Dec 19, 2019 at 12:00 AM
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Our Top Sponsorship Stories From 2019

Each year, we look back at our data set of sponsorship deals to identify the biggest trends from the year. This year that data set includes over 5000 sponsorship deals. Here's some of the biggest headlines from 2019 in the sponsorship world. 

CBD Goes Mainstream - While much hype had surrounded CBD headed into 2019, surprisingly few mainstream sponsorship deals had been signed. That changed this year when major players with big bucks, like cbdMD, started started signing athletes and events to gain awareness and land grab in this emerging category. 

Ordering Up Sponsorships - While rideshare was the sponsorship focus for companies like Uber a few years back, the focus now has shifted to the ultra-competitive food delivery market with DoorDash, Uber Eats and Postmates all executing on prominent new sponsorships this year to capture market share. With the category still growing, particularly in smaller markets, expect these players to keep spending on new partnerships that can cost-efficiently help acquire new customers.

IMG/Endeavor IPO Flop - Endeavor's failed IPO didn't garner much press attention in September, largely because it was overshadowed by WeWork's much more high profile IPO implosion just weeks earlier. Nevertheless, the after effects of the largest sports and entertainment sponsorship agency in the world having to last minute scrap a $600 million raise are still unknown. Will the company have to raise money in early 2020 and what about employees who missed a big payday - will they stick around? The answers could have an impact on the sponsorship ecosystem next year. 

Hard Seltzer Sponsorships - This is a rollover from 2018. While the sponsorship category was heating up in '18, few would have expected its meteoric growth this year as it grows at a much faster pace than other forms of alcohol including beer and wine. Particularly popular with active, health conscious millennials, hard seltzer brands signed the category's first sponsorships with the NFL, NHL, the Big 12 Conference, the Kentucky Derby and teams like the Indiana Pacers and FC Cincinnati all jumped into the seltzer waters this year. 

Jersey Sponsorships Up For Review - 14 NBA teams started the 2017-18 season with three-year jersey patch sponsorships meaning the 2019-2020 season will mark the final year of the first wave of these popular deals. While the jersey patch program has widely been viewed as a success, bringing in more than $150M for teams, the real proof will be on whether the jersey partnerships renew after their first cycle or whether they're largely one-off partnerships that end after this season. Needless to say, there will be a lot of money on the line with these renewal decisions.

Programmatic Partnerships - We've heard for a long time that programmatic is coming to sponsorships much like it has re-shaped other forms of advertising. So far it seems that sponsorships are at least as much an art than a science, but perhaps there's something to offering brands the ability to buy sponsorships at scale. While many industry folks are weary of standardization, one upside is that a scalable transaction infrastructure for buying sponsorships would likely bring more dollars into the sponsorship marketplace at large from buyers that are used to programmatic in other forms of advertising. You'll be hearing more from us on this in 2020, but you can start building your sponsorship proposal here!

That's our rundown of some of the top sponsorship trends in '19. If you want to see all of the sponsorship deals that happened this year, you can download them with SponsorPitch's handy deal export feature and there's still time to upgrade your subscription in 2019 with our end of year 20% discount. Subscribe with the discount code "2020" by midnight, 12/31/2019 to take advantage and start 2020 with the world's #1 sponsorship platform!