Re-Scheduled UK Sponsorship Awards To Be Held on March 23 2021 At London Marriott Grosvenor Square

The 2020 edition of the UK Sponsorship Awards, which was postponed due to the Covid-19 virus, will now be held on March 23 2021. Winners and finalists, which have already been selected by judges, will be announced on that night at a Gala Celebration in London’s Marriott Hotel Grosvenor Square. This edition of the event will now be referred to as the UK Sponsorship Awards 2020/21.

The UKSA organising team explored the option of hosting the event in Autumn 2020, but decided that company restrictions on attendance and rules regarding social distancing would adversely affect the event. Spring 2021 will be a more suitable time to host a live gathering that typically draws 400-500 key industry figures. It will also enable the event to maintain its regular slot in the annual events calendar.

The names of winners will be kept under lock and key until the event, in order to sustain the excitement of the reveal. In addition, however, there will be four additional new awards to compete for. Further details on these will be unveiled later this summer. Entry to these new categories will be free to anyone who has already entered the UKSA 2020/21 Awards Programme via the pre-existing categories.

All current bookings are valid and will be held over for the 2021 event.  New bookings can be made here

Promotion and marketing for UKSA 2020/21 will gear up at the end of summer 2020. But anyone with questions about event logistics should contact Rosemary Sarginson at




Sports Sponsorship: What Lies Ahead In The Post Pandemic Era

Agency Mongoose has launched its inaugural industry insights report reflecting on how brands and rights holders have responded and engaged with their audiences during the pandemic. The report highlights emerging trends set to shape the future of sports sponsorship.

What follows is a summary of the key highlights – the report in full can be downloaded here.

The impact of COVID

In relation to the sporting industry the impact of the recent pandemic has been vast, with almost every activity associated with sport affected in some way. In addition to a break in play, brands and rights holders have also had to adapt and embrace their digital platforms and identify new ways to connect with their customers in the absence of physical events. However as a result we have seen rights holders produce some fantastic content that will long be remembered beyond the pandemic – such as the seamless 2020 ‘virtual draft’ in the NFL and the 2.6 Challenge that was launched following the postponement of London Marathon to encourage countless ‘at home’ challenges aimed at saving UK charities. 

Esports and Investment 

Over the past three months we have seen an explosion of esports into the mainstream market as the industry has leveraged a lack of traditional sporting entertainment. With audience figures rocketing to an estimated 453.8 million globally and anticipated to keep growing over the next 18 months, we are seeing more and more sports brands and stars (including David Beckham) enter the esports arena in order to engage with consumers. 

We are now in a new era where Tech, Media, Gaming, Music, Fashion and Football are coming together to create an exciting new global entertainment business. We are paying close attention to cross-industry performance which is providing genuine reason for optimism as the likes of ecommerce, subscription platforms, gaming and streaming, home fitness and eLearning sectors have all experienced huge growth in recent months following immediate shifts in consumer behaviour.  READ ON


Coronavirus: To cancel or not to cancel? Football might be back, but this is a question many sports event organisers are still having to ask themselves

Hannah Laird is an associate at the law firm Farrer & Co and this article first appeared in their regular briefing - Inn the Field of Play, which can be viewed here.

The long-awaited return of the Premier League has kicked off behind closed doors, showing us what sport under the “new normal” might look like. Tennis followed hot on its heels  – but what about other sports?

The publication of DCMS’s “Stage Three” guidance permitting the return of competitive elite sport, under strict conditions, from 1 June 2020 was of course welcome news; but it poses as many questions as answers for sports organisations (as well as contractors, insurers, staff and athletes). Despite the return of athletes to training and the increase in the number of matches and competitions now taking place without spectators, the immediate future of competitive sport remains uncertain, with major questions still hanging over many events.

Many sporting events have already been cancelled or postponed. However, many event organisers are still grappling with the decision for future competitions or matches; whether or not the calendar will accommodate rearranged fixtures; can the requirements of Stage Three guidance be met; and how to plan for the eventuality that there could be a second round of cancellations following a second wave of the virus, or as a result of knock-on economic and social effects?

One of the key Stage Three requirements is to have “a decision-making structure and agreed procedure in place to modify, restrict, postpone or cancel” the event. This article does not attempt to cover all the Stage Three requirements. It is instead a short step-by-step guide to assess your exposure to your contracting parties and lead you through the potentially complex decision-making process of whether your existing event (be it new or longstanding) could or should be cancelled.

Step 1 - Review your contracts and insurance policies

Assess your contractual position, starting with the basics: could we cancel if we needed to? Could we apply force majeure? Do we have a termination right? The answers to these questions are very likely to change from contract to contract, so there will be no single approach on timing or strategy that works equally well for sponsorships and broadcasting as it might for catering, security, programme printing etc. Of course, you may now be dealing with contracts that have already been varied since the issue first arose in March 2020.  READ ON

Resilience And Adaptation: How Motorsport Responded To A Covid-19 Enforced Break

With NASCAR already back on the grid in the US, and Formula 1 preparing to return in early July, the world of live motorsport is edging back to normality. But, as James Flude,  Account Manager, CSM Sport and Entertainment,  writes , the lack of on-track action over the past few months did not result in off-track inaction. 

The late, great Sir Stirling Moss once said that “to achieve anything in this game, you must be prepared to dabble in the boundary of disaster”. 

His words were about safety in motorsport, but at a time of unprecedented global disruption, they could equally provide inspiration for how the motorsport world is adapting to find new methods of achievement.

When Formula 1’s season-opening Australian Grand Prix was cancelled in March, the sport was at the centre of a major global crisis. A positive coronavirus test within the paddock had seen the McLaren team withdraw from the Grand Prix, with the race itself called off just hours before cars were due to take to the track.

With cars in the pits across the world, and Formula 1 licking its wounds from the fiasco in Melbourne, motorsport could have been forgiven for taking an extended mid-season break. A chance to hibernate, protect self-interest and allow others to take control of the coronavirus pandemic before normal service is resumed. But in a sport that lives on the cutting edge, innovation remains everywhere.

Throughout this crisis, there have been standout stories of exceptional achievement from manufacturers and engineers within the field. The Mercedes AMG Formula 1 team partnered with University College London to create a pioneering ventilation device to aid patients with the virus that were struggling to breathe.  MORE

Irish Sports Industry United In Support Of Return To Major Events In 2020

As sporting events continue to shape up for a return to play, nine in ten members of the Irish sports industry group Sport for Business believe that major sports events should proceed behind closed doors or with reduced capacity across the remainder of 2020, according to new research by consultants ONSIDE. 

The second wave of the ONSIDE COVID-19 SPORTS IMPACT MONITOR survey of Sponsors, Rightsholders, Broadcasters and Agencies found that over half of sports industry stakeholders (53%) agree with major sports events going behind closed doors this year, and a further 35% think sports in Ireland should go ahead in 2020 with reduced capacity in venues. 

According to John Trainor, Founder and CEO of ONSIDE: “There may still be a lot to play for in 2020 as three in four sports industry stakeholders expect to see sports events such as the FAI League of Ireland and Irish International fixtures going ahead later this year, with two in three anticipating the return of Guinness 6 Nations and PRO14 games in the second half of 2020.”   MORE

Covid-19 Resilient Brands Report From caytootarget™ - Available For Free Download

It's a strange time trying to prospect but the harsh reality for businesses is that the show must go on says Jeremy Thompson, CEO and co-founder of caytoo – at least in trying to start or keep conversations going for when 'normality' returns. It’s important to keep the wheels turning…

Brands have been hunkering down, people have been furloughed, the news agenda has been dominated by infection and death rates and market chaos at a global level. But the harsh reality is that the show must go on – the more we all row back now, the longer the recovery will take, and the more share we’ll lose in the meantime. Here’s some evidence:
  • A Kantar study found that if a brand cut all its advertising spend during the crisis, this would have a 13% impact on sales in the long run and make market share hard to recover. However, a 50% drop in ad spend would result in just a one percent drop in sales.
  • WARC report said that:  “Evidence from previous recessions shows longer periods off air will weaken brand health and damage market share due to a reduction in share of voice.” The report goes onto show that due to the level of advertising spend reduction in the last recession it took the ad industry eight years to properly recover.

Read on for information about free download

Four In Ten Support A Return To Live Sport In Ireland In 2020

One in five Irish adults support the idea of playing landmark Irish sporting events including the GAA Senior Football & Hurling Championships, Guinness 6 Nations & Autumn Series Rugby and FAI League of Ireland behind closed doors and viewable digitally in the second half of 2020, with a further 17% in favour of reduced capacity crowds being allowed to attend such games, according to new research by sponsorship consultants ONSIDE. 

The latest wave of the ONSIDE Sponsorship Market Monitor has revealed that 44% of Irish adults claim that they will only attend live sports events or concerts when a vaccine is available for Covid-19, with the varying sports fan bases of GAA, Rugby and Irish soccer largely aligned on their return to play preferences.

Four in ten Irish adults also believe the remaining Republic of Ireland Senior Men’s International Team qualifiers for the postponed UEFA European Championships in 2021 at the Aviva Stadium should be played out later this year. According to John Trainor, Founder and CEO of ONSIDE: “Age is a definite factor in Irish adults’ return to play preferences. While three in 10 young Irish adults aged 18-24 are against these games being played out this year, this grows to 52% of adults aged 45-64”.

Trainor continued: “The return to sports on the global stage has been a success for early movers so far, with high interest and viewership gains won for many. Over six million viewers tuned in across Germany for Sky’s coverage of the return to football between Borussia Dortmund and Schalke, which represents a doubling of what would have been expected for the game under normal circumstances. Similarly, the return of Nascar's North American stock car racing series on May 17th delivered an average audience of 6.32 million viewers for US broadcast network Fox, up nearly 40% compared to the last race to take place before the series was paused due to the current pandemic.”

Trainor noted that: “Among the 17% in favour of events going ahead in Ireland with live attendees later this year, 50% capacity is the preferred option, with close to one in 10 generally open to the major sports events tested in our research being played in half filled sports stadia”.

The ONSIDE survey also uncovered a more cautious approach by the Irish public to returning to live music, arts and theatre performances at major indoor venues in 2020, with one in four in favour of reduced capacity or digitally streamed music concerts, while close to 6 in 10 would rather see such events in major indoor entertainment venues hold off on a return until 2021.  

Striking a somewhat positive note for income streams of sports, music and theatre rights holders in Ireland, 30% of Irish adults would be ready to buy a ticket now to a major sports, music or theatre event that is due to take place in the first half of next year. Trainor notes that: “Encouragingly for the indoor music and theatre sector, their ‘regular fans’ in particular are more likely to be ready to buy into 2021 shows now, with 48% of regular goers to venues like the 3 Arena and Bord Gáis Energy Theatre ready to buy tickets now for 2021 shows at such venues”.

Testing the business case for sponsorship within this landscape, the latest ONSIDE research found that 53% of sports fans and 60% of music and arts event goers believe that in today’s economy, it is more important than ever for companies to invest in sponsorship and 56% of avid Irish sports fans went on to say that they would be more inclined to support companies or brands who in turn continue to support their favourite sports events and teams through sponsorship.

There's a New Normal Coming for Sports Rights Holders - Are You Ready?

Sport is proving to be one of the higher profile business casualties of the pandemic with far-reaching economic, social and structural consequences for the future revenues of rights holders. From elite to grassroots and governing bodies to promoters - every organisation will be affected.

In addition, post-pandemic sport has a significant role to play in the recovery process, starting with our own wellbeing - both mental and physical. And as we return to watching and playing, sport will be a key ‘signifier’ of life returning back to normal.

But it won’t be the same normal - a ‘new normal’ is upon us.

The economics of sport will change post pandemic and to think we can return to a ‘business as usual’ scenario is wishful thinking. As a result, the revenue pressures on many stakeholders will be significant, whether it’s rights holders, national governing bodies, promoters, stadia, fans, sponsors or media.

Sport’s current commercial models require some lasting changes. What will be key to mitigating against harmful outcomes will be how rights holders approach the need to adapt, innovate and compromise.

Mallory Group, along with Rob Pope and Roco Communications, have published their strategy for sports rights holders to face these challenges head-on. There's a New Normal Coming for Sports Rights Holders - Are You Ready? delves into the commercial implications of this ‘new normal’, bringing insight and solutions. From the 11 key challenges currently facing rights holders to the commercial implications of this new normal, they present the three pillars of activity rights holders should focus on as they look to create a profitable future: smarter B2B, digital transformation and social purpose.

You can download the paper here.

Covid-19 - Sports Marketer's Guide From Activative

2020 was set to be a blockbuster sporting year crowned by the Tokyo Olympics and the first cross-continent UEFA European Championships, but coronavirus shut down live sport in the spring and reduced the glorious summer of sport to speculation and sparsity. 


Sponsorship activation intelligence and insights company Activative's complimentary 'Covid-19 - Sports Marketer's Guide' spans the key strategies, tactics, creative trends and stand-out campaigns. It analyses how sports and sponsorship marketers are responding to the pandemic, showcases the best work and outlines what comes next.

As well as the tragic human cost, agencies, sports-wear brands, sponsors and rights-holders are scrambling to understand the scale of the virus’ savage impact on their business and their fans The Covid-19 crisis sees sports marketers facing up to an entirely new reality and an unprecedented challenge. 

What are the appropriate effective responses to a set of challenges that include: 
• How to work with colleagues, clients, partners, talent and fans from home? 
• How to understand and adapt to changing fan emotions, needs and locations? 
• How to pivot strategies and spend in the short, medium and long term? 
• How to stay in business with so little live sport? 

This reviews aims to offer some answers to the questions and solutions to the challenges. 
To download your free report, please click here 

Covid-19 Set To Halve 2020 Sports Calendar – Analysis From Two Circles

Only 53% of the sports events originally scheduled for 2020 are likely to take place this calendar year according to projections by data-driven sports marketing Two Circles.

Two Circles works with over 300 of the world’s leading sports properties and through its global Sports Attention Index, tracks the number of sports events taking place globally. 

Originally, 49,803 major sports events were scheduled for 2020, however global social-distancing measures introduced as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic have led to a large proportion of sports events being postponed or cancelled. In March, only 1,870 of the originally-scheduled 5,584 events (33%) took place.

As of April 20, Two Circles models – which update daily based on changes in the rate of infections and confirmed scheduling alterations – show that 26,424 events are due to be held by calendar-end. This is 53% of the events anticipated pre-Covid-19.

As a result of the interruption to live sport, as of April 20, Two Circles estimates that the global sports industry will generate $73.7bn in revenue in 2020 – $61.6bn less than the $135.3bn projected before the Covid-19 outbreak. In 2019, the global sports industry generated $129bn in revenue and it had been anticipated the industry would grow by 4.9% year-on-year before Covid-19 struck.

Gareth Balch, Two Circles CEO, said: “Sports properties are keen to return as soon as possible as the longer the sports calendar is on hiatus, the worse the financial impact will be. However, sport should – and will – only return when it is deemed safe to do so, and with the support of all relevant government and medical authorities. Even hosting sport without crowds poses a complex challenge.”

Properties such as German football’s Bundesliga plan to recommence from May, albeit with only 240 people - including players, coaching and medical staff, match officials and production staff – involved per game. Sports in countries where Covid-19 infections appear to have peaked, such as South Korea and New Zealand, are also eyeing behind-closed-doors returns.  MORE

Insight from Sportcal: Impact of Covid-19 on 2020 Sporting Calendar June–December


Sportcal, UKSA 2020 partner, has taken a close look at the potential economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic on some of the biggest sporting properties.  Click here to read detailed report. 

Viewpoint: How To Connect In This Period Of Isolation

In the first of our features from CSM Sport & Entertainment, Ryan SawrieSenior Director, Integrated Marketing in the US asks how we can create the feeling of connection with enough scale for it to make sense for marketers in an age of isolation.

As social distancing has become the new norm around the world, brands and marketers are naturally reconsidering their campaign plans. A first and obvious thought many turn to is, “How can we pivot more resources to digital and social media for this campaign?” As long-time digital marketers, we think that’s a great idea! 

An uptick in social media activity is already being noticed by agencies and media companies - upwards of 76 percent more likes have been tracked on Instagram and TikTok influencers have seen engagement jump by over 27 percent.  So, here are some things to consider as you ideate around the new normal we find ourselves in. 

Treat digital channels differently

One of the biggest mistakes when it comes to social media that marketers make is treating social channels as a dumping ground. Often this pressure comes from senior leadership in the company who might think that their messaging should appear everywhere possible all the time. READ ON

Maximising The Value Of Sports Assets

This interview with Gareth Balch, chief executive of Two Circles, was first published by our partners Sportcal and is republished here with their kind permission. 

What will be the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on sport’s revenue model, and how can it look to emerge for the better?

The short-term impact is considerable and largely unavoidable for any sport in the business of monetising live events. However, compared to most other industries, sport has proved to be recession-resilient, coming through crises like the global recession a decade ago relatively unscathed in the long-term. So while live sport is halted everyone in sport will feel financial pain, but there is every reason to suggest that once the pandemic subsides and live sport returns, whether that’s behind closed doors and or with full houses, sport will thrive once again.

Sport was clearly hit hard and early by the pandemic. For many sports rights-owners and others in their supply chains, this lockdown of live sport will result in cash reserves being drained and ultimately some businesses going bankrupt. We should also never look past the human challenges that come with that type of economic challenge. Equally, as a former athlete, the implications of lost opportunities for athletes will be hard felt, which is why our primary focus at Two Circles is on creating the healthiest environment for our people and supporting our clients to do similarly.   MORE

5 Ways Mass Participation Sport Can Survive COVID-19

Diccon Loy is Director and Founder of Participation Sport Ltd

COVID-19 will have significant impact on us all. Whether health-wise or economically, to ourselves and our loved ones. So, our first thoughts are to everyone affected by Coronavirus and to the amazing army of care workers, key workers and everybody leading the fight against this virus. This will end - and we come out stronger. 

Once the virus is contained and controlled, we will start to explore the economic remedies. Here, I take a longer-term look at the likely impact of and possible remedies to the COVID-19 crisis on one sector in particular. Coronavirus has stopped the mass participation sport events (MPSE) industry in its tracks.  Every sector of business has or will feel the impact of the shutdown. MPSE was one of the first sectors impacted. By definition, our events bring people together, which of course is something currently being actively discouraged.   MORE

Viewpoint: What To Do When Everything Stops 

Jasper Hunter, Managing Partner - Amsterdam, M&C Saatchi Sport & Entertainment

In the middle of January I was telling anyone who would listen that this was going to be one of the greatest years for sports fans in the Netherlands for decades. A triumphant return to Zandvoort was to set the scene before Amsterdam became the destination every Euro 2020 fan wanted to visit. Some predictions don’t age well… 

Covid-19 had different ideas and with the sporting and entertainment calendars in tatters the question we at M&C Saatchi Sport & Entertainment have been asking ourselves is, much like everyone else in the industry, what now?

The first thing to say is that sport and entertainment have rightly been put on the back burner as the necessary and immediate steps are taken to safeguard our health’s and health services’. And whilst the bans on mass gatherings and safeguarding measures will continue as long as they must, business too must go on. The fundamental importance of this cannot be overstated, our clients still need us to help them trade and do business whilst audiences still need entertainment and escapism, arguably more than ever. The wheels must continue to turn.  More

Sponsorium Pledges Action Plan To Help Sponsorship Industry Globally And Offers Services To Brands For Free

As a direct consequence of governments across all continents banning public gatherings until further notice, thus forcing the cancellation or indefinite postponing of thousands of sporting, cultural or community events worldwide, Sponsorium is calling upon the sponsorship industry to mobilise.

With companies are forced to cut costs, with marketing budgets likely at the top of the list, management could question, amongst other things, the value of their sponsorship programmes. 

Sponsorium recommends the following best practice for rights holders to keep their sponsorship deals alive:

1. Send a message to your sponsors, offering your help. Find the area, on a case by case, where your event or project can benefit them during the growing state of emergency caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

2. If you can, provide additional data on your event or project, i.e surveys or research.

3. Offer a free PR campaign to your sponsors if you can.

4. With the Olympics being postponed, there will be new opportunities available. Think of offering additional sponsorship opportunities that would add value and strengthen your sponsorship agreement.

5. Share the following link with your preferred sponsors as a gesture of goodwill:

Paul Pednault, CEO, says “Sponsorium is in a unique position to offer corporate sponsors worldwide some added support which we hope can help ease the strain on their resources in the coming weeks/months.”

Sponsorium, a leader in cloud platforms for sponsors to assess, manage and report on their sponsorship activities, is offering its platform services for free during the pandemic.

UKSA Sponsorship Awards Celebrations -September 21 2020

In light of the current Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, the UKSA event organisers have postponed the event until Monday 21st September 2020. 

This decision has been taken in light of the most recent WHO and UK medical advice, with a view to safeguarding our friends and colleagues in the industry. We thank you for your understanding at this challenging time for all of us.

The names of winners and finalists will be unveiled at the rescheduled event – just as they would have been on March 24th. All tables and tickets purchased remain valid and will be transferred to the new date. 
If you have any immediate questions, please get in touch  -  Otherwise, we hope you and your families stay safe and well during this outbreak.  



What is a Sponsorship Award? For individuals as well as businesses We're here to help you succeed!
Winning a Sponsorship Award isn't just a pat on the back and a splendid trophy to dress your foyer (though it’s certainly that as well), it brings with it tangible benefits and long-lasting commercial impact. Click here for ten reasons why you should enter and a host of testimonials from winners. The sponsorship industry is peopled by fantastically enthusiastic and dynamic individuals. We recognise these executives in two categories. For more information on these categories, please click here. We are also on hand for any help/advice you might need, so please click on the Help! button, send us an email and we will come back to you by return.

It doesn't have to be an Awards related query - if we don't know the answer, we’ll find someone who does.

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The awards in a nutshell

What is a Sponsorship Award?

Winning a Sponsorship Award isn't just a pat on the back and a splendid trophy to dress your foyer (though it’s certainly that as well), it brings with it tangible benefits and long-lasting commercial impact. Click here for ten reasons why you should enter and a host of testimonials from winners.

For individuals as well as businesses

The sponsorship industry is peopled by fantastically enthusiastic and dynamic individuals. We recognise these executives in two categories. For more information on these categories, please click here.

We're here to help you succeed!

We are also on hand for any help/advice you might need, so please click on the Help! button, send us an email and we will come back to you by return.

It doesn't have to be an Awards related query - if we don't know the answer, we’ll find someone who does.