More than 1,000 brands have partnered with collegiate athletes in NIL deals over the last 15 months, and that number continues to be on the rise.
Through August 2022, 1,637 NIL partnerships have been inked across college sports, which collectively include 3,381 social posts. Engagement across all deals stood at 34M– averaging 20,839 per deal–while average engagement per post numbered 7,069, with 5.14% of followers engaging.
Here’s a breakdown of the top 5 industry categories in the NIL space by number of deals, with a quick look at their respective leading players.
Apparel & Accessories
- The Players Trunk : 60% of the brand’s overall NIL partnerships are with men’s college basketball athletes.
- Adidas: The brand has NIL deals with athletes in 8 sports, while 51% of its NIL partnerships are with female athletes (21% women’s soccer; 15% softball; 15% women’s volleyball).
- American Eagle Outfitters: 46% of American Eagle Outfitters’ NIL partnerships are with college football athletes–30% of whom play for Ohio State. LSU gymnast Olivia Dunne’s 9 American Eagle Outfitters posts have racked up a total engagement of 2,333,957 so far.
- Players’ Lounge: 91% of the gaming brand’s overall partnerships are with college athletes, of which 79% are football players.
- Epic Games: College football players comprise 54% of the brand’s NIL partnerships are with football athletes. While female basketball players only account for 13% of its deals, University of Oregon’s Sedona Prince tops Epic’s partner list for highest total social engagement (25,489) and average engagement per post (12,745).
- Mercury NFT: 68% of the brand’s overall partnerships are with college athletes: 62% in men’s Basketball and 6% in football.
Quick Serve Restaurants (QSR)
- Raising Cane’s: While 42% of the chicken finger specialist’s NIL partnerships are with football athletes, the brand is the only QSR that has a partnership with a (female) wrestler–Marlee Smith (Arizona State). Football player Stetson Bennet boasts the brand’s highest total and average engagement, at 46,964 and 23,482, respectively.
- Krystal: 59% of the Georgia-based burger maker’s overall partnerships are with college athletes (37% football; 12% men’s basketball; 10% women’s basketball). Georgia women’s soccer player Abby Boyan is its one NIL deal outside of football and basketball.
- Bojangles: 27% of the chicken-and-biscuit brand’s NIL partnerships are with female athletes (23% women’s basketball; 5% softball), while 52% are with football players.
- FTX: 65% of the brand’s NIL partnerships are with football players, while 23% of FTX’s overall partnerships are with college athletes (17% football; 6% men’s basketball). Sacramento State men’s basketball player Deshaun Highler totaled 19 posts for FTX, with a total engagement of 33,233.
- H&R Block: 94% of the tax prep company’s partnerships are with female athletes. South Carolina women’s basketball player Zia Cooke leads its list of athlete endorsers: 5 of her posts for the brand scored total engagement of 200,248 followers.
- Current: 53% of the fintech brand’s NIL partnerships are with football players. Nebraska Women’s volleyball standout Lexi Rodriguez and Arizona State women’s wrestler Marlee Smith boast Current’s top two total engagements on social, at 8,628 and 1,858, respectively.
- UPTIME Energy: 44% of the brand’s overall partnerships are with college softball players. It’s 1 of 6 brands (along with Magic Spoon, Champs Sports, DoorDash, DSW, and Met-Rx) to have a partnership with a men’s soccer athlete–Jared Panson of Brandeis University–and 1 of 2 non-alcoholic beverage brands (along with Rowdy Energy) to partner with a lacrosse athlete.
- Simple Truth: 55% of its overall partnerships are with men’s basketball players.
- Six Star Pro Nutrition: 24% of the brand’s total partnerships are with college basketball athletes (16% men’s; 8% women’s). It’s the only non-alcoholic beverage partnered with a (female) golfer: Stanford University’s Rachel Heck.
The top 5 brands by number of deals in the NIL space are:
- Hooters: 40% of the brand’s overall partnerships are with college football players. One of its notable NIL deals outside the sport is with University of Arkansas golfer John Daly II, son of professional golfer John Daly.
- Players’ Lounge (see above)
- FTX (see above)
- Raising Cane’s (see above)
- Degree: The deodorant brand has deals with athletes across 11 college sports; 24% of its NIL partnerships are with female athletes.
The Financial category is made up of many sectors and the Banking sub-category makes up nearly 35% of the financial brands buying sponsorship / media. On average, digital media and social media make up the majority of the assets within Banking brand deals, 38% and 36% respectively. PNC Bank, Citibank & Capital One are the top three brands in terms of their number of sponsorship deals.
So which markets are Banking brands most likely to target and why?
There are over 70 Banking deals in the New York market which puts the Empire State in first place. Provident Bank, Investors Bank & Chase are the top three brands in this market. 40 brands make up the over 70 deals with 15 of the 40 having multiple deals in the market.
The next two on the list are Boston & Philadelphia where each have over 60 deals ranking #2 & #3 respectively. In Boston, TD Bank is the top brand with five deals, Digital Federal Credit Union ties Bank of America for 2nd, each with three deals. Although based in Toronto, Canada, TD Bank has multiple deals in all of the top three markets.
Within these top three markets there are a few brands that standout given their vast venue naming rights deals across Major Pro Sports. Citibank has a deal with the New York Mets venue which adorns the name Citi Field. Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia is home to the Phillies and the TD Garden in Boston is where the Celtics & Bruins play.
Mexico-based brand, Banorte , led all Finance brands with the highest average engagement per post: 262,354.
Download the SponsorUnited ’21-‘22 Marketing Partnership Finance Report now at https://hubs.la/Q0195gFd0 for more insights.
Five different financial brands are buying uniform / jersey patches in 3+ leagues/associations: Ally Financial, Fifth Third Bank, LendingTree, PayPal and Webull Financial.
Download the SponsorUnited ’21-‘22 Marketing Partnership Finance Report now at https://hubs.la/Q018ZQ_T0 for more insights.
Finance Companies Surpassed Three Quarters of A Billion Dollars in Total Sponsorship Revenue with Major Pro Sports Teams.
Earlier this week SponsorUnited released the ‘21-’22 Marketing Partnership Finance Report. This report highlights trends in sponsorship and partnership data across over 1,600 brands in the Finance category.
Complete report can be downloaded HERE, key findings from the report include:
The NBA has surpassed the NFL as the top league in Finance sponsorship revenue.
Major jersey patch, venue naming rights plus Crypto and FinTech deals in the NBA has led to an additional spend of approximately $115M within the league.
Financial brands saw a major bounce back within the five Major Pro Sports, adding $270M in revenue to achieve 54% growth from 2020-21.
The giant category went on a spending spree, the two largest beneficiaries: NFL and NBA. Each league received more revenue from the category than the MLB + MLS combined.
The category is getting more fragmented and competitive than ever before.
The number of Finance brands actively buying Major Pro Sports sponsorships and media deals has increased by 20% since 2018 and the number of deals has increased 46%.
Financial brands are more likely to sign venue naming rights deals with colleges over pro sports.
Nearly half of all venue naming rights deals within NCAA schools and conferences are with financial brands, which leads all categories. Banks alone make up 35% of all venue deals.
Athletes are a consistent source for financial brands to boost their endorsement ROI.
A vast majority of social posts involving finance brands were shared by team/league accounts, rather than individual athletes. Athletes from PGA/ LPGA shared significantly more posts than the NFL; however, NFL athletes saw twice the engagement while posting significantly less.
According to SponsorUnited data, there was a 672% increase in the number of Cryptocurrency brands buying sponsorship or media from 2020 to 2021 with Coinbase, Crypto.com & FTX being the three most searched Financial brands.
Have NFT’s followed the Cryptocurrency hot streak?
As much buzz as NFT’s have been getting as of late, SponsorUnited is not seeing nearly the research and partnership demand as you’d expect vs. other hot categories within the SponsorUnited platform. Last week (1/16-1/22), our search data shows that sports & entertainment executives continue to look for the next big brand in Cryptocurrency as these brands saw 4.9X more search than NFT’s.
As for NFT’s, Socios.com a platform that looks to bring the fans closer to the team. Socios.com currently has a partnership with 26 NBA teams according to the SponsorUnited platform, while expanding with 40+ new deals in the United States in 2021. Their expansion into the US comes after a year where they had 90% of their deals internationally which is now just over 60%.
DOWNLOAD REPORT: https://sponsorunited.com/2021-mlb-report/
The SponsorUnited MLB 2021 Marketing & Partnerships Annual Report is here! Take a deep dive into the MLB 2021 partnership landscape in the most comprehensive report available in the industry. Download now for FREE HERE.