The 2021 ESA Awards ceremony was staged via YouTube Live on Wednesday 24 and Thursday 25 February, with viewers from across Europe and globally tuning in to find out which campaigns would take home the prestigious awards.
Hundreds of sponsorship industry professionals from dozens of countries joined the ESA Awards livestream over two nights to see winners awarded across 25 categories. With sponsorships from nine different countries, as well as a range of multinational campaigns, the 2021 ESA Awards was among the most diverse in the history of ESA.
The prestigious ESA Sponsorship of the Year, awarded to the most impressive campaign from among all categories, was won by Old El Paso for its #MessFreeChallenge, which also won Best Use of Digital Channels (inc Social Media). In another first for the ESA Awards, Paris Saint-Germain and Transport for London were jointly awarded the Rights Holder of the Year prize, after the judging panel was unable to separate the two fantastic entries.
PSG also triumphed in the ‘Best Newcomer’ category for its partnership with SUPERCELL, making it one of three entrants to take home multiple categories in 2021. Secret Sofa from Secret Cinema, presented by Häagen-Dazs, won both the Best Use of Virtual Experiences – Participation and Arts and Culture Sponsorship prizes, with Virgin Money’s ‘Unity Arena’ collecting the Music Sponsorship and Best Use of PR trophies.
The invitation-only ESA Best of Europe competition, sponsored by Sponsorium, was won by Norway’s “Practice makes perfect” by Gjensidige, with Ireland (Vodafone’s Team of Us campaign) taking silver and France (Jeep ELITE naming, French basketball championship) rounding out the podium with bronze.
The Sports Sponsorship >€5M category, sponsored by dataPOWA, was won by NatWest Cricket. Companies honoured at the ceremony included BMW, Cadbury, Carslberg, England Rugby, FedEx, Heineken, Jeep, Liverpool FC, O2, UEFA, the United Nations and Vodafone.
ESA Chairman, Andy Westlake, said:
“Every year the ESA Awards grows bigger and better, and this year is no exception. The 2021 ESA Awards attracted a record number of fantastic entries from more nations than ever before in spite of the historically challenging circumstances facing the European sponsorship community, and we are so pleased to be able to celebrate the resilience and creativity of our brilliant industry.
“ESA has adapted to deliver a significant number of virtual events in response to COVID-19, the 2021 ESA Awards ceremony being our largest to date, eclipsing even the record attendance at last year’s gala dinner. Thank you to our sponsors, judges, entrants and members for making this year’s Awards a roaring success.
“2020 was an unprecedented year for the sports and entertainment community. The incredibly high standard of winning campaigns is testament to our community’s resilience and durability, and shows that the sponsorship industry is set to bounce back stronger than ever. A huge congratulations to all our winners – we look forward to celebrating again in person in 2022!”