Sponsor Insights

Fall Is The NFL’s Prime Time To Shine On Social Media

Since the NFL calendar year kicked off last April, the league and its teams have amassed over 14K branded posts on social media, engaging more than 39M followers. Some 1,225 deals have been activated across social channels during the same period.

How does this compare to NFL athletes over the last 12 months? Players have activated 1,707 partnerships via social media across 3,099 posts for a total engagement of nearly 42M. On average, the league and teams have been more active on social media so far this season than the players themselves.

Thanks to their team partnerships, 828 brands have been showcased on social media since the season’s start. Technology tops the category list by number of posts, closely followed by Alcohol, Financial, and Healthcare.

The top 5 brands by post frequency so far:

  • Bud Light
  • Gatorade
  • Socios.com
  • EA Sports
  • Microsoft Surface

Meanwhile, 848 brands have had a post with NFL athletes over the last year. For player posts, Apparel & Accessories leads the way by industry, followed by Retail and Non-Alcoholic beverages. Bud Light is the only crossover among the top 5 brands:

  • DraftKings
  • Bose
  • Bud Light
  • Lowe’s
  • Sleep Number

The NFL season is prime time for players to showcase their brand partnerships across social media. 

The top 5 posts by players and their brand partners (by engagement in September):

  1. Tyreek Hill x Soul Runner (102K)
  2. Josh Allen x New Era Cap (97K)
  3. Justin Jefferson x Oakley (82K)
  4. Chase Claypool x Jordan Brand (50K)
  5. Justin Jefferson x Optimum Nutrition (47K)

Teams are also leveraging their endorsement deals on social as the season heads into its 5th week. 

The top 5 posts by teams and their brand partners (by engagement in September):

NFL x Verizon (484K)

  1. Miami Dolphins x Gatorade (203K)
  2. Dallas Cowboys x Winstar World Casino & Resort (131K)
  3. Pittsburgh Steelers x Gatorade (116K)
  4. Dallas Cowboys x Bank of America (111K)

We Made The List!

SponsorUnited Debuts at No. 145 on the 2022 Inc. 5000 List

First-Time Honor Ranks Innovative Intelligence Platform in the Top 3% of the Fastest-Growing Private Companies in America

SponsorUnited, the leading global sports and entertainment intelligence platform, debuted today at No. 145 on the annual Inc. 5000 list–the most prestigious ranking of the fastest-growing private companies in America. The list represents a snapshot of the most successful companies within the economy’s independent businesses–arguably its most dynamic segment. Microsoft, Patagonia, Chobani, Under Armour, Facebook, and many other household names first rose to prominence on the national stage as members of the Inc. 5000.

In addition to ranking No. 145 overall, SponsorUnited is the third fastest growing company in Connecticut, and the twelfth fastest growing Advertising & Marketing company on the list.

“Making the 2022 Inc. 5000 and ranking in the top 3% of companies on the list is a true testament to the sheer effort, attitude and ingenuity of the thousands of people who’ve contributed to SponsorUnited’s success,” said Bob Lynch, SponsorUnited’s Founder & CEO.

While working for the Miami Dolphins and then the Brooklyn Nets from 2010-2015, Lynch sensed an opportunity for brands and properties to partner more effectively in the complex world of sponsorships. Companies across industries would benefit enormously from a resource that demystified the sponsorship marketplace and provided greater accessibility to partnership deals.

Inspired by this mission, Lynch launched the SponsorUnited platform in 2018. The company has since grown substantially to 130 employees and 1,000 partners in 18 countries.

Complete results of the 2022 Inc. 5000 can be found at www.inc.com/inc5000.

Press Release

European Football 2021-22 Report

European Football Sponsorships

Download Now: https://sponsorunited.com/2021-22-european-football-partnerships/

The first international sponsorship and marketing report focused on European football.

The 2021-22 European Football Partnerships Report is fortified by data from over 7,000 brands across more than 9,000 deals and from 10 of the top European football leagues (Premier League, LaLiga, Serie A, Bundesliga and Ligue 1, along with each league’s corresponding second tier.) This report also contains growth and engagement insights on over 2,750 brands that created collaborative social media content.

Key findings from the report include:

  • Construction is the most active sponsorship category for the third consecutive season across European football leagues.
  • While Betting deals have declined by 10%, Crypto deals have grown an impressive 140% this season.
  • The most searched brands by European football club executives were Crypto.com, FTX, DraftKings, Verizon and Dunkin’.
  • Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi now officially have over 1B followers combined due in part to joining new clubs.
  • Transferring teams can offer a huge boost in social following for players.

This report was compiled using SponsorUnited’s proprietary platform data from July 2021 through May 2022. Social data compiled from property or person-controlled Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, TikTok and LinkedIn accounts and social activity. The leagues included in this report are as follows: Premier League, LaLiga, Serie A, Bundesliga, Ligue 1, EFL Championship, LaLiga 2, Serie B, 2. Bundesliga, Ligue 2.

SalesUniversity | Info

SalesUniversity

1st Day of NY International Auto Show and Toyota is Winning the Race

New York International Auto Week begins today with an estimated attendance of over 1M. 25 manufacturers are expected to make appearances during the week across five different car categories- convertibles, coupes, crossovers, electric, and fuel cell. Toyota has the most total deals of all brands attending, followed by Ford Motor Company, Nissan, and Hyundai Motor.

Toyota’s partnership portfolio spans across +120 different property types, including all five Major Pro Sports leagues. Additionally, Toyota also holds Venue Naming Rights for eight different properties like the Houston Rockets (Toyota Center) and FC Dallas (Toyota Stadium) just to name a few. Even with the most partnerships of any auto manufacturer, Toyota continues to trend upwards, partnering with +34% more properties since 2020. 

Keep an eye out for Toyota in both the New York International Auto Show and the partnership scene.

Auto Week

Social Media Category Patterns Take Shape

According to an analysis of over 30,000 brands spending on endorsements or sponsorship/media campaigns, each of the “Power 5” platforms represents a unique characterization. For example, Consumer Products is the most active category on TikTok, while not cracking the top five on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn.

This past year, we tracked over 30,000 brands buying endorsements or sponsorship/media campaigns that included social media. We found that the Alcohol category had the most sponsored posts in Major Pro Sports, led by Bud Light and Michelob Ultra. The most engaging post in Major Pro Sports was Bibigo’s jersey patch announcement with the Los Angeles Lakers, which saw an engagement score of 1,056,188. The New England Patriots had the highest engaging TikTok post–a sponsored video partnering with apparel company Stitch. 

A major decision maker when choosing TikTok for branded social posts, is to directly target a younger demographic with personable content, as 41% of the user base is made up of people  ages 16-24. Manscaped is a top five brand in the consumer products category when ranked by total partnerships, and leverages TikTok through integrated videos with verified social influencers such as TooTurntTony, who’s sponsored TikTok videos with Manscaped average 386,000 engagements. Walmart leads all brands in total integrated media deals on TikTok, having 66 partnerships with a roster of celebrities and influencers to promote beauty products and fashion designs.

The Apparel & Accessories category appears in the top five categories for all social media platforms, and is led by the two apparel giants Nike and adidas. An impressive 60% of all adidas 900+ partnerships include social media content, while only 37% of Nike’s 1,600+ partnerships.

Social Media Sponsors

Baseball is Back, and 1 Brand is Showing Off Their Newest Partnership

For the first time, Apple TV+ covered MLB Friday night baseball and their brand integrations throughout the broadcasts were seamless. The doubleheader broadcast was presented by Cue Health and ZipRecruiter and Apple products were uniquely featured throughout the broadcast.

Apple TV+’s first iteration of their MLB broadcast featured the New York Mets vs. the Washington Nationals and the Houston Astros vs. the Los Angeles Angels, covered by Stephen Nelson (play-by-play), Hunter Pence (analyst), Katie Nolan (analyst), and Heidi Watney (reporter). 

Sub-brands and concepts from Apple were integrated during the competition aiming to enhance the viewers experience. Each player’s “Walk Up Song” was presented by Apple Music with the Apple Music Logo and song details featured on screen next to the batter. How long until Apple integrates a QR code for viewers to automatically download or purchase music directly from the TV during Friday night games?

Apple’s Siri was utilized to activate both entertainment and event related content, providing fans with fun trivia questions and calculated probability stats during the games. Reporter Heidi Watney conducted interviews while wearing a pair of Apple Airpods Max. For added exposure for the brand, Watney was interrupted during her live interview with Jeremy Peña’s parents by Peña’s first ever career home run. 

Amazon is also making headway in the professional sports broadcast game in 2022, after Prime Video was announced as the exclusive home of NFL Thursday Night Football. Prime Video’s first NFL broadcast was in 2017, with non-exclusive streaming rights to ten regular season games. The new Thursday coverage will feature legendary sports broadcaster Al Michaels, who covered his record 11th SuperBowl this past year. The National Football League currently  partners with Amazon by leveraging Amazon Web Services (AWS) to provide new stats that create better experiences for fans, players and teams.

Apple TV+’s studio’s Pre-Game Show was presented by BetMGM and Post-Game Show by SoFI. The Friday night coverage will continue through the season, including tonight for Jackie Robinson Day. Broadcasts for Apple TV+ coverage are available in the United States, Canada, Australia, Brazil, Japan, Mexico, Puerto Rico, South Korea and the United Kingdom.

MLB x AppleTV

Grand National Viewership Puts The Super Bowl’s to Shame

While over 10M viewers tuned in Sunday to watch the Masters Final Round, everyone else around the world was watching the Grand National. With a view count higher than the NFL Super Bowl, over 500M people tuned in to watch the three day 2022 Grand National events. The annual horse race in Liverpool had over 60+ partnerships, including naming rights sponsors for each of the three races over the long weekend.

With a viewership number like the Grand National, it pays to be a sponsor. So who cashed in big?

The Grand National’s Race Naming Rights Sponsors for the three-day event were:

Thursday (4/7)

Randox, Betway, SSS Super Alloys, Jewson, Close Brothers, Goffs UK.

Friday (4/8)

Randox, Betway, Alder Hey, Marsh Insurance, House of Cavani, Park Palace Ponies

Saturday (4/9)

Randox, Betway, EFT Construction, Poundland, JRL Group, Weatherbys.

Randox and Betway cashed in on the high viewership count as they were the only brands with naming rights for all three days. Randox, a UK based healthcare brand, became the first non-alcoholic Title Sponsor of the Grand National in 2017 after signing a five-year deal as the Exclusive Title Sponsor (now with a new deal extension through 2026). Randox had 38+ in-person assets during this year’s event, including Interior Signage, Rider Jersey Patches, Horse Saddle Signage, and Integrated Content into The Grand National’s Printed Program. 

Other assets that brands activated during the race included a Sponsored Award, Press Conference Banners, and Sponsored Services Provided. The race featured over 2x more deals than the average equestrian event, and over 50% of the deals included a form of Venue Signage. In total, there are over 300 brands that partner with equestrian / thoroughbred events globally, but 27% less brands partnering with UK based events than the US.

Grand National

Brands Master Endorsement Deals with Golfers

The Masters is such an exclusive event when it comes to tournament sponsors, therefore it allows more room to highlight golfer’s individual partnerships. Scottie Scheffler took home the coveted green jacket Sunday, and it’s fair to assume his brand partners also felt like they won. Scheffler, the #1 ranked golfer in the world, works with six brands including Nike, Veritex Community Bank, TaylorMade, and Titleist. Congratulations to these brands on their maximum exposure during the Masters, and as Scheffler continues his hot streak on top.

While Scheffler’s brand partners are capitalizing on his green jacket win, let’s see how his sponsorship numbers par up to the top five finishers. And what about those other guys favored to win?

Top 5 Finishers

1st Scottie Scheffler | 6 Brands

2nd Rory McIlroy | 19 Brands

T3rd Shane Lowry | 7 Brands

T3rd Cameron Smith | 8 Brands

5th Collin Morikawa | 12 Brands

 

Top 5 Favorites to Win Masters

Justin Thomas | 10 Brands

Jon Rahm | 10 Brands

Brooks Koepka | 7 Brands

Collin Morikawa | 12 Brands

Cameron Smith | 8 Brands

Interestingly enough, Scheffler has the least amount of deals when compared to his competition, but that stat will likely not stick around for long. Take Collin Morikawa for example, after winning his first major back in 2020, his deals increased by +140%. This year he was a fan favorite to win along with his 12 brand partnerships. It will be interesting to see how Scheffler’s Masters win, and first PGA win, will affect his number of deals. Will his endorsements skyrocket like that of Morikawa? What brands will be next to leverage Scheffler’s game and highly engaged social media following?

Sneaker Collaborations

Everyone knows sneaker collaborations are extremely popular across music artists, athletes, influencers, and teams, and brands are eager to get in on the action. So far in 2022 we’ve seen quite a few collaborations that were unique and a bit surprising. 

Fruity Pebbles x Nike x Lebron

Waffle House x adidas

Sweethearts x Crocs

Just to name a few….

This past week, Waffle House x adidas created limited-edition golf shoes for the Masters. Available beginning April 7th, the three stripes on the sides will sport a brown, checkered waffle pattern.

What other brands have created limited edition footwear?

The adidas and Waffle House collab, follows in the footsteps of adidas and LEGO in mid 2021. The two organizations came together to provide LEGO fans with not only one shoe, but an entire sneaker line of LEGO branded sneakers. 

Lebron James x Nike x Fruity Pebbles debuted the LeBron James 19 Low Magic Fruity Pebbles shoe. Providing promotions during the launch, fans were able to buy a box of the Magic Fruity Pebbles for 20% any items and automatically be entered into a sweepstakes for Lebron’s limited-edition shoe.

Crocs has been a leading brand within the sneaker collaboration space partnering with many music artists. Diplo, Post Malone, Saweetie, Justin Bieber amongst others have all partnered with Crocs over the last year creating Crocs that show off the artists style and vibes.

Sneaker Collaborations