Airline sponsorship is struggling to take off...

According to a recent report from Two Circles, sport sponsorship spend by airlines is predicted to drop a huge 61%. The airline industry spent $830m on sponsorship in 2019, with notable deals including Emirates' sponsorships of Real Madrid, Arsenal, and the FIA Formula 1 World Championship. This is reported to fall as low as $330m in 2020.


The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on the aviation industry due to the resulting travel restrictions as well as a slump in demand among travellers. Earlier this month, the International Air Transport Association estimated that the airline industry could lose between$63 to $133 billion in revenues due to the reduced number of passengers.


Despite all the uncertainty around the airline industry, sponsorship spend won't end entirely. In fact, SportsProMedia report that Emirates is likely to renew its sponsorship of AC Milan - albeit on reduced terms - though that is due more to Milan's competitiveness on the pitch.


Overall, it is predicted that the sponsorship industry will drop by 37% to $28.9bn. Automotive and Energy are expected to also significantly scale back during this time. The impacts of the virus do also provide opportunity. 


There’s been significant shifts towards fast-growth industries that overcome the restrictions of movement (such as e-commerce and cloud computing). For sports rights-holders, there has also been a shift towards digital – many teams and leagues have had to reassess the value of their digital assets. Both of these trends are likely to persist well-after COVID-19 has dissipated. 

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