Sponsor Insights

CMA Awards

The 56th Annual CMA Awards take place tonight at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tennessee.

Take a look at the social game and endorsement deals of the 5 nominees for Entertainer of the Year.

Sponsored Integration Is Brands’ Top Tactic on YouTube

Deals between YouTube influencers and brands are legion, as these charismatic personalities continue to build significant partnership portfolios. Sponsored integration within their YouTube videos is the leading way influencers work with brands. 

Over 550 brands saw sponsored integration within YouTube influencers’ videos in the past year. The most active brands were:

  • Betterhelp (sponsored videos with more than 15 influencers) 
  • SeatGeek
  • DraftKings
  • HelloFresh
  • NordVPN
  • Skillshare (85% of its deals include YouTube sponsor integration)

Top YouTube Influencers

MMG (Matthew Meagher) Madden Youtuber:. One of the most endorsed YouTubers with 44 deals–of which 91% include sponsored integration on YouTube–MMG ranks in the top 1% of all social influencers by deal count. Just this year, 68 of his videos featured sponsored integration. With 2.32M followers on YouTube, he’s also bolstering his TikTok presence: his current 1M followers saw 13% growth in the last 12 months.

MrBeast (Jimmy Donaldson) American Youtuber: With a whopping 110M subscribers, MrBeast is a bona fide YouTube sensation, and has racked up a staggering 200M gross following across all social platforms (YT, TT, TW, IG, FB). Mobile app Brawl Stars hit the endorsement lottery with MrBeast thanks to sponsored integration in his most viewed video ever, garnering more than 300M views since November 2021. 

Interestingly, MrBeast partners with less than 10 brands: 

  • Brawl Stars
  • DraftKings
  • Honey
  • Venmo
  • Current
  • Walmart
  • Experian
  • Coinbase
  • Nerf 

Golden Glove Endorsements

Rising stars took over the MLB Gold Glove Winners list with 14 players earning the award for the first time across the AL and NL leagues. With many new faces winning for the 1st time, brands will have the opportunity to capitalize on these rising stars.

Athletic apparel and equipment brands most frequently partnered with this year’s Gold Glove Award Winners, led by Rawling Sporting Goods (6), Franklin Sports (5), New Balance (4), and Nike (4).

To learn more about endorsement deals in the MLB and much more, visit HERE.

Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame 2022 Inductees

Dolly Parton, Eminem, and Lionel Richie are among the inductees at the 37th annual Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony sponsored by City National Bank, taking place November 5th at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. Let’s take a look at their endorsement portfolios. 

Dolly Parton

The iconic country star and 10-time Grammy winner has built an impressive stable of 19 brand partnerships, including these five notable deals: 

  • Duncan Hines: Dolly and Duncan Hines partnered on a line of baking mixes and frostings in January 2022, “Dolly’s Southern Favorites,” inspired by her favorite family recipes.
  • Walmart: The retailer stocks Dolly’s beauty brand, Honest Beauty, which includes her fragrance “Dolly–Scent From Above”, and launched The Dolly Parton Greeting Card Collection in 2020, sold exclusively at the mega-retailer.
  • Sonos: Dolly partnered with the sound experience company in 2020 to create her own radio station, Songteller Radio, including her hits, favorite artists, and commentary on songs and moments throughout her career, making her the only artist to have an endorsement deal with the company. 
  • Perfumania: Dolly joined forces with the fragrance retailer to donate $5 from every sale of her “Dolly–Scent from Above” perfume to her Imagination Library, a book gifting program that mails free books to kids from birth until they begin school in participating areas. She’s the only music artist to partner with the brand. 
  • T-Mobile: Dolly Parton teamed up with Miley Cyrus last February for the telecommunications giant’s #DoItForThePhones campaign, to boost the company’s 5G network customer base and benefit Cyrus’ Happy Hippie Foundation, which funds programs that support homeless and LGBTQ youth and other vulnerable populations. 

The “Backwoods Barbie” was active on social media as well, totaling 72 sponsored posts with 18 brands over the last 12 months. Dolly also engaged 1,531,272 followers in the same period, fueled in large part by her deals with Scent Beauty and Duncan Hines. Her 21 posts for Scent Beauty chalked up 209,180 engagements, while her 15 Duncan Hines posts garnered 409,162 likes, shares, or comments.


The 15-time Grammy winner became the latest artist to join Peloton’s Artist Series in January 2022, a month before the Detroit-born megastar took center stage at the final Halftime Super Bowl Halftime Show sponsored by Pepsi. 

Eminem’s endorsement portfolio also includes Postmates, Mitchell & Ness, and Jordan Brand. His 13 sponsored posts across 6 brands brands racked up 3,247,989 engagements on social media, averaging 541,332 per brand and 216,533 per post. Emine’s sole Instagram post for Jordan Brand garnered engagement of a whopping 1.955 million. 

To promote his Super Bowl performance, Eminem partnered with Postmates to create a pop-up of his Detroit-based restaurant, Mom’s Spaghetti, in LA during Super Bowl week. He also partnered with Mitchell & Ness, Bleacher Report, and the Detroit Pistons to release a special edition SlimShady Pistons jersey. Eminem and Jordan Brand have collaborated since 2005, when they first created the original “Air Shady” shoe. 

Lionel Richie

With just 3 philanthropy-focused partnerships, the legendary artist and four-time Grammy winner maintains a low profile on the endorsement front compared to Dolly Parton and Eminem. 

Through his deal with Devoted Health, announced early last month, he’ll support the company’s burgeoning efforts to offer high-quality healthcare to more Americans on Medicare across the country. In April 2022, Richie co-hosted the first Global Gala in New York for the Prince’s Trust, a global network of charities founded by King Charles the III, which focuses on helping disadvantaged young people find employment, educational training, and mentorship. He also has his own SMiZE Cream flavor, “All Night Love,” a nod to his 1984 hit song, “All Night Long.”


Roger Federer & Serena Williams Endorsements

While the storied careers of Roger Federer and Serena Williams–two of the best tennis players in the sport’s history–have just come to an end, both athletes are primed to continue their successful sponsorship careers off the court.

With over 34M total followers each on social media, Williams is the most popular female tennis player across social media, while Federer’s following ranks second behind Rafael Nadal. Though both were wrapping up their careers, Williams’ followers increased 7% in the last 12 months, and Federer’s following grew by 3%. This year alone, Williams and Federer have 4 of the top 5 social posts (2 each) across pro tennis players, ranked by total engagement.

Both athletes will almost certainly continue to leverage their powerful social platforms for brand partnerships. Williams’ 19 deals–among them Gatorade, Nike, Ubrelvy, Audemars Piguet, and Berlei–include 65 social posts, with total engagement (likes/comments/shares) of over 6M, averaging more than 324K per brand and 82K per post. Since 2020, Williams’ sponsored posts have averaged a total engagement of over 11M per year.

Racket Sport athletes have seen a total social engagement of more than 80M this year. Over 550 brands currently utilize these athletes in campaigns, with each brand garnering average engagement of over 140K per campaign.

While Federer’s sponsored posts since 2020 have averaged a significantly lesser total engagement of 1.4M per year, he’s focused on other promotional avenues over social media. Federer–who has the most deals among men’s tennis players by a significant margin over Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray–has starred in more than 8 commercials or marketing campaigns with brands including Rolex, On-Running, Uniqlo, and Switzerland Tourism, amongst others.

LA Chargers & KC Chiefs Face Off

The AFC West matchup tonight between two potential Super Bowl contenders–the Los Angeles Chargers at the Kansas City Chiefs–features a slew of players who have taken advantage of the teams’ success by locking in endorsement deals.

KC Chiefs wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster has the most deals of any player in this game with 24. An avid online gamer, he partners with HyperX and Nerd Street Games, and has secured other deals thanks to his skyrocketing fame on TikTok, where his followers total more than 3M. JuJu’s branded posts on the platform include SoFi, HyperIce, Yahoo Sports, Snickers, and 7-Eleven.

LA Chargers star running back Austin Ekeler literally leads the charge for his team with more than 20 partnerships, among them SteelSeries, American Airlines, Shock Doctor, and Sleep Number. He’s leveraging his burgeoning social following–which has grown more than 70% since 2021–by posting about each partner brand, with posts and engagement totaling 81 and over 560K, respectively.  

Notably, 5 of Ekeler’s sponsors also have deals with players on the Chiefs: 

  • Sleep Number: Clyde Edwards-Helaire
  • Chipotle: George Karlaftis
  • Verizon & Bud Light: Juju Smith-Schuster
  • StateFarm: Patrick Mahomes

Meanwhile, chances are top-tier quarterback talents Patrick Mahomes and Justin Herbert will be facing off for many years to come, both on the field and in the sponsorship arena. 

Mahomes’ 8M+-strong social following dwarfs third-year starting QB Herbert’s 500K–though Herbert’s star continues to rise, as evidenced by his following’s 55% increase this past year. And while Mahomes has more deals, his average engagement rate of 1.1% is a mere fraction of Herbert’s, which stuns at a whopping 9.86%.

Both Mahomes and Herbert have deals with Bose, which saw its highest total engagement on social media with the star quarterbacks this year. Mahomes’ top post with the audio giant, on January 27th, totaled over 330K likes/comments on Instagram, while Herbert’s January 8th Instagram post engaged more than 100K followers. Bose made noise on social media during the 2021-22 NFL playoffs, posting more than 10 times with participating players.

Music Artist Report Reveals Social Media’s Reach

SponsorUnited’s inaugural Music Artist Report, released yesterday, delivers an in-depth analysis of over 2,100 brands and 1,100 deals from July 2021-July 2022, unlocking 10 major music genres and telling the stories of nearly 600 artists. 

Here’s a peek at some of the report’s key insights: 

Country music’s most popular performers have attracted the most eyeballs across the SponsorUnited platform.

In addition, Country stars average more deals per artist than any other genre, with the number of brands partnering with them rising 45% since 2020. 

Their seemingly unstoppable momentum continues: Over 35% of SponsorUnited searches among music artists were Country, with Luke Bryan, Carrie Underwood, Luke Combs, and George Strait ranking among the top five most searched artists.

Music artists are betting big on their own brands—and winning

Of the top 50 most engaging brands, those owned by artists garnered the most attention.Four of the top five brands with the highest social engagement were beauty brands owned by superstars: 

  • Rare Beauty (Selena Gomez)
  • JLO Beauty (Jennifer Lopez) 
  • r.e.m. beauty (Ariana Grande) 
  • Savage x Fenty (Rihanna)

Music moves fans like no other league, team or property can.

Not surprisingly, artists’ success on social media plays a key role in driving performance of their brands. When comparing per-post engagement among a variety of property types, musicians top the leaderboard with an average engagement per post of 137K, versus 100K for general celebrities in the second-place spot. 

Artist-owned companies are expanding into new categories. 

While music artists have long added value to Cosmetics, Clothing and Alcohol brands, artists like Timbaland, Kanye West and Dua Lipa are already charting the future of artist ownership in new categories:

  • Timbaland x Beatclub: The innovative digital platform aims to revolutionize the way music makers connect.
  • Kanye West x Donda Sports: Kanye’s sports marketing agency now includes clients like NBA star Jaylen Brown and NFL standout Aaron Donald.
  • Dua Lipa x Service95: Dua Lipa released her first weekly lifestyle newsletter in February 2022.

Latin artists see massive growth from global music fans.

Among the top 40 fastest growing social accounts, 12 were owned by Latin artists. Combined, these artists gained over 250M followers–2.5x more than Rap/Hip-Hop and 3.5x more than Country, and second only to Pop. With Latin music’s total revenue projected at over $1B this year, expect to see US brands continue to team up with these red-hot performers. 

Case in point: Bad Bunny, Spotify’s most streamed artist globally in 2020 and 2021. During his El Último Tour Del Mundo this year, he partnered with Airbnb to open the doors to his truck for three one-night stays for two guests at just $91 per night—a nod to his record-breaking 9.1B Spotify streams in 2021. Guests had the exclusive opportunity to explore Bad Bunny’s past, present and future, both on and off the stage.

2022 Lollapalooza Chicago

Lollapalooza kicks off its 4-day festival in Chicago with Metallica headlining tonight.

Notable brands Metallica works with include ESP Guitars, Blackened American Whiskey, The Coda Collection and Yousician.

2022 Lollapalooza Chicago

Social Media Influencers = Powerful Marketing

Partnering with influencers on leading social media platforms has become a strategic way for brands to build equity and reach completely new audiences. As Cara Stucker, SponsorUnited’s senior manager of endorsements, explains, “The thing about influencer marketing is, all brands can do it. Working with influencers allows brands extreme flexibility–whatever the budget, target audience, campaign length or type of media, influencers will make it happen.”

UPDATE: Earlier today, news broke of a new partnership with Khaby Lame. Binance has signed Lame as their newest brand ambassador to grow the Binance ecosystem leveraging the power of Lame’s social media. Binance announced the partnership via their Twitter, Instagram and Facebook accounts.

Here’s the list of top influencers (by number of followers) tracked in the SponsorUnited database, and their top three brand deals across all social media channels.


1. Khaby Lame – 144.4M
Hugo Boss, Amazon Prime Student, Disney

2. Charli D’Amelio – 142.8M
Step, Morphe, Takis

3. Bella Poarch – 90.3M
Cash App, Moncler, HyperX

4. Addison Rae – 88.1M
ITEM Beauty, American Eagle Outfitters, Vital Proteins

5. Zach King – 68.8M
Credit Karma, Amazon, Google (Alphabet)


1. Khaby Lame – 78.4M

2. Larissa Machado (Anitta) – 62.7M
adidas, Samsung, Sol de Janeiro

3. Whindersson Nunes – 58.5M

4. Huda Kattan – 50.6M
ASOS, Sephora, Harrod’s

5. Lele Pons – 49M
Adore Me, PUBG


1. Whindersson Nunes – 25.4M

2. Ruben ‘El Rubius’ Doblas – 19.3MM
Amazon Prime Student, Paco Rabanne, Drift Gaming

3. AuronPlay (Raul Alvarez) – 15.9M
Fanta, LG Electronics, Amazon Prime Video

4. Cameron Dallas – 14.8M
boohooMan, Ralph Lauren, Crypto Demonz

5. Felipe Neto – 14.5M


1. Noel Arevalo – 74.7M
Inno Supps, Fashion Nova

2. Alexandra Mary Hirschi (Supercar Blondie) – 47M
VinFast, Driver Ape Racing Club, Xbox

3. Dhar Mann- 28M

4. Kayla Itsines – 28M
sweat, iFit, P.E. Nation

5. Luisito Comunica – 23M
Rey Palomo, Gran Malo, Deigo CDMX

*The nine categories considered when pulling data: beauty/fashion, fitness, food/travel, kids/family, pet, reality tv, tech/science, esports, and other social media influencers. 

Wimbledon Endorsements

The 135th Wimbledon Championships began today, with many big names competing in the largest tennis event of the year.

We highlight the endorsement deals for the top two seeds in both Men’s and Women’s singles.