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Sponsorship Spending On U.S. Pro Sports Leagues And Teams To Grow 7.9 Percent in 2011

October 03, 2011:

Blockbuster deals at the sanctioning body level highlight the importance corporate marketers place on pro sports

For More Information Contact:
William Chipps, IEG, LLC, Tel: 312/944-1727

Chicago, Ill. – Brushing aside economic uncertainty, swings in the stock market and ongoing labor issues, the four major U.S. pro sports leagues and teams are on track to post a 7.9 percent increase in sponsorship revenue in 2011.

Total sponsorship spending is expected to total $2.46 billion, up from $2.28 billion in 2010, according to IEG Sponsorship Report, the world’s leading authority on sponsorship.

The increase is slightly more than the 7.6 percent rise in spending the segment experienced in 2010 and outpaces both IEG SR’s projected 5.9 percent increase for the overall sponsorship industry in 2011 and the 6.1 percent increase for the entire sports category.

“Corporate interest in professional sports remains high despite the turbulent economy,” said William Chipps, IEG SR’s senior editor.

Recent deals by companies in the malt beverage and telecommunications categories demonstrate the importance corporate marketers place on pro sports sponsorships and their willingness to sign larger deals, said Chipps.

Case in point: This NBA has reportedly replaced its partnership with T-Mobile USA, Inc. with a new four-year, $45 million deal with Sprint Nextel Corp. The partnership—valued at roughly $250 million when media commitments and other contractual obligations are thrown in—represents one of the league’s largest deals.

In addition, the NHL earlier this year replaced its deal with Anheuser-Busch InBev SA/NV with a seven-year, estimated $400 million sponsorship from Molson Coors Canada and MillerCoors, LLC. The deal is the largest in the league’s history.

And if that wasn’t enough, the NFL last year replaced MillerCoors’ Coors Light with a new partnership with Anheuser-Busch beginning with the 2011 season. The deal is reportedly valued at double what MillerCoors was paying.

In addition to Anheuser-Busch, the NFL has brought on a handful of other sponsors for the 2011 season. Those include Bose Corp.; Marriott Int’l, Inc.; USAA; and BP Lubricants USA Inc.’s Castrol motor oil.

On the baseball front, Bayer Corp. this year expanded a three-year-old MLB partnership with a new deal on behalf of Bayer Advance Aspirin. The company has sponsored the league since 2008 on behalf of One A Day vitamins.

The NFL and NHL are expected to show the largest increase in spending, with the organizations and their member teams rising 8.7 percent to $946 million and 8.9 percent to $356 million, respectively. The two organizations are followed by MLB (up 6.8 percent to $585 million) and the NBA (up 6.3 percent to $572 million).

About IEG, LLC
IEG leads the way in sponsorship intelligence. With over 30 years providing insights, evaluation, and guidance, our teams bring unparalleled perspective and proven methodology to every challenge.

We partner with top brands and properties to create fresh strategies, evaluate opportunities and maximize results. Our clients rise above competitors, meaningfully engage audiences and achieve lasting impact.

A unit of WPP’s GroupM, IEG is connected to specialty sibling communications companies in media, digital and activation. GroupM is the leading global media investment management operation that also serves as parent company to WPP media agencies including Maxus, MEC, MediaCom, and Mindshare.

For more information about IEG and the sponsorship industry, please visit or call 800/834-4850 (outside the U.S. and Canada, 312/944-1727).