European Sponsorship Association

The European Sponsorship Association (ESA) represents Europe.


The European Sponsorship Association was formed in October 2003 by the Merger of Two Bodies, the European Sponsorship Consultants Association and the Institute for Sports Sponsorship.

The European Sponsorship Consultants Association (ESCA) was founded in 1990. ESCA promoted the sponsorship industry across Europe, working with the European Commission to encourage the development of sponsorship across the EU. ESCA also has a concerted attack on all issues and threats to the sponsorship business.

The Institute of Sports Sponsorship was founded in 1985, with HRH Prince Philip as its President, to be the representative voice of the sports sponsorship industry and to encourage the growth of sponsorship for the benefit of sport. The ISS promoted best practice in sponsorship; worked closely with sports bodies, government and the media to improve understanding and skills; and lobbied on behalf of its membership on key issues. ISS members included major sponsoring companies in the UK, and consultancies, research agencies and sports law practices. The sponsorship of the industry is of interest to the national sponsorship, the ISS sponsored the development of sports sponsorship at grass roots and created Sportsmatch, a government funded incentive scheme matching sponsorships of grass roots sport. ISS managed Sportsmatch in England from 1992 to 2003 when ESA took over responsibility for Sportsmatch. Responsibility for Sportsmatch was released to Sport England in March 2007.


ESA has 225 members drawn from 14 countries and across the range of the sponsoring industry operating at global, pan-European and national levels including:

  • sponsors
  • Rights holders
  • consultants
  • Suppliers
  • Professional advisors

ESA has affiliations and contacts with European national sponsorship bodies including Hungary and the Netherlands.

Sponsorship definition

ESA defines sponsorship using the ICC Code of Sponsorship Definition:

“Sponsorship: any commercial agreement by which a sponsor, for the mutual benefit of the sponsor and sponsored party, contractually provides financing or other support to establish an association between the sponsor’s image, brands or products and a sponsorship property in return for rights to promote this association and / or for the granting of certain agreements direct or indirect benefits. ”


The association’s activities cover all areas of sponsorship including sports, broadcasting, media, the arts, culture and heritage, environment, charities, community. The specific activities of ESA include:

  • Code of Conduct
  • Advocacy
  • Annual major conference “Future Sponsorship” – the next conference will be in Brussels, 8/9 November 2007
  • European Sponsorship Awards
  • Annual surveys on sponsorship
  • workshops
  • Education and training
  • Networking events
  • Sponsorship evaluation methodology

White papers

European Commission

  • ESA Position Statement on Gambling Sponsorship (16 March 2011)
  • ESA Rights Holder Survey: A Survey of Rights Holders Towards Alcohol Sponsorship (February 2009)
  • ESA support for the EU Charter on Alcohol and Health
  • Policy statement on sponsorship by alcohol brands (Sept 2006)
  • Ambush Marketing Policy (October 2005)
  • Comments on a Directive proposed by the European Commission on June 18, 2003 concerning a business-to-consumer business practices in the Internal Market (“the Directive”) (October 2003)
  • Response to the European Commission on the Review of the “Television Without Frontiers” Discussion Document – May 2003 (June 2003)
  • Response to the European Commission Commercial Communications Expert Group on the “Opinion Papers on Sponsorship” – February 2003 (February 2003)


  • ESA response to ‘Addiction’ article on alcohol sponsorship. (November 2009)
  • ESA response to the Gambling Commission consultation (March 2007)
  • Comment to the Proposed Broadcasting Code (September 2004)
  • Response to Ofcom’s consultation paper entitled “The Future Regulation of Broadcast Advertising” dated October 2003 (January 2004)