Professional Sports in Western Europe: League Performance and Global Commercial Opportunities

November 2019

This briefing analyses the commercial opportunities that exist across sports properties in North America, through a proprietary methodology and four case studies. The region is home to some of the world’s top leagues and many famous teams from different sports. Important trends in the sports industry, such as the commercialisation of sport consumption, originated in the US; however, North American sports properties still have to step up their efforts to develop globally.

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Key findings

Across Western Europe, the best commercial opportunities have been detected in two industries - soft drinks, and alcoholic drinks. Due to the long sport tradition that runs through all the region, sports industry is highly developed. As a consequence, several sectors including apparel and footwear, health and wellness, and luxury goods, present on average less opportunities.

Western Europe is a global hub for many of the most followed sports, especially football/soccer, however, despite the great interest it draws abroad, the regional partnership landscape remains local: only 13% of sponsors in 2018 come from outside Western Europe.

Despite an evergreen interest in sports and revenue figures soaring, sluggish consumer expenditure in the region (-0.9% over 2008-2018) threatens the consumption of sport. Attending sport events is becoming rarer, especially among the youngest and the low income population - the same fan segment that clubs are increasingly struggling to engage with.

The main challenge for WE top sport properties is to tap into the fanbase and the commercial potential that exists outside the region. However, governing bodies have so far shown resistance. Other sport properties have instead their focus on engaging their local fanbase - especially the young, and securing sponsorships with companies well established in their country.

Introduction

Scope
Key findings
Western Europe’s geography within sports

Landscape of Western EuropeanLeagues

Football/ soccer dominates Western Europe’s match day statistics

Landscape of Western European Leagues

Western Europe leagues according to the League Index (1)
Western Europe leagues according to the League Index (2)
Industrial breakdown of sports partnerships in Western Europe
Commercial opportunity evaluation methodology
Sponsorship opportunities review

Sponsorship Opportunities in Context: France - Airlines

France: country capsule
Sponsorship overview of French leagues
Commercial opportunities in France
Case study: airlines in France
Airlines in France: industry landscape and impact on sport
Airlines in France: main companies and sports sponsorships
Airlines in France : analysis of selected categories
Airlines in France : candidates for partnership

Sponsorship Opportunities in Context: Germany – Car Rental

Germany: country capsule
Sponsorship overview of German leagues
Commercial opportunities in Germany
Case study: car rental in Germany
Car rental in Germany: industry landscape and impact on sport
Car rental in Germany: main companies and sports sponsorships
Car rental in Germany: a nalysis of selected categories
Car rental in Germany : candidates for partnership

Sponsorship Opportunities in Context: Italy – Alcoholic Drinks

Italy: country capsule
Sponsorship overview of Italian leagues
Commercial opportunities in Italy
Case study: alcoholic drinks in Italy
Alcoholic drinks in Italy: industry landscape and impact on sport
Alcoholic drinks in Italy: main companies and sports sponsorships
Alcoholic drinks in Italy: a nalysis of selected categories
Alcoholic drinks in Italy : candidates for partnership

Sponsorship Opportunities in Context: Spain – Consumer Electronics

Spain: country capsule
Sponsorship overview of Spanish leagues
Commercial opportunities in Spain
Case study: consumer electronics in Spain
Consumer electronics in Spain: industry landscape and impact on sport
Consumer electronics in Spain: main industry actors and sport sponsorships
Consumer electronics in Spain: analysis of selected categories
Consumer electronics in Spain : candidates for partnership

Sponsorship Opportunities in Context: UK – Soft Drinks

UK : country capsule
Sponsorship overview of UK leagues
Commercial opportunities in the UK
Case study: s oft drinks in the UK
Soft drinks in the UK : industry landscape and impact on sport
Soft drinks in the UK: main industry actors and sport sponsorships
Soft drinks in the UK: analysis of selected categories
Soft drinks in the UK: candidates for partnership

Digital Landscape in Western Europe

Digitalisation in the region sees polarised values
Social media annual growth remains low
Western Europe’s per capita consumer expenditure lower than in 2008
Consumer expenditure in Western Europe: country/city breakdown

Conclusion

Western Europe key takeaways: time is ripe for expanding abroad

Appendix: Methodology – Western European League Codes

Methodology: Western European league codes

Appendix: Methodology - League Index

Methodology for league index

Appendix: Methodology - Commercial Opportunity Evaluation

Commercial opportunity evaluation methodology (1)
Commercial opportunity evaluation methodology (2)
Commercial opportunity evaluation methodology (3)
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