Jan 13, 2010 at 02:57 PM
written by Ron Seaver

And The Sponsors Say..

Hard to believe, but almost a month has gone by since I met up with Professor Jim Kahler, the Executive Director of the Center for Sports Administration at Ohio University in Las Vegas. Jim and I will be teaming up again … as we have several times already, on the presentation of the biannual NSF Corporate & Industry Survey and we were getting together in Vegas to go over this year's findings and drafting this coming year's Report.

This is the survey we present every other year at the Forum in which we reveal and discuss the thoughts, recommendations and observations of fifty of the top corporate sports sponsors and advertisers in the country. We refer to them affectionately as our "Nifty 50' and believe me, if you're in the business of selling sponsorships – you need to know what they have to say.

And that noted, I thought you might find it interesting to learn a bit about what it is they're saying now – about their sponsorships, about how the recent economic slow-down is affecting their businesses and about what the future is holding for their companies.

The first question we ask of all of our "Nifty 50" is whether they're planning on spending more money (…on sponsorships/advertising) in the coming year …. Less money … or the Same Amount of money as they have in the prior year.

There's a little "Good News … Bad News" in our "Nifty 50’s" collective responses, and first the Bad News.

There's no two ways about it, the economy is planning havoc with the concept of "business as usual"! As we've discussed in prior blogs, sponsorships have proven to be one of the best consistent means of connecting companies with their prime customers and prospects. As a result, sponsorship growth has been running in the double-digits for the last four years.

Well, not now it's not. As evidenced by the fact that 25% of our "Nifty 50" were planning on spending LESS in 2010 on their sponsorships and advertising than they did last year. (By the way – not to "sugar-coat" this … for it's significant to note that this is the HIGHEST percentage of Corporate Sponsors planning on spending LESS in the coming year than in any time in the 15 years we've been conducting the Corporate & Industry Survey.) The previous high was 20% -- predicted right around the time of 9/11/2001 – a time when all businesses immediately clamped down.

Now on the flip-side, before you start thinking that "all is lost" – it’s not. Fully 75% of our "Nifty 50" are planning on spending as much … or more … in 2010 on their sponsorships than they did last year. Times are indeed tough – or so America's top corporate sponsors have told us … but they're having no qualms about investing in programs that work.

We'll be sharing some of these thoughts in greater detail in upcoming blogs. But for now – just know that while other areas are getting stripped down to the bare bones, sponsorships --- at least those that are effective and produce results, aren't.

Ron Seaver, president of Seaver Marketing Group and The National Sports Forum, and author of "Brought to you By... - The Ultimate Sponsorship Sales System" has over twenty-five years of experience in the field of marketing and sponsorship. View all of Ron's posts here. The opinions expressed herein do not necessarily represent those of the publisher, SponsorPitch, LLC.