Sponsor Insights

Rihanna To Perform At Super Bowl LVII

Last week, the NFL announced Apple Music as the new Super Bowl Halftime Show sponsor, replacing longtime sponsor Pepsi who leveraged the halftime show for 10 years. Superstar Rihanna was also named as the show’s headliner for the upcoming Super Bowl LVII in Glendale, Arizona, on February 12, 2023.

With nearly 350M social media followers across Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and TikTok, Rihanna ranks 6th within music artists on social according to SponsorUnited’s recent Music Artist Report. Rihanna also ranks 6th in engagement, averaging 1.2M likes/comments/shares across her 30+ branded social posts over the last year. Her most engaged social post–with Savage x Fenty, a brand she founded with TechStyle Fashion Group–has over 5.5M engagements since January 17th. Notably, of the top 25 most engaging music artists ranked in the report, 20 are female.

Speaking of Rihanna and Savage x Fenty, music artists are increasingly betting big on their own brands–and winning. 4 of the top 5 brands with the highest social engagement during the last 12 months were Rare Beauty (Selena Gomez), JLO Beauty (Jennifer Lopez), r.e.m. beauty (Ariana Grande) and Savage x Fenty. Of the top 50 most engaging brands, those owned by artists garnered more attention.

And 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’s Beatclub, a digital platform for music artists, aims to revolutionize the way music makers connect. Kanye West’s sports marketing agency, Donda Sports, now represents clients like NBA star Jaylen Brown and NFL star Aaron Donald. And superstar Dua Lipa released her first weekly lifestyle newsletter, Service95, in February 2022.

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.

NFL TNF Athlete Endorsements

The NFL season kicked off in LA with a Bills win over the Rams. Checkout the NFL star’s with commercial appearances during TNF broadcast on NBC:
  • Head & Shoulders x Patrick Mahomes & Troy Polamalu
  • SiriusXM x Larry Fitzgerald
  • Frito-Lay x Josh Allen
  • Subway x Patrick Mahomes
  • Subway x Rob Gronkowski
  • SoFi x Justin Herbert
  • DirecTV x Dak Prescott, Ceedee Lamb
  • State Farm x Patrick Mahomes
  • Sleep Number x Dak Prescott
  • Little Caesars x Matthew Stafford

 

NFL Training Camp Activations

Over 300 brands have activated across the 32 NFL team training camps in the lead-up to the league’s 103rd season kickoff on September 8th. 

Not surprisingly, the domestic beer subcategory contains 2 of the top 6 most active brands in training camp sponsorships–Bud Light & Miller Lite–whose partnerships with NFL teams last season numbered 27 and 17, respectively. Another 13 alcohol brands also had training camp activations.

Media was a category leader in activations among the most teams. Local TV & radio stations comprised the majority of these brands, with activations or signage with 18 teams across NFL camps.

Healthcare brands–training camps’ third most active category–provided useful products for steamy summer days, distributing free sunscreen, water, and hand sanitizer to loyal fans who came out to root for their favorite teams as they prepared for the upcoming season.

Cutting-edge, fan-first mobile app Socios.com is cropping up across the league after announcing partnerships with 14 teams this offseason. One of its most notable deals this training camp: the naming rights to the New England Patriots indoor practice facility, now known as the Socios.com FieldHouse. 

Meanwhile, the Indianapolis Colts and Marvel Entertainment announced another singular collaboration: Marvel activations and handouts throughout the season will feature Colts players, mascots, and cheerleaders as superheroes, based on their personality traits.

On the culinary front, Utility provider Xcel Energy showcased its “Vikings Table” custom-built food truck at the Minnesota Vikings camp, where it served up food and drinks to fans. During the NFL season, the gleaming purple truck will provide free healthy meals and nutritional education to underserved youth across the Greater Twin Cities area, in partnership with the Minnesota Vikings Foundation.

NFL Off-Season Social Data

The National Football League (NFL) is back with the first pre-season game of the 2022-23 season taking place tonight.

Which social media partnerships this offseason were the most successful ranked by average engagement per post? Swipe below to find out!

NFL Offseason Social Media Stats

The 2022 NFL offseason has provided prime opportunities for brands keen to raise their social media profile since the NFL Free agency began in March. With the preseason kicking off tonight, let’s break down the engagement numbers. 

Since March 1, more than 650 deals have been promoted on social channels across the league and its teams, totaling north of 6,400 posts thus far. With an average of 10 posts per brand, total engagement (likes, shares, or comments) across all deals tops 17.5 million, or just over 25,000 engagements per deal. 

Not surprisingly, the two leading social media partnerships were with last season’s Super Bowl rivals, the LA Rams and the Cincinnati Bengals. The fact that Rams posts took four of the top 10 slots by average engagement underscores the offseason benefits reaped by brands partnering with Super Bowl champions. 

The Rams also top the list of brand deals with a 3-post minimum. The team’s partnership with Nike has tallied more than 45,000 average engagements across 7 posts, for a total of more than 315,000 followers.

Lesser-known companies like Swift Meats also were able to garner exceptional exposure in their deals with the Bengals. With 8 posts overall–which showcased the new “White Bengal” helmet, debuting this year–Swift Meat’s total engagement stands at 250,000, an average of just over 31,000 per post. 

Rounding out the top 5 most successful social media partnerships from the Draft through July 31st were the Atlanta Falcons and Coca-Cola, the New York Giants and Invisalign, and the Denver Broncos and Chevron, respectively. With a minimum of 3 posts, each saw per-post engagement of more than 20,000 followers.

NFL Draft Report

DOWNLOAD REPORT: https://sponsorunited.com/nfl-draft-report/

There was a lot of buzz around the NFL Draft over the weekend and while the new draftees were the true winners,  brands came in a close second. SponsorUnited has released the 2022 NFL Draft Sponsorship Report where you can take a deeper dive into the partnership deals between brands, teams and players. 

Some of the key insights include: 

  • Tech and Apparel made up ⅓ of all deals among first round picks
  • Wide receivers caught the most deals, but EDGE players tackled the most brands
  • Rookies from Ohio State, Georgia and Oregon closed the most deals (40% of all deals)

Gain key insights around broadcast sponsorships, draft party sponsorships, player deals and more in SponsorUnited’s 2022 NFL Draft Report.

NFL SPRED Report 2021

DOWNLOAD REPORT: https://sponsorunited.com/nfl-spred-report-2021-page/

Today, SponsorUnited published the first SPRED Report centered around NFL player’s social performance and endorsement deals. 

Download the complete report HERE, for complete data and insights, some key findings include: 

  • adidas and Bose are the most active brands among NFL social media posts but Zenith Watches, Grip and Brady Brand attract the most attention.
  • Quarterbacks are most widely followed on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook while TikTok varies among other skilled positions.
  • J.J. Watt is the most followed defensive NFL player and the most followed NFL player to not win a SB.
  • The top 10 most followed NFL players combine for over 100M gross followers.
  • 12 NFL players average over 1M total engagements, all of them on the offensive side of the ball.
  • Although Travis Etienne Jr, has yet to see the field, he has the highest % average engaged followers.
  • Most Total Gross Followers: Odell Beckham Jr.
  • Most Twitter Followers: Russell Wilson
  • Most Facebook Followers: Tom Brady
  • Most Instagram Followers: Odell Beckham Jr.
  • Most TikTok Followers: Gronk
  • Most Engaging: Patrick Mahomes
  • Highest % of Engaged Followers: Travis Etienne
  • Most Engagement Per Post: Tyreek Hill
  • Most Branded Posts: Russell Wilson
  • Most Brands: Russell Wilson
  • Highest Avg Engagement: Zenith Watches, Grip Boost and Brady Brand
  • Most Branded Posts: adidas, Bose and Fashion Nova
  • Most Brand Engagements: Bose, adidas and Oakley
  • Most Player Endorsements: Bud Light, Verizon, Bose and Under Armour
  • Most Engaging Categories: Apparel/Accessories, Beverage (Non-Alc) and Leisure/Recreation
  • Most Category Engagements: Apparel/Accessories, Consumer Electronics and Retail
  • Most Player Endorsements: Apparel/Accessories, Retail and Beverage (Non-Alc)
  • Most Branded Posts: Apparel/Accessories, Retail and Beverage (Non-Alc)

2022 NFL Draft Prospect Endorsements

The first round of the 2022 NFL Draft took place last night and 32 of the top prospects can officially see their dreams, and dollar signs, in their future. This is the first NFL Draft where college players had almost a full year to sign endorsement deals, rather than the few weeks leading up to the Draft. Check out the top 50 NFL Draft prospects and the brands they have deals with. In total, these top 50 Draft prospects have partnered with over 75 brands. 

Which brands made the top of the list?

Company Name Number of Prospects Partnered With
Bose 4
Dr. Pepper 4
Sleep Number 4
Chipotle 3
Raising Cane’s 3
USAA 3

The NFL Endorsements landscape is a highly popular area among sponsors of the league. Three of the brands on this list not only are league sponsors but are big contributors to the NFL Endorsements landscape. Bose features 26 different NFL athletes on their endorsements roster including big names such as Patrick Mahomes, Justin Herbert, and Micah Parsons. Sleep Number has 16 NFL Athletes as a part of their team with Dak Prescott, Deebo Samuel and Mac Jones topping off the list. Lastly, USAA features 15 NFL athletes with the likes of Josh Allen, Rob Gronkowski, and TJ Watt on their endorsements roster. 

The 2022 NFL Draft class features greatness both on and off the field. Five players in particular have taken full advantage of obtaining endorsement deals with over 6 deals each. Kayvon Thibodeaux has the most endorsement deals of the bunch with 11. Some of the most notable brands to partner with Thibodeaux include Beats by Dre, Old Spice and Snickers. Tied with the second most endorsement deals are defensive standouts Aiden Hutchinson and Demarvin Leal. With eight deals each, Bose and Chipotle partnered with Hutchinson while FTX and Fanjoy partnered with Leal. The final two players in the top five include Chris Olave with seven deals and Derek Stingley Jr. with six deals who both feature deals with the popular quick serve restaurant Raising Cane’s.

 

NFL 2021 Annual Report | Brands in the Spotlight

Last week, SponsorUnited released the NFL 2021 Marketing & Partnerships Annual Report.

We highlight Roblox, Tide and FaZe Clan to showcase the power of unique activations within the NFL. Download the full report at SponsorUnited.com for complete insights into NFL brand partnerships last season.