As Sponsorship Dollars Roll In, Fans Need to Be Taken Care Of Too

Live Sponsorship Business Broke $1 Billion Barrier Last Year but Predicted to Slow in 2008

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According to leading sponsorship agency IEG, North American-based companies will spend an estimated $1.04 billion to sponsor music venues, festivals, tours and concerts this year, capturing around seven percent of total sponsorship dollars. While this is only a four percent increase on last year after years of double-digit growth in the past, IEG senior editor William Chipps told Billboard.biz that corporate spending on live music "remains healthy."

According to the report, the most active categories include air travel, apparel, auto, beer, cable, computer storage, energy drinks, insurance, soft drinks and wireless telecoms cos., though various broader "bundled" deals have started to come through, such as Live Nation's deal with Citi last year. This deal included tour sponsorships, ticketing, venues, and one-off events like Billy Joel's summer concerts at Shea Stadium.

IEG's March sponsorship report has a separate interview with Live Nation's president of national alliances, Russell Wallach, who says that "companies are looking for bigger opportunities than traditional music sponsorships have offered them," and that they're are now asking how they can get involved with music as a year-round marketing platform.

However, it's not just a case of looking at broader platforms and packages, what we've been increasingly advocating is better communication and understanding of not only what brands and artists want out of brand-music partnerships, but also what consumers get out of them, making sure that all three parties have mutual benefit. This applies no less to the live marketplace, where the venue/festival, the artists, the consumer brands and the fans need their interests aligned, and if we dare say it, where actually the consumers/fans should be foremost in everyone's minds.
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