Sponsor Insights

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. 

NBA X Hennessy

The NBA and Hennessy, the leagues first Global Spirits Partner, partnered to unveil two one-of-kind basketball courts in May 2022. One court located in the front of the National Chang Kai Shek Memorial Hall in Taiwan, and a floating basketball court located off the coast of Sydney, Australia.

Download the SponsorUnited NBA 2021-22 Marketing & Partnerships Annual Report now at SponsorUnited.com for more insights like this.

 

NBA X Hennessy

NBA 2021-22 Report

SponsorUnited Releases NBA 2021-22 Marketing & Partnerships Annual Report

NBA teams surpassed $1.2B in sponsorship revenues, achieving 50% growth over the 2020-21 season.

This week the NBA 2021-22 Marketing & Partnerships Annual Report was released. The report is fortified by data from over 6,000 NBA sponsorship and media deals from the 2021-22 NBA season. It highlights the impact of team revenue in addition to a comprehensive dive into marketing and partnerships across the league, all 30 teams, players, categories, assets, and brands.

Key findings from the report include:

  • NBA teams surpassed $1.2B in sponsorship revenues, achieving 50% growth over the 2020-21 season.
    Nearing $450M in additional spending on team sponsorships.

  • Revenue was driven by a significant increase in spending across the Sports Betting and Financial categories, and the emergence of Cryptocurrency.
    Socios.com, which had no NBA deals in 2020-21, launched 28 individual deals this season.

  • NBA players continue to expand as a platform for brands, as they saw a 46% increase in deals from the prior year.
    Player endorsements now represent 30% of total NBA brand deals.

  • Five of the top six searched companies on the SponsorUnited platform by NBA executives were cryptocurrency brands (FTX, Crypto.com, Coinbase, Voyager, Ankr.)
    Cryptocurrency had a higher search volume than the entire alcohol category. In fact, not one alcohol brand ranked within the top most searched 50 brands.

  • Performance on the court had the most direct correlation with fan interest.
    Playoff-eligible teams increased their social following during the season at a 150% higher rate than teams that missed the playoffs.
  • Despite missing the playoffs in his 19th season, LeBron James’ social following saw a massive increase of 22M new followers, which is more than 25 individual NBA teams.
    In fact, he alone has more Instagram followers than every NBA team’s total social following across Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and TikTok.

“The NBA saw significant growth by capitalizing on a perfect storm of high-growth industries like Crypto and Tech aggressively entering the market with teams having highly visible platforms and innovative marketing solutions that allowed brands to tell their story in compelling ways” said SponsorUnited President & Founder, Bob Lynch.

For more key insights and access to the complete report, download the SponsorUnited NBA 2021-22 Marketing & Partnerships Annual Report at SponsorUnited.com.

Methodology

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

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

Top Expanding NBA Brand

With 28 new deals in the NBA alone, Socios.com was the top expanding brand in the league, going from 0 to 28 deals in less than a season. Socios.com really separated themselves from the pack as the 2nd most expanding brand only increased their deals by 6 from 0 the year before (Take 5 Oil Change).

Take a deeper dive into the assets tied to Socios.com’s 28 NBA deals.

Across the 28 new sponsorships, Socios.com has over 130 total assets. 79% of their deals have TV-Visible signage which was led by the courtside apron & basket stanchion digital ads which are usually run simultaneously. 21% of their deals included digital media featuring sponsored content on team website’s as well as video integration throughout the season. With their expansion into the NBA this year, the NBA became their top league they have targeted across the world.

Socios.com also expanded within other US Major Pro Sports. Earlier this month, Socios.com became the Official Fan Loyalty Partner of 26 MLS clubs using a similar tactic of mass adoption within a league as they did with the NBA. Along with the MLS, the NHL was another league the brand extended their portfolio into, signing a deal with more than half of the teams in the league.

NBA Playoff Appearance Strengthen Social Media Experience

This year, the 16 NBA playoff teams saw a 12.5% increase in social media followers while non-playoff teams saw a 5% growth. Is this due to more time in the limelight or because their markets are home to the best players in the league?

Of the eight Eastern Conference playoff teams, the Chicago Bulls rank highest in the NBA in terms of social media followers, with nearly 30M and ranked #4 in the league. Interesting to note that of the eight teams, five rank #1 in their market in terms of social followers.

With superstars Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant, the Brooklyn Nets have the highest average engagement rate per post while the Boston Celtics have the highest total engagement. As defending champions, the Milwaukee Bucks have the most social deals, 55 unique brands to be exact. While the Atlanta Hawks have less social deals but the highest number of branded posts, with over 2,300 already this season..

Now onto the Western Conference teams. Four of the eight teams rank #1 in social media followers in their market while all eight teams are at least top three in their respective markets. To no surprise,, the Golden State Warriors rank highest amongst the crew in social follower rank within the NBA landing at #3. The Utah Jazz had the highest YoY growth with a 29% increase.

The Warriors take the title for having the highest average engagement rate as well as total engagement of over 50M. This separates them from the pack by a landslide, the Mavericks come in 2nd with a total engagement of just over 8M.

NBA Play-In Tournament | Property Comparison

The NBA‘s Play-In Tournament is back for its 2nd year. We highlight the west coast matchup of the day as the Minnesota Timberwolves take on the Los Angeles Clippers tonight on TNT.

#sponsorships

 

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.

 

 

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.

NBA All-Star Weekend LeBron James Endorsements

NBA All-Star Weekend Kevin Durant Endorsements

The Future of Fitness Coaching is within the Future App

Future, a fitness app that virtually connects you with your very own personal trainer, has signed deals with the New York Knicks and Golden State Warriors. The brand will become the Official Fitness Coaching partner of both teams as they have opened up a new sponsorship category within the NBA

The brand will be getting awareness with logo visibility at both Madison Square Garden and the Chase Center while also creating exclusive content with the strength and conditioning coaches of both teams. They will also be featured during the game with promotions available for fans attending games.

Each week SponsorUnited sends out a list of the top 25 hottest brands to current clients. This list is ranked by weekly increase in profile views by unique users of SponsorUnited. Last week after the deal was announced with the teams, Future was ranked #5 on the list while the week prior was ranked #478. It will be interesting to watch Future as the season continues. SponsorUnited will be tracking all assets Future has at both arenas which is set to debut in the next week as the All-Star break has ended. The brand has currently been activating with the Golden State Warriors on social media with branded posts called “Road Reps.”

 

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%.

Major Pro Sports | Technology Sponsorships Annual Report

Major Pro Sport Tech Insight

The Tech Category is now the 6th highest ranked within Major Pro Sports sponsorships, averaging 9 sponsorship deals per team. Over 400 technology and consumer electronics brands are buying sponsorship or media across the leagues.

Interested in learning more about spend data within the Technology and Consumer Electronics industry? Download the Technology Annual Report for FREE now at SponsorUnited.com.