Sponsor Insights

SportsNet & ABC, The Homes Of The 2022 Stanley Cup

Game 5 of the NHL Stanley Cups takes place tonight, as both the Tampa Bay Lightning and Colorado Avalanche look to take home the cup. The Finals feature different broadcasts for US and Canadian based fans, with ABC hosting the US coverage and SportsNet hosting Canadian coverage. Looking back at the first game of the series, what differences and similarities did we find between the brands and assets sponsoring the most important matchup of the NHL season?

SportsNet’s broadcast featured 46 unique brands. The top three most frequent brands and their assets during the Canadian coverage were:

  • DraftKings (Gaming)
  • Logo in Broadcast Studio
  • Live Read Commercial
  • Sponsored Segment
  • Split Screen Commercial
  • Recorded Commercial (3)

​​On Canadian broadcasts, the gaming category ranked 3rd. Didn’t crack the top 10 for US broadcasts. Reasoning would logically be legalization of single-game gambling in Canada this past August before the season started.

  • Scotiabank (Banking)
  • Period Naming Rights (Presenting Sponsor)
  • Live Read Commercial
  • Logo Pop Up
  • Recorded Commercial (3)
  • SkipTheDishes (On-Demand Delivery)
  • Sponsored Segment
  • Live Read Commercial
  • Recorded Commercial (2)

ABC’s broadcast featured 61 unique brands. The three most prominent brands from the  US coverage were as follows:

  • Lexus (Luxury Car Manufacturer)
  • Intermission Report Naming Rights (Presenting Sponsor)
  • Logo in Studio
  • Live Read Commercial
  • Recorded Commercial (4)
  • GEICO (Insurance
  • Presenting Sponsor of the 2022 Stanley Cup Finals
  • Live Read Commercial
  • Logo Pop up
  • Recorded Commercial (3)
  • Verizon (Telecommunications)
  • Pregame Naming Rights (Presenting Sponsor)
  • Logo in Studio
  • Recorded Commercial (3)

June Is Pride Month

Brands are creating activations to highlight their support of the LGBTQI+ community during pride month. Check out some of the brands that have activated in a big way.

Procter & Gamble (P&G)
Orlando Health
The Pride Center of Maryland
Pennsylvania Lottery
Independence Blue Cross
Hornitos Tequila
City Furniture
Capital One
TD Bank
Athlete Ally
Ally Financial
Visit Washington County
Verify This

Some of the most interesting and unique activations this year have been with the use of digital assets. During Coachella, Absolut created a three-floor installation in the Metaverse. ​​On floor three, attendees could explore the rainbow-themed Pride room, where wearables were given to those who posted about their experience on their own social media.

Earlier this month Bud Light was a presenting sponsor of Pride Night in a game at Minute Maid Park where the Houston Astros played the New York Mets. The Seattle Sounders partnered with Starbucks to promote Pride awareness throughout the month of June via their social media channels.

Kit Suppliers | European Football

SponsorUnited released ​​the first international partnerships report focused on European football. Jersey exposure is a significant asset for brands to leverage with the prominent logo position. For more insights, check out the full report.

  • No surprise, Apparel & Accessory giants Nike and Adidas lead the way with 62 team partnerships (34%). The largest number of deals are in Spain (50%) and least amount are with Italian teams (17.5%)
  • Italy has the most suppliers with 17 unique brands
  • There is a relatively even split between primary and secondary leagues (18 different brands av. 5.4 teams each v. 20 @ 5.2)
  • Castore have announced their plans for European expansion (already supplying Newcastle and Wolves) signing up Aston Villa, Bayer 04 Leverkusen, Sevilla and UD Almeria for 22/23
  • With nearly 170 kit deals, Ligue 1 is the most popular league for brands to sign a jersey kit sponsorship with
  • 40% of brands purchased both a primary and a practice jersey patch with the same team
  • The highest sub-category for primary jersey patches was Betting Services with 18, despite being banned in 20% of the leagues

NHL Partnerships Report

DOWNLOAD REPORT: https://sponsorunited.com/nhl-2021-22-report/

Finance companies boost NHL team sponsorship revenue past the $1B mark for the first time in league history

The NHL 2021-22 Marketing & Partnerships Annual Report highlights trends in sponsorships surrounding the National Hockey League, teams, athletes, and media partners. Uncover data on over 3,300 NHL partnership deals and over 2,000 active brands buying sponsorships and media in the NHL.

Key findings from the report include:

  • Finance companies boost NHL team sponsorship revenue past the $1B mark for the first time in league history.
    This jump is a 63% increase from the $623 million in the 2020-21 season.
  • Cause-related sponsorship campaigns increased 23% year over year, with Finance brands overtaking Healthcare brands as the most active supporter of causes.
    On average, 10 brands activated against a cause (vs. 8 last season.)
  • The seven Canadian teams had a higher average social following compared to the 23 US teams.
    Brands received 2x the engagement with US teams.
  • The NHL league account posts more than any other pro sports league, in fact, 2x more than the NFL (second-most.)
    No team or player in the NHL has a larger social following than the league itself.
  • Banking and Beer brands were the top spenders as marquee brands continued to increase spend this season.
    Beer companies more than doubled their spend with NHL teams which moved the Beverage (Alcoholic) category past Healthcare to #2.


This report was compiled using SponsorUnited’s proprietary platform data from September 2021 through June 2022.

*Social Data Compiled from Property or Person-Controlled Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, LinkedIn Social Accounts and Activity.

NBA Finals Matchup

The Golden State Warriors won their 4th NBA Finals in eight years after taking down the Boston Celtics in a 103-90 game six victory. While the Warriors may have won the finals on the court, how did this year’s NBA Finals contenders match up in the sponsorship / media scene off the court?

The Golden State Warriors have a combined social following of 46.6M to the Boston Celtics 19.6M across all major social media platforms (TW, IG, FB, TT.) Instagram is the top social platform for the Warriors, hosting 50% of the team’s total following. They also saw a 19% YOY increase in total followers, which was one of the highest jumps in the NBA. The Celtics’ top social platform is Facebook, and the team saw a 5% YOY increase in total following. Interestingly enough, both teams lead their markets, as both teams rank #1 in total following across any properties in their respective markets.

The Golden State Warriors come out on top in partnership deals with over 400+ brand partners and 80+ sponsors during the 2021-22 NBA season. 46 of these brands leveraged the team’s social media platforms, and averaged 50+ unique sponsored posts per brand. When ranked by number of assets, the Warriors’ top partners for the season were Chase, Kaiser Permanente, Rakuten, HPE – Hewlett-Packard Enterprise, and Oracle. The Boston Celtics still had quite the portfolio, eclipsing 350+ brand partners and 60+ sponsors throughout the 2021-22 NBA season. 38 of Boston’s partners leveraged the team’s social media, with an average of 45+ sponsored posts per brand. Top partners for the Boston Celtics this season were TD Bank, JetBlue, Putnam Investments, New Balance, and Xfinity. 

MLB Teams Are Hitting Social Media Hard

The MLB season is in full swing and teams have been taking their game seriously on social media. The Atlanta Braves are delivering both on and off the field with their 14  game winning streak and ranking #1 for social engagement for sponsors across all 30 MLB teams. The Braves are the 6th most followed team in the MLB with 6M total followers (Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, TikTok). They boast a YOY increase of 13% and have an impressive 1.44 engagements on their sponsored posts. Brands like Truist (homefield naming partner), Papa Johns, Subway and RaceTrac can be seen leveraging and taking advantage of the Braves’ social game. 

The other 9 of the top 10 MLB teams in terms of social engagement x sponsored posts include: 

  1. Los Angeles Dodgers (1.24M): The Dodgers have seen 1.24M engagements across all sponsored posts helping them claim the number two spot on the list. They are the 3rd ranked MLB team in terms of social following with 9.4M total followers. They rank #1 for followers on Instagram with 3M.

Top brands with Dodgers social deal include: UCLA Health, Yaamava Resort & Casino at San Manuel, Advance AutoParts.


  1. New York Mets (1.21M): The New York Mets not only have seen success in total engagement on sponsored posts, they also have the most active fans boasting the highest ratio of engagement on branded posts. 0.9% of Mets followers interact with branded posts, that’s almost 40% higher than the Dodgers.  

Top brands with Mets social deal include: Coney Island Brewing Company, Citibank, loanDepot


  1. Chicago White Sox (734K): The Chicago White Sox are #4 on the list with a total engagement of 734K. The White Sox are the 16th most followed team in the MLB and 5th most followed property in the Chicago market. They saw a YOY increase of 5%.

Top brands with White Sox social deal include: FanDuel, Horseshoe Hammond, Guaranteed Rate


  1. Houston Astros (703K): The Astros come in at #5 with 703K total engagements on branded social posts. They are the 13th most followed team in the MLB with 4.4M followers across Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and TikTok.

Top brands with Astros social deal include: Reliant Energy, AT&T SportsNet and Budweiser


  1. Chicago Cubs (690K): The #6 team on the list, the Chicago Cubs. The Cubs are the 2nd most followed property in Chicago and 4th most followed in the MLB with 8.3M total followers. They have a prominent presence on TikTok with 726K followers, the most of any MLB team. 

Top brands with Cubs social deal include: Las Vegas Tourism, Sloan, Marriott Bonvoy


  1. Milwaukee Brewers (438K): The Milwaukee Brewers are the 24th most followed team in the MLB with 2.4M total followers and come in 7th for total engagement for sponsored posts with 438K. They have seen a 5% YOY increase and are the 2nd most followed property in the Milwaukee market, just behind the Bucks. 

Top brands with Brewers social deal include: UW Credit Union, Fleet Farm, Ball Sports Wisconsin


  1. Philadelphia Phillies (274K): With 274K total engagement, the Philadelphia Phillies take the #8 spot. They are the 12th most followed team in the MLB with 4.5M total followers and the 4th most followed property in the Philadelphia media market.

Top brands with Phillies social deal include: SportsRadio 94 WIP, Independence Blue Cross, Herr’s


  1. San Diego Padres (272K): The San Diego Padres are ranked #9 with 272K total engagement on sponsored posts. They have 2.7M total followers across the major social media platforms and have a YOY increase of 16%. 

Top brands with Padres social deal include: Petco, ClickUp, USAA


  1. Boston Red Sox (178K): Rounding out the top 10 is the Boston Red Sox with 178K total engagements. They are the 2nd most followed team in the MLB, only behind the New York Yankees, with 9.7M total followers. 

Top brands with Red Sox social deal include: JetBlue, Nissan, STIHL

Sponsor United x Governors Ball

Over the weekend SponsorUnited was on the ground at the 2022 Governors Ball at Citi Field. Some of the most unique brand activations take place during Music Festivals to leverage the energized fanbase. Tito’s, Goose Island, Bacardi, Coinbase, Dunkin’ & M&M’s activated throughout the festival, so which activations provided the most memorable experience for fans?

Tito’s Handmade Vodka: Tito’s “Party in the Shack”, where attendees could purchase Tito’s Handmade Vodka cocktails while charging their phones or taking photos in the photo booth. Attendees could also participate in activities to win branded sunglasses or bandanas.

Goose Island: Goose Island had a special photo booth opportunity with a bear to promote their own “beer hug” beer, along with some take home items like sunglasses.

Bacardi: Bacardi had their own sponsored club, with a couple activities where attendees could play pickleball, dance on the dance floor, a customized station for fans to personalize items with their on-site upcycling, along with a charging station.

Coinbase: Coinbase had an elevated space where attendees could scan the Coinbase QR code and set up their own Coinbase Wallet as well as take their own NFT profile picture which is then delivered via the app. (Nice way for brands to get fans to sign up for the app!) 

Dunkin’: Dunkin’ had a sponsored club/deck, attendees could enjoy a cup of coffee along with photo opportunities with their branded swinging bench and phone booth. Unique selfie stations if you will.

M&M’s: M&M’s had a sponsored music lounge where attendees received free small samples of M&M chocolate, and participated in a personality/vibe test.

May Brand Power Rankings

New brands are taking over the sponsorship scene this summer. During May, 9 of the top 10 most searched brands on the SponsorUnited platform made the list for the first time this year. Pink Energy jumped to the #1 spot after announcing a unique partnership with NFL prospect Aidan Hutchinson before the NFL Draft.

Pink Energy’s partnership with Hutchison was aimed around the growth of future athletes, as the company pledged a $15,000 scholarship award, called The Aidan Hutchinson Walk-On Scholarship, to a deserving walk-on at Hutchinson’s alma mater for the upcoming football season. 35% of Pink Energy’s partnership deals are in the Detroit market, including a team deal with the Detroit Lions, where Aidan Hutchinson happened to be drafted. 

UK based Fintech brand WhaleFin ranked #3 last month, after announcing a partnership with EPL Chelsea F.C. As the club’s first digital asset partner, WhaleFin will become the club’s Official Sleeve Partner and will showcase their logo across the kit of both the men’s and women’s teams at the start of the 2022/23 season. 

Cryptocurrency brands continued to shine amongst all other categories in May. Of the top 100 brands searched, Crypto brands were searched 2X more than any other category. Eight Crypto brands landed in the top 30. 

Cricket Wireless & Snickers Own The Ring

One could say that Cricket Wireless and Snickers own the WWE sponsorship landscape. Both brands are integrated into WWE pay-per-view broadcasts. Superstar wrestlers also appear in the brand’s commercials. Cricket leverages Charlotte Flair, The Miz and Kofi Kingston and Snickers commercials feature Alpha Academy.

What assets will be featured during this weekend’s WWE Hell in a Cell?

Snickers is the presenting sponsor of the four major WWE PPV events-  Royal Rumble, Wrestlemania, Summer Slam, and Survivor Series. On top of being the presenting sponsor, Snickers has TV-visible signage which includes digital ads near the ring and fixed ads on the announcers table.

Cricket Wireless sponsors the PPV kickoff prior to the main events. Cricket is also the presenting sponsor of the Cricket Fan Zone which is right outside of the events space for fans to interact. In the venue, Cricket Wireless has the press conference banner, TV-visible signage, interior signage and signage across the concourse.

The WWE owns the endorsement opportunities for all WWE wrestlers which means the WWE manages all deals. Cricket Wireless has deals with 10 wrestlers and leverages their social as well as their personas in their commercials. Becky Lynch & Bianca Belair, both wrestling in this weekends Hell In A Cell, have mutliple social posts with Cricket. Utilizing the wrestlers social following, the brand has a total engagement of over 240K across these wrestlers totalling over 40 posts.

Brands Leverage Rising MLB Stars

Every MLB season a star is born where fans and brands are eagerly tracking every move of the rising star. Back in 2019, the name Vladimir Guerrero Jr. might only have been known to Blue Jays fans. That quickly changed for the rising star turned superstar who landed a spot in the Home Run Derby his rookie year. He went from 0 endorsement deals in ’19 to 14 deals just two seasons later. Vlad is now the #1 most endorsed MLB athlete in the league.

Which rising stars will impress brands the most this year in hopes to secure top deals?

In his 5th season with the LA Angels, Taylor Ward is in the top 5 for MLB Batting Average and is expected to 4X his total at bats. This is a trend fans and brands love to see. Based on the current landscape of MLB player endorsements, which brands can we expect to target Ward?

Ranked by total number of MLB endorsements, here are the top 5 categories along with the top brands.

  1. Leisure & Recreation
    1. Rawlings
    2. Wilson
    3. Topps
  2. Apparel & Accessories
    1. Nike
    2. New Balance
    3. Franklin Sports
  3. Retail
    1. Forever Collectibles
    2. Dick’s Sporting Goods
    3. TicketSmarter
  4. Technology
    1. Adobe Creative Cloud
    2. MLB The Show
    3. Candy Digital
  5. Beverage – Non-Alcoholic
    1. Pepsi
    2. BodyArmor
    3. Essentia Water

Here are players on the rise that brands should be watching this year:

  • Bo Bichette, Toronto Blue Jays
  • Alek Manoah, Toronto Blue Jays
  • Byron Buxton, Minnesota Twins
  • Triston McKenzie, Cleveland Guardians
  • Luis Robert, Chicago White Sox
  • Eloy Jimenez, Chicago White Sox
  • Wander Franco, Tampa Bay Rays
  • Michael Kopech, Chicago White Sox
  • Jhoan Duran, Minnesota Twins
  • Nestor Cortes, New York Yankees
  • Shane McClanahan, Tampa Bay Rays
  • Jeremy Pena, Houston Astros
  • Brandon Nimmo, New York Mets