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Sponsorship Spending On U.S. Pro Sports Leagues and Teams To Grow 7.6 Percent In 2010

November 18, 2010:

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

Chicago, Ill. – News of the lawsuit filed by Anheuser-Busch Inc. against MLB over renewal of the brewer’s league sponsorship is one indicator of the importance corporate marketers place on partnerships with pro sports properties, especially those at the highest echelons.

Thus it should not be a surprise that the four major U.S. pro sports leagues and their teams are projected to post a 7.6 percent increase in sponsorship revenue in 2010 to $2.28 billion from $2.12 billion, according to IEG Sponsorship Report, the world’s leading authority on sponsorship.

The rise in spending marks a significant rebound from 2009, when those same entities saw a drop of 3.9 percent in total sponsorship revenue in the face of a struggling economy.

When IEG SR releases its full review of the year in sponsorship at the end of December, the higher than expected growth in pro sports will almost certainly drive actual spending for the entire sports category much higher than the 2.8 percent increase projected at the beginning of the year, even if the fortunes of amateur sports, auto racing and other pro sports such as golf and tennis lag behind.

William Chipps, IEG SR senior editor, attributes the rebound in spending to three primary factors: Pent-up demand after two years of corporate belt tightening; the availability of previously unmarketed inventory; and a resurgence in spending by the financial services category.

Case in point: The NHL this month announced a new U.S. partnership with Discover Financial Services, Inc.

In basketball, the NBA in September signed Spanish bank BBVA as its official bank, a tie that represents the league’s first partner in the category in recent history. The deal follows new ties with Bacardi U.S.A., Inc. and State Farm Insurance Cos.

On the football front, the NFL this summer replaced Bank of America Corp. with Barclaycard US, with the latter becoming the league’s official issuer of co-branded credit cards. Other new ties include Papa John’s Int’l, Inc. and—in a deal that does not begin until 2011—Anheuser-Busch as official beer, replacing Molson Coors Brewing Co.

MLB’s new partnerships for 2010 included The Scotts Co. and Bridgestone Americas, Inc., which is using the tie to promote its Firestone tire brand.

Spending at the team level also has increased this year, driven in part by renewed spending in the automobile category, as well as from financial services.

The NHL is expected to show the largest increase, with spending on the league and its member clubs rising 9.4 percent to $327 million. The hockey league is followed by the NBA (up 8.5 percent to $536 million), the NFL (up 7 percent to $870 million) and MLB (up 6.6 percent to $548 million).

“The four major pro sports leagues and their teams have largely regained their sponsorship footing after a devastating 2009,” Chipps said.

About IEG, LLC

IEG is the world’s leading provider of independent research, consulting, training and analysis on sponsorship. Founded in 1981, IEG provides corporations and properties with the strategies and tools to harness the sales and marketing power of sports, arts, entertainment and cause marketing.

IEG offers services that include sponsorship consulting, competitive intelligence and valuation. IEG also produces IEG Sponsorship Report, the industry-leading digital publication covering best practices, news and other information; the IEG Sponsorship Sourcebook, the definitive guide to sponsors, properties and agencies; and additional industry publications and sources.

IEG also is the leader in sponsorship training. Its internationally renowned Sponsorship Conference, now in its 28th year, attracts a capacity crowd of delegates each year. Through its conferences, seminars and webinars, IEG has trained more than 45,000 sponsorship executives worldwide.

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).