BP sponsorship of Royal Opera House ends after over three decades

27 Jan 2023 News

Royal Opera House

Oil industry giant BP has ended its sponsorship of the Royal Opera House (ROH), after financing the charity since 1988.

The contract ended in December and both organisations agreed the sponsorship would not continue thereafter.

ROH thanked BP for its support over the past three decades, including in its “drive towards net zero”.

The charity’s income is around £84m, according to Charity Commission data, with BP’s sponsorship accounting for 0.5% of that, according to a report in the Guardian.

Net zero drive

A spokesperson for ROH said: “We are grateful to BP for their sponsorship over 33 years which has enabled thousands around the country to see free opera and ballet through our BP ‘big screens’.

“Over the last three years, BP’s support has focused on sustainability initiatives, supporting the Royal Opera House’s recovery post-pandemic and supporting our drive towards net zero.

“We would like to thank BP for their support, but agreed that the partnership would not extend beyond December 2022, when BP’s contract came to an end.”

A BP spokesperson said: “We’re proud to have supported the Royal Opera House for more than three decades. Over that time, BP big screens brought world-class opera and ballet performances free to thousands of people across the UK and, more recently, we have supported some of the ROH’s sustainability initiatives. As our partnership agreement came to an end at the end of last year, we wish the Royal Opera House every success for the future.”

Other culture charities continue sponsorships

The British Museum is now one of the last major arts charities still receiving funding from BP.

A British Museum spokesperson told Civil Society News: “Corporate sponsors such as BP mean the Museum can successfully plan exhibitions long-term and deliver public benefit for millions of people. They are a long-term supporter and our current partnership runs until this year.”

The Science Museum has also been criticised for accepting sponsorship from fossil fuel sponsors. The charity did not respond to Civil Society News’ request for comment.

National Portrait Gallery stops sponsorship

The National Portrait Gallery and BP also confirmed that the sponsorship of the BP Portrait Award would not be extended beyond December 2022.

The BP Portrait Award was not staged in 2022, while the National Portrait Gallery’s building in St Martin’s Place closed for redevelopment. 

For more news, interviews, opinion and analysis about charities and the voluntary sector, sign up to receive the Civil Society News daily bulletin here.


More on