With the dust now settled on the 2010s, AOK Connect have looked into our crystal ball and picked out four trends that we envisage dominating the sponsorship industry over the next decade:

  1. Honing in on CSR


Corporate Social Responsibility has become a ‘must-have’ ingredient within sponsorships but has often been bandied around as a generic box-ticking exercise. Inclusion, diversity and sustainability all being buzz words that can get thrown around cheaply. Expect to see brands really hone in on what their CSR strategy looks like, identifying partnership opportunities with rights-holders that can amplify a particular key. As an example, please see the work AOK Connect did in brokering Robeco Asset Management’s partnership with City to Sea – launched to highlight Robeco’s mandate on reducing single-use plastics.

2. Inventory Management


A perennial problem amongst sponsors is how best to allocate different levels of event access, ticketing and hospitality rights with marketing, events, sponsorship and HR teams often at crossed purposes. Tickets going unallocated and unused, especially through sports sponsorships, can cause some real headaches and consternation with procurement teams as best-intentioned ROI measurables become harder and harder to track. With that in mind, The AOK Events Group launched our inventory management platform, Eventrax, in 2018 to solve such problems. Already a hit with the likes of Ricoh, Guy Carpenter and Tradition, expect to hear a lot more about Eventrax and competitor platforms in the coming years.

3. Breaking Borders – the Arts


One question that we are often getting asked by clients, looking for arts sponsorship opportunities, is how best to engage regional offices with a London-based partnership. A gallery or museum may well have their exhibition anchored at their London HQ but being able to offer prospective partners reach across multi-site offices can be a key differentiator against other opportunities. We have seen rights-holders offer more and more curator talks and temporary exhibitions at client offices, a trend that we hope continues apace.

4. Less is More


If the noughties was most synonymous with the now-dated Gold, Silver, Bronze approach to tiering sponsorships then it felt like the last decade saw the explosion of rights-holders segregating their rights into sector-friendly splits. For some rights-holders, particularly football clubs, this has seen sponsors acquired across every industry and region imaginable – great from a commercial revenue perspective but, certainly, in the instance of Manchester United, this has led to a perceived devaluation of the brand with new partnership announcements being welcomed with increasing sarcasm from the fanbase. Expect to see more rights-holders place a premium on securing fewer top tier partnerships.


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© The AOK Events Group 2020

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AOK Connect, The Engine Rooms, 150a Falcon Road, London, SW11 2LW