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High Profile Sports Events Likely To Still Find Sponsors In Asia

Channel NewsAsia, February 03, 2009

SINGAPORE: The economic downturn is expected to result in a dip in corporate sports sponsorship. In the United States, the recent IEG Sponsorship Report projected annual growth in sponsorship will be 2.2 per cent this year. This is down significantly from the over 11 per cent increase in 2008.

Industry watchers said the recession could put the brakes on sponsorship spending.

For instance, tie-ups with high profile events like the Formula 1 Grand Prix can cost millions of dollars and companies watching their bottom lines will scrutinise whether it pays to sponsor such big ticket events.

Ben Heyhoe Flint, regional director, Asia, Repucom International, said: "I think the corporates will be looking at leaner, more cost effective measures for 2009 for more of the unofficial hospitality going on in the hotels and around the track. Also maybe some will completely cancel any corporate hospitality."

There's been no mention of sponsors pulling out of this year's F1 race just yet.

But industry watchers are also concerned about the crowd turnout which will have an impact on the scale of the event and corporates will also bear that in mind when deciding on sponsorship deals.

Some companies will look at the downturn as an opportunity to maximise their brand awareness.

Insurer Aviva currently sponsors badminton tournaments and triathlons. It has signed a two-year deal worth over $1S million for the title sponsorship for the Aviva Open Singapore.

Shaun Meadows, CEO, Aviva Singapore, Hong Kong, and Middle East, said: "Singapore is aiming to become a real hub for sports around the world. I think demand for sponsorship in Singapore and its value may well go up in the medium term."

The recently concluded Volvo Ocean Race Singapore Stopover allowed sponsor UBS to gain mileage for its brand. UBS said the race also helped develop sailing as a sport here.

With the Youth Olympic Games coming to Singapore next year, there is no shortage of high profile events in Asia and sports marketeers feel they will continue to give companies opportunities to maximise their brands despite the downturn.