IEG's Annual Event Marketing Survey
Survey Shows Increased Interest in Sponsoring Events


  • IEG’s annual event marketing survey, containing quantified findings from 2,000 properties listed in the 1999 IEG Sponsorship Sourcebook, holds a wealth of event marketing and sponsorship data.
  • Nonalcoholic Beverages represent the most active sponsor category in terms of percent of properties reporting sponsors in that category; Telecommunications is coming up fast.
  • Not surprisingly, Coca-Cola is the most active single brand in event marketing, with 16% of the properties surveyed listing the soft drink company as a sponsor.
  • More than half of the properties surveyed list at least one media partner; newspaper knocked Radio out of the top spot this year, sponsoring 28% of the properties compared with Radio’s 26%.
  • Interest in event marketing and sponsorships is up, but Radio involvement in event marketing is down, according to the results of IEG’s annual event marketing survey. The survey, with analysis based on data from the free-listing applications of the 2,000 sponsorship opportunities in the 1999 IEG Sponsorship Sourcebook, is jam-packed with valuable data your station can use to get involved in event marketing and sponsorships in your area.

    This issue of Radio Sales Today touches on some of the survey’s findings, including the most active sponsor categories, the top 10 sponsoring brands, the shakeup in media sponsorships and more. Note: Throughout the survey, reference is made to "properties;" this term refers to any event, location, or venue that offers sponsorship opportunities.


    Most Active Sponsor Categories
    Percent of Properties Reporting Sponsors in Category

    Category 1998 1997 1996
    Nonalcoholic Beverages 46% 34% 35%
    Telecommunications 40 32 25
    Automotive 35 29 22
    Beer 28 28 24
    Banks 28 25 27
    Airlines 18 21 16

    Source:  1998 IEG Event Marketing Survey

    Top Dogs
    The sponsor categories cited by the highest number of properties are listed in the table above. You may notice that some of the major players in event marketing and sponsorships are also big spenders when it comes to Radio advertising (see the November 3 issue of Radio Sales Today for a partial list of top spenders in national Radio advertising). One notable category on both lists is telecommunications; the telecom category spent 36% more on national Radio spot and network ads in the first half of 1998 compared with the first half of 1997, and it also shows a 25% increase in sponsorships in the 1998 IEG survey compared with the 1997 survey. With the proliferation of cellular and wireless telecomunications providers at the local level, this is definitely a category for Radio to watch and one that should be near the top of your prospect list.

    The strongest growth in event sponsorships was in the nonalcoholic beverage category, probably driven by the addition of non-soft-drink players such as bottled water. This category was listed by 46% of the properties surveyed, a 35% increase over the previous year.

    Top 10 Sponsors
    The properties included in the survey indicated nearly 4,500 brands among their sponsors; certain brands, however, stood out. For the third year in a row, Coca-Cola topped the list, appearing in 16% of properties’ sponsor lists. Grappling for second and third place are Pepsi-Cola and Budweiser/Bud Light at 14% and 13% respectively; the two have swapped places repeatedly in the last few years. AT&T captured the number four spot with mentions on 7% of properties’ sponsor lists, and Miller Brewing Co. was number 5 with 5%. Rounding out the top ten are: Chrysler, a first-timer in the top ten with 4%; American Airlines, also at 4%; and Ford, Target and Coors with 3% each.

    Media Sponsor Activity
    Percent of Properties Surveyed Listing a Given Medium as a Sponsor

    Source: 1998 IEG Event Marketing Survey

    Media Sponsorships
    More than half of the properties surveyed (55%) listed at least one media sponsor. This figure is a 20% increase in media participation over the previous year, reflecting a trend of greater media interest in sponsorship. Previously, Radio was the number-one media partner for the properties surveyed. However, in the 1998 survey Radio was edged out by newspaper; newspapers were cited as sponsors by 28% of properties surveyed, compared with Radio’s 26%. Radio is still cited more often than television, which was mentioned as a sponsor by 22% of properties surveyed. Cable lags far behind the other media listed at only 9% of properties surveyed.

    Keep It In Mind
    Are these results cause for concern? Maybe. Event sponsorship remains a valuable sales/revenue tool and an important part of station-level marketing efforts. Clearly, newspapers recognize the value of sponsorship opportunities as well and their strong showing in this year’s survey results should be duly noted.

    For more information about IEG or the Sponsorship Sourcebook, call IEG at 1-800-834-4850; for a copy of the survey findings or other information regarding event marketing, call RAB Member Service at 1-800-232-3131.