New Categories For 2020/2021 UK Sponsorship Awards

Outstanding Activations during the Coronavirus Crisis

Our new categories are designed to shine a spotlight on the resilience of the sponsorship sector during the ongoing Covid-19 crisis. Entry to the new Covid-19 categories will be free to anyone who has already entered the 20/21 edition of the Awards, and available at a non-for-profit price (£185) to new participants. The new category finalists and winners will be unveiled at the Gala Dinner on March 23rd 2021 when the 2020 winners will be revealed. 

1. Arts, Cultural & Social Partnerships & Projects

2. Sports Partnerships & Projects

3. Media Partnerships & Projects covers all forms – TV, Online, Social, etc.

To enter these categories, campaigns need to have been active between March and November 2020 (can be ongoing).  Given the changed circumstances of this challenging period, judges will want to understand the rationale, activation, outputs and outcomes of the campaign.  What were the challenges/restrictions faced (logistical? financial? etc.). How did previous strategies need to change? What new tactics/new media channels have been employed?  Virtual? Online? Mobile? PR? What has been learnt that can be put into practice in the future.


4. Best Team Collaboration & Contribution to Activity During the Coronavirus Crisis

This Award recognises teams that have risen to the challenge during these uncertain times, creating and/or activating outstanding campaigns. Describe how the team was built (or reorganised) during the crisis and how new communication techniques were put into play. Explain how creativity was inspired and shared, how ideas were sold into disparate decision-makers (some of them possibly working from home). Consider some of the following questions. Was it necessary to work within limited resources because of the impact of Covid-19? What new methods of research were used to calculate success? What has been learnt that can be put into practice in the future – maybe in terms of company culture or responsibilities? Please use the catch all form and ignore any irrelevant questions by writing n/a. 

5. Most Inspiring New Business Win (secured between March and November 30 2020)

The last six months have been one of most difficult periods ever to win new business – with many brands cutting budgets and face to face meetings off the agenda. Against this challenging backdrop, we want companies to tell us how they won additional business – either from existing or new clients. How did you persuade a remote decision-maker that you were the right agency for the job – or that now was the time to increase spend? What did it take to get on the consideration list? How did you handle the mechanics of remote pitching? What brilliant ideas persuaded the client that you were the right partner in this disrupted sponsorship landscape? The aim of this category is to show sponsorship is a marketing discipline that is capable of adapting to market change and thriving in adversity.

Please use the catch all form and ignore any irrelevant questions by writing n/a. To enter you will need to REGISTER


UKSA 2020 - the following categories are now closed and will be reopened in September 2021 for the 2022 Awards

1. Arts & Cultural Sponsorships 

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.

2. Live Entertainment & Event Sponsorship - sponsored by Hammerson

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.

3. Social Purpose Sponsorship

This category is designed to reward campaigns that make a difference (it was previously called Charity and Corporate Community Engagement). Sometimes, 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.  If this is unclear, contact the UKSA team to discuss. 

4.  Education & Learning Sponsorship

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.

5.   Sustainability Sponsorship 
We're looking for sponsorships with a 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. Best Sponsorship of Women's Activities - 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. Sponsorships of all descriptions are eligible – not just sports. Please contact the UKSA organisers if you are unsure about whether you fit the criteria.

7.  Best Use Of Sponsorship To Encourage Diversity & Inclusion

The Diversity & Inclusion category is recognition that the UK - like many countries - still has a long way to go in terms of demonstrating true social inclusiveness. Examples of partnerships that might fit this category include sponsorships that support the LGBT community, sponsorships that have increased opportunities for the BAME community in some way, and sponsorships that have addressed the numerous challenges that exist around disability. Echoing the comments made regarding the Women's Activities category, the 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, 2019’s category winner was Citroen sponsors First Dates 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.  

9. Print, Radio and Film Sponsorship

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.

10. Best Online Sponsorship or Owned Media Activation

This category covers two key scenarios. Firstly, sponsorships that originate on native digital platforms such as Buzzfeed, Huffington Post or AOL - i.e., not sponsorships that begin in other media such as TV and get carried through to online. Secondly, activations through company-owned websites, platforms and/or channels. The latter group may in some circumstances be stand-alone activations, but are more likely to be activations of larger sponsorship programmes (for example, a gaming platform created on the back of a sports or entertainment sponsorship with the intention of capturing consumer data).

11. Best Use of Social Media

This category rewards the most innovative and effective work in online and mobile social media. This can include YouTube but is not about ‘owned media’ such as company or club websites. Whether it’s Facebook, Twitter or some other platform (or maybe a combination of them all), we want to see examples of how social media is transforming the way sponsorship supports branding or corporate objectives. Please provide clear evidence of success, especially around audience engagement levels. 

12.  Best Use of Mobile in Sponsorship

This category rewards brands that have made the best use of mobile’s attributes to support their sponsorship. There is an overlap with the social media category – but the winner will be the entry that has placed the unique capabilities of mobile at the heart of its strategy. Aside from mobile-first social media strategies, this category could also cover sponsorships that utilise mobile in areas such as audio, payments, ticketing, video content, VR, AR and gaming. Sponsorships that also take advantage of mobile devices as ubiquitous pieces of hardware that accompany people everywhere could also fit within this category. Tablets are also covered by this category.

13.  Branded Content

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.

14. Best Use Of Celebrity & Influencer Endorsement 

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.

15. Sports SponsorshipSponsored by Dataflow Events and supported by Sport England and UK Sport

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, Football Sponsorship, Naming Rights (26),  Mass Participation Sponsorship (28) and the Rights Holder Award (21)

16. 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.

17. Football Sponsorship 

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 if there are sufficient entries to justify this.  Entrants into this category are also free to enter any other category – including sport and grassroots sport

18. Best Gaming-Based Sponsorship (inc. eSports)

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.

19. Mass Participation Sponsorship

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.

20. Naming Rights

Best Use of Naming Rights is designed to reward companies that have made great 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 naming rights deals would be the first direct arena, SSE Arena, The O2, the Emirates Arena Glasgow, etc.

21.  Rights Holders Award

Rights holders have a wide range of valuable assets including their audience, fan base, membership/season ticket holder databases, broadcast and digital media exposure, branding and activation opportunities, corporate hospitality offerings, facilities, access to ambassadors, community outreach, etc. The purpose of this category is to showcase rights holder organisations across all sectors that have used their assets to maximise their income streams and provide better and more attractive offerings for potential sponsors and partners.

Judges will reward organisations that have a clear understanding of the identification and profile of their audiences, who have mined, sliced and diced their databases to ensure that they are sending the most appropriate and effective messages to engage fans with their sponsor partners. The judges will also be looking to see how effectively this has been communicated to the marketplace and that the marketing and sales teams are working together to offer a ‘best fit’ opportunity with optimum activation possibilities for partners.

Entry to this Award will not follow the structure of other submissions. The entry should look at sponsorship programme as a whole and use particular campaigns as examples. Anyone seeking more information on the Award should contact us on 020 8891 1067 or email  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.

22. B2B Sponsorship 

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.

23. 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. 

The winning brand in this category will receive a free one-year license to Community and Sponsorship Management Software PerforMind. Shortlisted brands will receive a free 6-month license. The software allows you to manage all your incoming requests, assess your current portfolio and generate reports. PerforMind helps you carry out the ongoing administration of your sponsorship efforts with enhanced efficiency, clarity and ease. And that frees you to benefit from the new perspective you obtain over your portfolio, one that helps you engage fully in proactive sponsorship or CSR management.

24. First Time Sponsor Award 

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.

25. Sponsorship Continuity

This category is open to sponsorship campaigns which have been in place for a minimum of four years and have been renewed at least once. 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".

26. The International Sponsorship Award
A multi-market sponsorship, for brand or corporate entity, which is targeting/ has targeted audiences in three or more countries. 

27. Best Use of Research and Evaluation in a Sponsorship Campaign - sponsored by YouGov Sport

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. Please click here for full details. 

28. Best Use of Public Relations in a Sponsorship Campaign – supported by the Public Relations Consultants 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.

29. Special Award for Effective Use Of A Smaller Budget (under £100,000)

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. 

30. Sponsorship Agency of the YearLarge, Medium to Small, Breakthrough

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 2020 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


31.  UKSA Spotlight Award - Best Sponsorship InThe TMT Sectors (Technology, Media, Telecommunications) 

To win the TMT 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.

32. Best World Cup Sponsorship 

This category celebrates campaigns connected to any World Cup played within the qualifying period. High-profile events to have taken place this year include the Cricket World Cup, the Rugby World Cup and a breakthrough edition of the FIFA Women’s Football World Cup. However, any sponsorship created around a sporting World Cup is eligible.To win this category, entries need to meet all the usual criteria – clear objectives, creative executions and strong campaign results. Judges will pay attention to the reasons why this mode of sponsorship made sense, and how the brand in question took advantage of the unique attributes associated with World Cups.

33. 2020 Vision Award - A Celebration of Sponsorship Craft and Creativity - NEW CATEGORY

The 2020 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.

Sponsorship Innovation Of The Year
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.

UKSA Champions of Sponsorship

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  


The Barrie Gill Award for Most Promising Young Sponsorship Executive - partnered by Global Sports

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).

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

Please email your submission to by the deadline of February 14 2021. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you need any further information or assistance. A judge will contact you to discuss your candidate in more detail following which conversation the candidate may be invited to join the small judging panel for a face to face chat.

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.