Please note that once you have selected the appropriate category/categories, you should also consider the Guidelines which should form the basis of all category entries. 


  1. Arts & Cultural Sponsorships 

The Arts and Cultural Sponsorship category is focused on the traditional arts and culture community; for example - museums, galleries, classical music, opera, theatre.  Look for culture-commerce connectivity.

2. Entertainment & Event Sponsorship 

This category is focused on the contemporary music, festival and event sectors. It recognises the fact that sponsoring the Mobo Awards, Glastonbury or a Concert Tour is different to sponsoring The National Theatre or V&A. But don't worry if you're not sure whether to enter Arts or Events. We're happy to discuss it with you before you fill in the entry form. 

3. Charity & Community Engagement Sponsorship - Sponsored by Sponsorium

This category is designed to reward campaigns which benefit both the sponsor and the sponsored organisation. Try to make this very clear in your entry.  

4.  Education & Learning Sponsorship

This category is not restricted to schools or core curriculum. School-based sponsorships are still welcome, but campaigns which achieve broader learning goals are also welcome. This might mean FE and HE but could also be sponsorships based around re-skilling or adult education.

5.   Sustainability Sponsorship 
We're looking for sponsorships with a green ethos running through them. This category is open to sponsorships of 'green' organisations or campaigns but equally to sponsorships which demonstrate sustainability within their activations. This could be in the context of a new stadium build, stakeholder lobbying, employee activities or cleaning up after a big event such as a festival.

6. TV Sponsorship - supported by Thinkbox

TV sponsorship is about partnerships that have TV at the hub. They might be leveraged across other platforms, but the core IP must be a TV show or a component of a TV show, such as a celebrity/character. Free-to-air or PayTV deals are the primary but not exclusive target of this category.  This category may be split by size so please specify the fee paid. Branded content and AFPs should be entered in the new Branded Content category – unless they are activations of an overarching TV sponsorship.   See also Film Sponsorship (24) and Branded Content (25)
 7. Print and Radio Sponsorship
 This category is about sponsorships that begin with print or radio. It's designed to recognise great work that is often overshadowed by the big budgets available in TV. Again, the sponsorship can (and should) be leveraged across platforms, but it needs to start with Print or Radio IP. This might be a branded supplement or product placement in a radio show. 

8. Digital Activation
 This category is designed to reward the most innovative and effective work in online and mobile. Whether it's website-based, mobile-based or via Facebook and Twitter, we want to see examples of how digital is transforming the way in which sponsorship supports branding or corporate objectives.  Please provide clear evidence of success, especially around engagement levels.

9. Sports Sponsorshipsupported by Sport England and UK Sport

There are two Awards, one for campaigns valued at £750,000 or more, another for smaller campaigns to recognise the great work done on tighter budgets.  See also Naming Rights (26) and Harnessing The Power Of The Crowd – The Most Effective Use Of Mass Participation Sponsorship (28)

10. Grass Roots Sports Sponsorship – supported by the Sport + Recreation Alliance

Sports sponsorship isn't all about high-profile activation. Grass roots is a crucial component, so this Award is about the way sponsors and partner organisations reach out to local communities. Echoing the Charity and Community Category, we'd like to see how both the brand and audience benefited.

11. B2B Sponsorship (formerly Corporate Sponsorship)

In this category what we're really after is the way in which sponsorship has helped a business organisation or corporate entity reach out to business/public sector/governmental stakeholders businessmen/women and/or high net worth individuals. The category was until recently called Corporate.  One important point to note is that we are also interested in how the sponsorship has influenced the company's relationship with its employees (greater loyalty, improved productivity, etc.). So b2b should not just be thought of as the relationship between the sponsor and third party organisations. It is also about internal business benefits.

12. Brand Sponsorship

This category is aimed at sponsorships where the primary objective is the promotion of a brand or a group of brands. So we're looking for sales data and brand image shifts. Like sport, this category is split into two budget bands. Please ensure that you state the budget level on the entry form. 

13. First Time Sponsor Award 

As its name suggests, this category is open to campaigns conducted by companies or brands that have executed sponsorship programmes for the first time in the last two years.  This category is not open to first time sponsorships but to first time sponsors/brands - i.e., the first time that particular brand has used sponsorship as a marketing vehicle.

14. Sponsorship Continuity

This category is open to sponsorship campaigns which have been in place for a minimum of four years and have been renewed at least once. Entries are judged on the success of the campaign and how it has been developed year by year. Evidence of how insights have been developed and applied during the course of the relationship is a key consideration. There's no penalty for saying, "X didn't work in year 1, so we did Y in year 2 and boosted sales".

15. The ESA International Sponsorship Award - sponsored by the European Sponsorship Association
A sponsorship, for brand or corporate entity, which is targeting/ has targeted audiences in three or more countries. 

16. Best Use of Research and Evaluation in a Sponsorship Campaign - sponsored by SMG Insight
Entries should include: Objectives of research programme; budget level; methods and implementation; quality procedures; integration within sponsorship programme; how research was used to measure success, add value to project, attract new sponsors, etc. Emphasis should be placed on how the research was used to alter and develop the sponsorship. Please click here for full details. 

17. Best Use of Public Relations in a Sponsorship Campaign – supported by the Public Relations Consultants Association.

This category attracts two kinds of entries: PR stunts or PR as a piece of integrated strategy. Both can win and have won. But we are more interested in well-thought strategies than a stroke of luck. If stunt-based, try to show us how the stunt came about and how you managed to leverage the impact it generated, not just the number of column inches and bulletin mentions it achieved.

18. Special Award for Effective Use Of A Smaller Budget (under £100,000)

Another category designed to recognise the great work being done with a smaller budget. Usual criteria apply but we are conscious of the fact that less budget limits what can be done in activation. 

19. Sponsorship Consultancy of the Yearsponsored by CSM Live

This category will be split into segments by size of agency, and possibly by type.  It is essential therefore that you provide information on fee income.   In previous years, this has meant one for large consultancies (likely to have turnovers of £5 million plus) and another for small-to-medium or boutique consultancies. In 2017, we also gave an award for Innovation.   Entries are encouraged from both the sponsorship sales and the advisory and activation sides of the business as we will be awarding a prize to the best sales team. However the final decision as to which category a consultancy falls into will be down to the judges. Judges will receive all entries in one group and then filter them into sub-groups, awarding a winner in each. Their decision is final. This approach is to make sure we are measuring like with like and not unfairly penalising SMEs.  No agency should feel it is precluded from entering because of size.

  1. Entries for this category need to offer:
    • Evidence of success over the past 12 months – indicators: revenue growth, profit uplift, new business wins, client retention, success in securing sponsors for rights holders
    • Examples of creativity and innovation either in terms of sponsorship campaigns or rights sales strategy.
    • Examples of campaign success within the industry
    • New initiatives within industry/influence/influencers within the sector
    • Staff motivation and training
    • Client testimonials

20. Sponsorship Innovation Of The Year
Entries to this Award are put forward by the judging team during the shortlisting process.  The trophy will go to the agency, rights holder or brand behind an eye-catching innovation. For this category, we will take a slightly softer line on objectives and evidence but will not reward innovation for innovation's sake. The winning campaign will be one which, in the judges' opinion, introduces a creative solution to a campaign’s objectives - something fresh and inventive. It does not need to be a winner in any of the categories.

21. Best Sponsorship of Women's Activities - supported by Women in Sport

For the first time in 2016, wededicated a category to sponsorship of women’s activities.  The category, which is partnered by Women in Sport, rewards brands, associations and agencies for the work they have done working with and sponsoring women’s projects. This could be anything from opening up access to sport for young girls through to celebrity endorsements that are plugged into the wider female empowerment agenda. As with all categories, the judges will want to see some evidence of clear objectives, interesting execution and positive business results related to the sponsorship. But this will be considered in combination with any evidence supplied about how women or girls have been embraced. In other words, we are looking for a balanced entry, not unlike we do with the Charity & Community Engagement Category. A sponsorship that fails to achieve any business objectives won’t win. But judges will take a slightly less rigorous view on business benefits if they are presented with a truly transformative campaign. Sponsorships of all descriptions are eligible – not just sports. Please contact the UKSA organisers if you are unsure about whether you fit the criteria. 

22. Best Use Of Celebrity Endorsement In Sponsorship

The Celebrity Endorsement category was introduced to recognise the growing importance of brand-talent relationships in business. Any sponsorship that involves a celebrity as part of its activation strategy is eligible (TV, film, sport, music etc). Judges will look at why the celebrity was chosen (not just because they were famous), how they were involved in the programme and the business benefits they brought. The celebrity endorsement must show some evidence of a multi-tiered sponsorship strategy if it is to win. For example, a musician in a TV commercial drinking a brand of beer will not, in itself, be enough to impress judges. Possible scenarios include: Brand A endorses Celebrity X, who then becomes an integrated part of the brand’s marketing activity (getting involved in grass roots activities, hosting online forums, speaking to the press on behalf of the brand, launching product lines, motivating employees etc). Or, Brand B sponsors Team Y and secures the services of Celebrity Z as part of its package, and then uses the team and celebrity in harmony. If you are unclear about eligibility, please contact the organisers to discuss.

23. Branded Content

Best Use of Branded Content is aimed at strategies where the client has been directly involved in the funding and creation of the content in question. So it is not the same as sponsoring a traditional TV show or a film. Branded content can be anything from an advertiser-funded show to short form vignettes. While it does not include a standard TV ad, a 3-5 minute film that integrates the brand with more traditional storytelling devices could fall within the definition of branded content. To win this category, entrants must explain why they pursued a branded content strategy and how they activated it across different channels and platforms. Branded content for this category does not need to originate in TV, but can also be digitally-driven. In rare cases, it can also be a film – such as The Lego Movie.

24Film Sponsorship

Best Use of Film Sponsorship is about partnerships that have film at the hub. But it is not enough simply to buy a product placement role in a film. To win this category, judges will need to see how the relationship has been leveraged across other platforms. Sponsorships that do not involve product integration into the film itself are also eligible for this category – ie a brand may choose to sponsor a period drama film even if it would be anachronistic for it to appear in the production itself.

25. Naming Rights

Best Use of Naming and Title Rights is designed to reward companies that have made great use of their assets. While media exposure is a useful benefit of naming rights deals, this category requires some evidence of how the rights in question have been activated in different ways. The scale of the deal is not necessarily a guarantee of success in this category. It is important to show creativity and innovation around assets.

26. Best eSports Sponsorship 

As its name suggests, this category is for brands that have made great use of the fast-emerging eSports category. Criteria for success are similar to those in sport, namely – clear objectives, great execution and proof of business benefits.

27. Harnessing The Power Of The Crowd – The Most Effective Use Of Mass Participation Sponsorship

Open to everything from the London Marathon to large-scale charity events, this category rewards companies that have made effective use of Mass Participation Sponsorship. Clear objectives, innovative activation and great results will be necessary to win this Award. Some indication of why Mass Participation made sense for the sponsor is important.

28. Football Sponsorship

Criteria TBC.

29.  Rights Holders Award - Best Activation of Assets

Rights holders have a wide range of valuable assets including their audience, fan base, membership/season ticket holder databases, broadcast and digital media exposure, branding and activation opportunities, corporate hospitality offerings, facilities, access to ambassadors, community outreach, etc. The purpose of this new category is to showcase rights holder organisations across all sectors that have used their assets to maximise their income streams and provide better and more attractive offerings for potential sponsors and partners.

Judges will reward organisations that have a clear understanding of the identification and profile of their audiences, who have mined, sliced and diced their databases to ensure that they are sending the most appropriate and effective messages to engage fans with their sponsor partners. The judges will also be looking to see how effectively this has been communicated to the marketplace and that the marketing and sales teams are working together to offer a ‘best fit’ opportunity with optimum activation possibilities for partners.

Entry to this Award will not follow the structure of other submissions. The entry should look at sponsorship programme as a whole and use particular campaigns as examples. Anyone seeking more information on the Award should contact us on 020 8891 1067 or email  For guidelines on this category, please click here. 

To support the launch of the category, a new UKSA Case File looks at ways rights holders can support/improve their offering.  Click here to read more.

30.  Best Use Of Sponsorship To Encourage Diversity & Inclusion

The new Diversity & Inclusion category is recognition that the UK - like many countries - still has a long way to go in terms of demonstrating true social inclusiveness. Examples of partnerships that might fit this category include sponsorships that support the LGBT community, sponsorships that have increased opportunities for the BAME community in some way, and sponsorships that have addressed the numerous challenges that exist around disability. Echoing the comments made regarding Empowering Women, the judges are looking for a combination of business benefits and evidence of social transformation. Because this is the first year of the extended award, please contact the UKSA organisers if you are unsure about whether your proposed entry will fit the criteria.


The top prize will be awarded to one outstanding winner chosen from the winners of the individual categories.

Sponsorship Personality of the Year 2018
The winner will be deemed to have made the most significant contribution to the and influence on the sponsorship industry. Nominations will initially be sought from the industry at large and the final selection will be made by the Awards judging panel. Please email with your nomination and reasons why.  Last year's winner was:


The Barrie Gill Award for Most Promising Young Sponsorship Executive – sponsored by the European Sponsorship Association

This award recognises young executives (27 or under) working within agencies, client companies or rights holders who are making a significant impact within their organisation and the sector at large.  Judges need a profile outlining what in particular makes this candidate exceptional, how he/she has impacted on your business, exceeded expectations on particular tasks and campaigns and how this translates into future career development. For more detail and the entry form, please click here. DEADLINE FOR THIS CATEGORY IS THE 5TH OF FEBRUARY 2018. 

Ideally, but not essentially, nominees should be registered for the ESA Continuous Professional Development (CPD) Programme which recognises and rewards commitment to ongoing learning. Registration is easy and at minimal cost – for more detail about ESA’s CPD Programme, please call ESA on +44 (0)20 8390 3311 or visit