face conversations will take place in early March 2024.

All finalists will be invited to the Awards Ceremony.



Please note that once you have selected the appropriate category/categories, you should also consider the Guidelines which should form the basis of all category entries.