Sponsor Insights

FA Cup 2022 | Endorsement Matchup

The final round of the FA Cup took place this weekend as Liverpool defeated Chelsea in a penalty shootout.

We compare the social media presence and deals of Chelsea striker, Romelu Lukaku, with Liverpool defender, Trent Alexander-Arnold.

Liverpool Vs. Chelsea

Mother’s Day | Celebrity Endorsements

With Mother’s Day coming up this Sunday, we take a look at the sponsorship and media activity of four notable celebrity mothers: Serena Williams, Kris Jenner, Kate Hudson, and Cardi B.

Mother's Day

Masters 2022 Celebrity Commercials | SponsorInsights

The 2022 Masters Tournament has concluded, and SponsorUnited tracked over 50 athletes and celebrities who made appearances in commercials during the tourney.

Take a look at some of the brand and celebrities who were seen in commercials this weekend.Masters Endorsement Commercials

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?

Golf | Endorsements

The most anticipated golf tournament of the year is finally here as the Masters tees off in Augusta. Over 280 brands have an endorsement deal with golfers across the world, and these brands use the Masters as their runway to showcase their partnerships with the best of the best. On average, each professional golfer has 5 endorsements. Brands are eager to get premium placement on players hats, shirts, bags, and shoes. In regards to the most partnerships with golfers, ROLEX and NetJets lead the way for non-apparel brands while Titleist and TaylorMade are #1 and #2 respectively across all categories (no surprise there).

So who are the top betting favorites we’ll see on the course this weekend? And which lucky brands are  capitalizing on these players’ social following?

The top five betting favorites heading into the tournament are Justin Thomas, Jon Rahm, Scottie Scheffler, Dustin Johnson, & Cameron Smith. Johnson leads the group in terms of social media followers with over 2 million across IG / FB /  channels. Having the least amount of followers is Scheffler. However, his followers are highly engaged making Scheffler’s average engagement rate over 65% on his branded posts. Four of these five golfers have deals with both NetJets and Titleist, brands that are sure to garner extra exposure throughout the weekend. 

Aside from Apparel & Accessories, Watches & Jewelry, Banking, and Software companies are the most frequent categories signing golfers to endorsement deals with their brands. The top three brands within these categories are Rolex, Veritex Community Bank, & Slync.io respectively.

Golf Endorsements

NIL Deals | Endorsements

With March Madness wrapping up earlier this week, it signifies the end of the first ever March Madness tournament in which many athletes participating have NIL deals. Before the tournament began, Chet Holmgren and Paolo Banchero signed a deal with Yahoo! Sports in order to promote the company’s bracket “Pick’em game”. In addition to this deal, Sheets and Giggles (a mattress company) signed five athletes to be a part of their “Sleep Sixteen” campaign. This initiative promoted the effects of a good night’s sleep by partnering with five female and male athletes who played the least amount of minutes on their teams, educating fans on the importance of rest. 

During the tournament, two unlikely athletes were able to capitalize on big time moments.

The first being Doug Edert, who helped lead the 15th seeded Saint Peters Peacocks to a historic Elite Eight run. During this run Edert capitalized by signing a NIL Deal with Buffalo Wild Wings. Another unlikely deal came from an athlete, but not on the court. During the Saint Mary’s vs. Indiana first round game, a ball got stuck on top of the hoop. When nobody could get the ball down, Indiana cheerleader Cassidy Cerny saved the day by getting the ball down. Days after the game, BreakingT signed a deal with Cerny creating a shirt to encapsulate the moment.

 

Five popular basketball players have been taking advantage of the new NIL rules. Azzi Fudd, Zia Cooke, Paige Bueckers, Hailey Van Lith, & Paolo Banchero all have over four deals and more than 250k social media followers.

Brands Are Going Dancing With NIL Deals

Over 115 brands have taken advantage of signing a men’s college basketball player to a NIL deal since granted access in July 2021. Mercury NFT claims the #1 overall spot with 11 total NIL deals. The brand’s college portfolio includes Dontaie Allen, Keion Brooks Jr., Davion Mintz, Jacob Toppin, TyTy Washington, along with Coach John Calipari of the Kentucky Wildcats. 

Rounding out the top four spots are Morgan & Morgan (10 deals), FTX (7 deals) and Raising Cane’s (7 deals). 48% of Morgan & Morgan’s total sponsorship deals are with collegiate basketball players while FTX continues to expand their portfolio across numerous colleges and leagues during the 2021 and 2022 seasons.

The technology category has over 30 endorsements within the NIL space with NFT’s accounting for nearly 50% of tech category deals. Ranked by sub-categories in technology, NFT is second after Non-Athletic Apparel/Footwear. Cryptocurrency is 5th as brands lean on the younger generation to promote the blockchain technology that has recently revolutionized the technology industry. Instagram is the most utilized social media platform by these athletes as it beats out Twitter in terms of the number of branded posts.

10 of the Kentucky Wildcat players have landed in the top 30 for NCAA men’s basketball players in terms of NIL endorsement deals. Here is the full list of the top athletes with 5 or more endorsement deals:

NIL deals

Shaun White’s Final Ride

The fourth most followed extreme sports athlete, Shaun White has accumulated 7.5M social media fans while leveraging 15 brands across his portfolio. His most engaged post was inspired by his relationship with Louis Vuitton as a tribute to Virgil Abloh.

White is ranked fifth in total brand partnerships within extreme action sports athletes. Marco Odermatt ranks second in total deals and has an amazing average engagement rate of 78.8% compared to White’s engagement of 1.6%. On average each brand White has a deal with has had two social media posts in the last 12 months while having  a total engagement of over 800k with his 29 posts.

After qualifying for the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics, Shaun White signed a major deal with energy sports drink CELSIUS, joining numerous athletes such as Dustin Poirier, Amanda Nunez, and Julius Randle as the brands newest athlete partner.

Lebron James & Kevin Durant | NBA All-Star Endorsements

Sunday, February 20th, Team LeBron takes on Team Durant in the 2022 NBA All-Star Game hosted at Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse.

Los Angeles Lakers superstar, LeBron James, has seen a 21% increase in social followers and a 75% increase in brand endorsements this season. On the other side of the court, Kevin Durant of the Brooklyn Nets has seen a quick boom in endorsements featuring CoinbaseWeedmaps, Degree, Master & Dynamic, and Nike. Not to mention his investments with the Philadelphia Union.

NBA All-Star Weekend LeBron James

NBA All-Star Weekend Kevin Durant

This Sunday, Team LeBron takes on Team Durant in the 2022 NBA All-Star Game hosted at Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse.

Los Angeles Lakers superstar, LeBron James, has seen a 21% increase in social followers and a 75% increase in brand endorsements this season. On the other side of the court, Kevin Durant of the Brooklyn Nets has seen a quick boom in endorsements featuring CoinbaseWeedmaps, Degree, Master & Dynamic, and Nike. Not to mention his investments with the Philadelphia Union.

James Harden vs Ben Simmons | NBA Trade Deadline

NBA trade deadline

On the final day of the NBA trade deadline, the Brooklyn Nets and Philadelphia 76ers pulled off a blockbuster deal trading James Harden for Ben Simmons among other players.

Simmons, who hasn’t played this year, still ranks #10 in the NBA in total endorsement deals and has outperformed Harden in terms of branded post engagement, with almost 1% of his total followers liking/sharing/commenting on posts where he promotes a brand.  Playing has its benefits, however, as Harden has grown his follower base by 129% this year, compared to 9% by Simmons.

According to SponsorUnited data, Nike and adidas lead the way in terms of sponsorship deals with NBA athletes. Similar to the overall NBA, the two brands battle back and forth to land more deals. In this instance, adidas has landed Harden while Nike has Simmons. BodyArmor, a Harden partner, and Verizon, a Simmons partner, both also are in the top 7 in terms of sponsorship deals while Verizon edges out BodyArmor narrowly.

Karl-Anthony Towns leads the way in the NBA with 16 endorsement deals followed by Trae Young with 13 followed by Jayson Tatum with 12. Lebron James has the most total social followers in the league north of 185 million with Steph Curry behind him over 60 million. Although Bron may take the lead in followers, Curry has a .91% engagement rate while Bron’s is .38%.