Since 2001 arts sponsorship more than doubles


According to research undertaken by Business and Arts South Africa, arts sponsorship has more than doubled since 2001 when the arts market was estimated at around R136 million, growing to nearly R360 million in 2009. Of this, music sponsorship attracts nearly 50% of all the sponsorship spend (R173 million in 2009) with the balance going to all other arts and culture initiatives.

This is one of the key findings of ARTSTRACK research 2009 – Business and Arts South Africa’s bi-annual authoritative study on the arts and culture market in South Africa.

Conducted nationally over a period of two and a half months other key findings from ARTSTRACK 2009 are:

  • The long-term planning of sponsors in the field of Arts and Culture is also underscored by the findings on the importance of children learning about Arts and Culture – and not just Sport. The results showed that a clear majority of those sampled would like to see their children learning equally about both – an increase from 2007’s research.
  • 39% of consumers felt the costs of attending Arts and Culture Events (ranging from Movies to Traditional Dance, Museums, Exhibitions and Ballet) were too high – an increase in three points on 2007’s findings. “This is, of course, coming in a year in which the economic recession hit hard but I think is something that should be looked at by sponsors and arts and culture practitioners,’ Business and Arts South Africa CEO Michelle Constant commented.
  • Communities take notice and support sponsors that are investing in projects of value to them; and as well as sponsors uplifting and support communities. According to Constant, this supports the King Three Report, which highlights the need for corporate citizenship through CSI.
  • In a spontaneous question that asked respondents to name an Arts and Culture sponsor in South Africa, Standard Bank received the most mentions followed by ABSA then MTN. (The full list of 19 spontaneously-recalled sponsors is available in the research) According to sponsors themselves, the companies regarded as sponsorship leaders are Standard Bank, Absa and Nedbank.
  • The belief that government has a significant funding responsibility to develop and support Arts and Culture. 
  • Music topped the list of 12 disciplines supported that included festivals, museums, theatre, movies, traditional dance, crafts, literature, sculpture/paintings/photography, opera, contemporary dance and ballet.
  • The biggest contribution now comes from Marketing Budgets.

The 2009 research was especially revealing in the attitude of non-sponsors of Arts and Culture. In particular, non-sponsors gave a detailed list of their ideal sponsorship – which included a relationship in which both parties benefit equally, community upliftment, strong brand awareness, contribution to the company’s BEE scorecard, and ability to be measured.

According to Constant, “A great deal of valuable information emerged from the research – including how culture can be used as a tool for tourism. This is particularly interesting in 2010 with the FIFA World Cup bringing so many visitors to our country.’

“What I found interesting were the comments from business on how they believe we can make the Arts and Culture environment more attractive to sponsoring companies,’ says Constant. “As Business and Arts South Africa we are already working on some of the suggestions which we hope will see an increase in Arts and Culture sponsorship in 2010 and beyond.’

ARTSTRACK 2009 gives good insight into sponsorship of arts and culture in South Africa and is a powerful research tool for anyone interested in sponsorship in the Arts market in South Africa.
The bi-annual Business and Arts South Africa ARTSTRACK Research is available to all members of Business and Arts South Africa.

For enquiries on the Business and Arts South Africa ARTSTRACK Research 2009 contact Beverly Reddy on 011 832 3039. For more information about Business and Arts South Africa programmes please visit


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