Asia Sponsorship Market Analysis 2023 with ASN

ASN has just released its 2023 Asia Sponsorship market overview with commentary from local agencies on the performance of the Asian marketplace.

Investment of US$ 6.6 billion in five markets – China, Pan-Asia, Japan, India and South Korea – accounted for 91% of all Asian sponsorship in 2022. The next five ranking markets (Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Taiwan and Hong Kong) took that up to US$ 7.2 billion or 98% of the total.

However, Asian markets failed to keep up with the region’s growth curve in 2022. GDP in that year grew by 3.9% across Asia, but sponsorship investment lagged behind at -10% compared to 2021 and -22% against pre-pandemic 2019. While several of the top Asian markets did see an upturn in 2022, the regional outcome was heavily influenced by China, which commands 48% of the market and saw a -33% drop in sponsorship investment compared to 2019.

Breaking 2022 investment down into sport and non-sport platforms, it is encouraging to see that sport sponsorship almost reached 2019 levels (-2%) whereas non-sport plunged by -43%. In 2019, non-sport accounted for almost 50% of all sponsorship investment; in 2022, that dropped to 37%. Again, we can see the influence of China here, as the only market where non-sport platforms – branded content for both TV and online – comprises the biggest slice of total sponsorship. In all other key markets (except for India), football is the leading platform; in India, unsurprisingly, cricket dominates with 63% of all sponsorship investment.

The best performing sport platforms in 2022’s top 10, compared to 2019, were tennis (+49%), motorsports (+48%) and basketball (+9%). The top ranked platform, football, almost achieved parity with 2019 (-3%). No non-sport platform achieved growth in 2022.

There was little change in the leading sponsorship categories. The ‘Top 20’ accounted for 92% of all investment and came in -21% against 2019. The top two categories, FMCG and non-alcoholic beverages remained the same; while financial services went up a few notches, while retail and technology slipped down the rankings.

The 20 top-spending brands in 2022 accounted for 27% of total Asian sponsorship investment compared to 25% in 2019. However, the make-up of the ‘Top 20’ list changed dramatically, only five in the 2022 list also featuring in 2019.

The 2022 ‘Top 10’ were:

Sponsoring brand                                       US$ million
Jiangsu Hengshun Group (China)                    299m
Mengniu Dairy (China)                                      203m
Gang Rong Food (China)                                  123m
Standard Chartered (across Asia)                    121m
Yili (China)                                                         105m
Junlebao (China)                                               105m
Nike (across Asia)                                             104m
Blue Moon (China)                                              95m
Guanfang (China)                                                91m
JD.com (China)                                                   84m

These 10 brands, eight of which are in China, represented just over 18% of the total sponsorship investment in the Asian market, while the 20 next ranking brands accounted for an additional 16% of the Asian total.

China’s influence across all the metrics is clear to see. The government’s zero-COVID policy, which kept China locked down while all other countries were opening up, is single-handedly responsible for 2022’s negative growth compared to 2019.

Coming out the other side of a two-year virtual world-wide lockdown, sport sponsorship appears reassuringly stable and the increase in substantial Pan-Asian deals is an encouraging sign that more top-ranking sponsors may be setting their sights on loftier sponsorship goals.

At the same time, while TV still accounted for 25% of all sponsorship investment in 2022 (again owing to the China market), the -45% decline compared to 2019 in TV as a platform in Asia suggests development in this area is one to watch carefully over the next couple of years.


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