Jun 02, 2009 at 03:21 PM
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UPDATE: IEG says Mediaedge:cia/AdWeek Report "Erroneous"

There is no doubt that the U.S. sponsorship market has been hurt disproportionately to the worldwide sponsorship market. Some of the factors are mentioned in yesterday's release that announced global sponsorship will grow by 15% this year (compared to 2% for the U.S.). 15%?

We don't blame you if you're a little confused by this latest report from AdWeek:

"Mediaedge:cia, the WPP media agency, is issuing a report -- supported with data from sister sponsorship consultancy arm EIG [editor's note: IEG we presume] -- that forecasts significant global growth in the sector, despite the economic downturn....At a time when ad budgets are shrinking, the report predicts that spending on sponsorships and related activity will climb worldwide by 15 percent this year to $44 billion and by a little more than 2 percent in North America to roughly $17 billion, per EIG research. "

Here's the full article: MEC Forecasts Rise in Sponsorships

So what's the confusion? In February an IEG study predicted "2009 global sponsorship expenditures to reach $44.8 billion, a 3.9 percent increase over the $43.1 billion spent in ’08."

Perhaps a different methodology/definition is used among the different WPP fiefdoms, IEG and mediaedge:cia, or maybe its a simple calculation error? Or maybe that much has changed in four months (though we doubt that is the case).

Whatever the reason, the lesson here is not necessarily that there is a discrepancy of some sort in and of itself, but rather that the sponsorship industry needs a clear and consistent vision of what sponsorship is (and is not) before it can promote the industry as studies like this certainly have the potential to do. How can sponsorship professionals defend an industry under constant and at times unfair attack, when it is uncertain what exactly we (and perhaps more importantly, the media) are discussing?.

Update: IEG says the 15% projection was erroneous and will have an updated report out on Friday. More details on the way.