A Timeline of Sponsorship

Throughout the years, marketing strategies have evolved to suit the needs of both companies and targeted consumers. In the advent of technological advancements, so have the tools for promotion followed to adapt such changes.

Sponsorship is no exception when it comes to progressive changes in marketing. From the simplest giving out of financial support to digital and web advertising, the use of sponsorship as a marketing tool has spanned through the changing times.

A history of sponsorship is presented below, based on eras of different applications of marketing and advertising tactics.

Eras of sponsorship styles

Arts Patronage in 1600

The earliest form of sponsorship was seen in the support given to actors in the 1600s wherein the arts, particularly the theatre, were the avenue for sponsorship. During this era, to be sponsored meant that the upper crust of society maintained the funding of the plays.

This is very prominent in the European places, where the aristocratic society, such as the Queen, favoured chosen plays and offered their approval as support. Such support gave a ‘go signal’ for other people to patronize the play and further help theatre groups through funding the writers involved and the needed props that were to be used in the acts.

The beginning of advertising in 1631

Within the same decade, advertising through sponsorship had begun. The main benefit that sponsorship offered was exposure to the public. This benefit helped form the basis of exposing services and/or products in modern-day advertising.

It was through newspaper sponsorship in 1631 that classified advertisements were run by a French company. This company sponsored the ads in their newspaper to disseminate throughout the community the products/services of a particular organization.

The early pioneers of 1910 through 1970

In 1924, the first sponsored radio program – The Eveready Hours – was created. This paved the way for today’s television and radio show sponsorships that overall make use of media to circulate products/services to the public.

Other important points within 1910-1970 that are relevantly important to today’s sponsorship practices are the following: The first industries that foreran sponsorship were sports including golf, motor sports, and tennis. The popular brands Bosch and Firestone started sponsorship Indianapolis 500, a racing event.

Development era 1970-1984

Corporate sponsorship began during this era; and unlike its positive acceptance in modern-day, it was not immediately accepted by the event managers then. Corporations started patronizing the forerunners of sponsorship – golf, tennis, and motor sports.

It was during these years that sponsorship meant exposure of the sponsor in television. These broadcasts were often free and thus fully appealed to sponsors; and aside from that, it was also an opportunity for corporate heads to spend time with famous sports players.

Sponsorship continues to rapidly grow in 1983

The explosion of sponsorship happened during this time where a man named Peter Ueberroth paved the way by selling sponsorship for the Olympic Games in Los Angeles that came up to more than 400 million dollars in worth. This single event, coupled along with difficulty of having the government give out proper funding and support, led to the use of sponsorship marketing.

It was during 1983 that a number of companies had an increase of sales in sponsoring, and further influenced a new acceptance of corporate sponsorship in event managers and handlers.


Further development of sponsorship strategies were continuously focused on by companies during the 90’s. With its popularity among businesses, the need for sophistication in sponsor/sponsee relationships was given importance.

Things like measured sales, business to business opportunities, incentive activation and distributions, became part of sponsorship. These, added with sponsor-sponsee relevance, were vital points of consideration.

2000 to present

It is in these years in sponsorship timeline and still continuing that the technological age’s impact on society has been great. This includes marketing strategies and the form of sponsorship individuals and organizations offer in this digital age. Through the Internet, companies can market for proper sponsees and in turn the sponsees can look for the exact kind of sponsorship they need.

Source: https://positivearticles.com