2022: A Year in Review – Trends in Corporate Ticketing & Hospitality

Each year, the Sponsorworks analysts delve into our platform data to identify the macro trends in the corporate ticketing and hospitality world from the previous 12 months. Here’s our look back at 2022.


2022 saw a return to normality for the events industry, with a full schedule of hospitality opportunities available to both businesses and individuals. The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated a digital transformation, forcing venues and event organisers to implement digital entry technology, which in turn allowed these organisations to collect valuable customer data. This shift towards data analytics and data-driven decision-making has resulted in a more customer-centric environment.

Nearly all venues returned to full capacity, and the highly-anticipated men’s FIFA World Cup in Qatar in Q4 was a highlight of the year. Additionally, the European sports sponsorship market achieved a record valuation for the year as a whole (€20.69bn). It is clear that the events and hospitality industry is back with a bang.

2022 trends and insights

  • Firstly, for context, during 2022 the Sponsorworks platform was used to manage tickets and hospitality for events in 18 different countries across 4 continents and in 8 different languages.
  • Amongst our global customers, over 98% of tickets in 2022 were delivered in a digital format (QR codes via email, PDF or app). Whilst the majority of major venues have used e-tickets for several years, since the start of the pandemic we’ve observed a rapid move away from lanyards and physical tickets to e-tickets and RFID for accessing hospitality areas and business events. This change is clearly here to stay and we expect the remaining laggards to transition their physical tickets to digital formats over the next 1 to 2 years.
  • An increasing number of venues have migrated to their own e-ticketing mobile apps away from delivery of digital tickets via email. While this provides venues with more control of the attendee, it has created fulfilment challenges of tickets for businesses to their guests (which the Sponsorworks platform helps to overcome).
  • The most common business objective for using corporate hospitality was entertaining customers and prospects (50%), followed by consumer prizes (16%), customer incentives (9%), and employee recognition (2%). This is broadly in line with previous years and shows how effective sports and entertainment events are for building, strengthening and repairing B2B customer relationships. In addition, it shows how important it is to have secondary uses for tickets to maximise usage and minimise wastage (via our platform we aim to achieve 100% usage for our customers).
  • 77% of global business requests for tickets and hospitality were approved during 2022. This percentage is higher than 2021 levels as a result of lower overall demand and therefore lower internal competition for tickets. This reduced demand was largely due to Covid-anxiety among business users and their customers, particularly for indoor venues where the risk of Covid transmission was greatest.
  • By contrast, 8% of approved business requests were cancelled before the event. This was higher than previous years due to Covid-related cancellations. These were largely due to anxiety of guests in attending indoor events and late changes in corporate policies.

Conclusions and forecasts for 2023

It’s been fantastic to witness the tremendous recovery of the sports and entertainment industry post-COVID in 2022, and we anticipate the industry to grow to a record size in 2023. Corporate hospitality will play a vital role in the industry as commercial sponsorship opportunities for businesses continue to expand.

As the number of sports and entertainment events taking place around the world increases, we expect to see a rise in demand for premium seating and corporate hospitality packages. With the women’s FIFA World Cup taking place in Australia and New Zealand in 2023, we expect women’s football (and women’s sport, more generally) to continue to develop as a valuable corporate hospitality opportunity.

The industry’s increased use of technology will also create more opportunities for businesses to expand their reach and enter new markets. With a push towards digital ticketing, companies face challenges in delivering guest tickets, making it crucial for both technology vendors and commercial partners to invest in innovative solutions to manage their corporate hospitality inventory and deliver a seamless experience for their B2B guests.

Overall, the sports and entertainment industry in 2023 is expected to be a lucrative and exciting market. Despite increasing scrutiny on anti-bribery, corporate hospitality will be a crucial part of the industry, and companies that invest in creating memorable experiences for their guests will be well-positioned to succeed.

To learn more about how Sponsorworks can help automate the management and evaluation of your corporate ticketing and hospitality program and navigate Covid protocols, please get in touch to arrange a platform demo.

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