Asian sports marketing spend to grow 20% in 2008

With the Olympic Games in Beijing next year serving as a major catalyst, expenditure on sports marketing in Asia is expected to surge by 20 percent from US$15 billion this year to US$18 billion in 2008. A report on sports marketing by Total Sports Asia states that the Chinese Olympics have aroused intense interest and competition between marketers, advertisers, agencies and media alike each jostling for a share of the pie.

“But the Olympics is only part of a bigger growth story in Asia,” said Marcus Luer, CEO. “There is a growing demand for the already established sports marketing properties across the board in Asia and there are many new opportunities on the horizon. “Top international properties like the FIFA World Cup, Formula One, Olympics and the English Premier League, although they are already well represented in Asia, still have room for further exploitation.”

He cited the recent FIFA World Cup 2006 which generated over US$100 million in Asia, excluding Japan, in terms of TV rights. The next two World Cups, in 2010 and 2014, were recently sold to a consortium for US$350 million, clearly showing its growing demand and pricing power in Asia. Similarly, the English Premier League recently raised its media rights fees from US$300 million to over US$800 million for the next three seasons.

Luer said that outside of the top level rights such as these, there is also a tier of international rights and local properties that in most cases were not on the radar screens of most marketers. For example, TSA is now working with the Badminton World Federation (BWF) to develop its media rights, re-brand itself, provide exposure to new media and the internet and develop sponsorships - all leading to significantly improved revenue streams for the Federation.

And Copa America 2007 which is now being hosted in between the FIFA World Cup and UEFA EURO Championship years thereby creating additional opportunities in media and sponsorship for football.

“It is only a matter of time before these properties become more valuable with a better appreciation of what certain sports or events can deliver to advertisers, sponsors, broadcasters, governments and other parties involved,” Luer said. “The industry trends that have established themselves so clearly in the US and in Europe are now likewise being replicated in Asia. The continuing expansion of content delivery platforms, especially broadband, IPTV and mobile, also gives further impetus to growth.”

He said professional sports marketing was still a relatively new discipline in Asia and many sports bodies in the region were still unaware of its full potential and benefits. The sports rights that these bodies control are intellectual property rights that can translate into hundred of thousands and millions of dollars depending on the level of reach and fan base and the type of sports that is involved. There are intangible values to be put on these rights and professional sports marketing is only now starting to unlock and develop them to their full potential, Luer added.

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