Europe’s two leading sponsorship associations, the European Sponsorship Consultants Association and the Institute of Sports Sponsorship are set to merge. Osborne Clarke partner and ESCA board director Nick Johnson reports.
Who: The European Sponsorship Consultants Association and The Institute of Sports Sponsorship
When: September 2003
The Institute of Sports Sponsorship (ISS) and the European Sponsorship Consultants Association (ESCA) are proposing to form a new organisation, the European Sponsorship Association (ESA) which will look after and promote the interests of the sponsorship industry across Europe.
Why this matters:
The sponsorship industry across Europe is now worth almost €8 billion per annum (£5.4 billion) and as more money is committed to sponsorship programmes and associated activity there is a greater need for a single unified body to represent the industry. Osborne Clarke’s Nick Johnson is a board director of ESCA. One of the immediate aims of the European Sponsorship Association, he says, will be to expand its European operation, through increased membership, mainland Europe events and providing better and increased benefits to the members.
‘This is a great step forward for the sponsorship industry’, commented ESCA chairman, Nigel Currie. ‘ESA will be able to deliver a complete range of information and services for everyone who works in sponsorship. The ISS has an outstanding network of contacts within the industry and, of course, in sport. Combined strength is exactly what the sponsorship industry needs to champion its ever growing contribution to the marketing of products, brands and services across Europe’.
Commenting on the proposed merger, chairman of ISS, Alan Burdon-Cooper, said ‘ISS and ESCA complement each other very well. ESCA has developed an outstanding reputation and working relationship with the European Commission and national governments and has created some outstanding training and education programmes which have helped move the industry forward. The combined strengths of both sets of memberships will be much more effective going forward as one united body’.
The ISS was set up in 1985 to represent the interests of the sports sponsorship industry and to promote best practice. In England it also administers Sportsmatch, the UK government’s business sponsorship incentive scheme for grass roots sport. ESCA was established in 1990 and represents the interest of sponsorship consultancies and other professionals who work within the industry across Europe. Outside the UK, ESCA works very closely with the EU in Brussels advising on a number of major issues affecting the sponsorship industry and has reputation and members in most European countries.
Plans for the new body have been agreed by the boards of both organisations and recommendations will be put to general meetings of members in the next few weeks. The new combined membership would embrace sponsoring companies, consultancies, professional advisors, suppliers and rights owners with a comprehensive range of benefits for all members.