Not surprisingly, Quick Serve Restaurant (QSR) Burger brands are big players within US sports when it comes to sponsorship deals. In college athletics, 31% of the 153 brands have at least one partnership, while McDonald’s, Wendy’s and Whataburger lead the pack with 55, 40 and 34 deals respectively.
The 5 major professional sports leagues are also prime targets for the category; 22% of brands have at least one deal with a team. Wendy’s (84), McDonald’s (63), Sonic (52), and Jack-in-the-Box (46) have the most partnerships with major pro teams.
Properties with the most QSR Burger deals
- San Diego Padres: 15 (6 brands: McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Sonic, Jack in the Box, Smashburger, Hodad’s)
- Los Angeles Dodgers: 13 (6 brands: McDonald’s, Jack in the Box, Wendy’s, In-n-Out Burger, Carl’s Jr., Shake Shack)
- Houston Texans: 12 (4 brands: Jack in the Box, Whataburger, Freddy Frozen Custard & Steakburgers, Foreign Policy)
- Arizona Diamondbacks: 11 (5 brands: Cold Beers & Cheeseburgers, Jack in the Box, Whataburger, Sonic, Wendy’s)
- Nashville Predators: 11 (4 brands: Wendy’s, Hardee’s, Sonic, Jack in the Box)
Across all property types, McDonald’s tops the deal list by a huge margin:
Top 5 brands ranked by total deals (Sponsorship & Media)
- McDonald’s – 925
- The chain has over 100 deals with local news networks & shows
- Wendy’s – 553
- Sonic – 210
- Burger King – 170
- Whataburger – 145
QSR Burger brands favor Instagram and TikTok for their social sponsorships: a whopping 86% of the 14 million followers engaged by the category’s sponsored posts span the two channels. Total engagement was higher on Instagram (with over 8.5 million) versus TikTok (more than 5 million).
Overall Category Stats
- Total engagement: 16,088,219
- Avg engagement per post: 1,363
- Avg engagement per deal: 14,441
- Total Deals: 1,114
- Posts: 10,504 (9 posts per deal)
- Bally Sports Southwest posted the most (898 times for Jack in the Box)
- QSR Burger brands averaged 876 posts per month in last 12 months
As a category, QSR Burger makes great use of prominent musicians and influencers to engage millions of followers.
Top 5 deals by total engagement:
- McDonald’s: Kanye West – 1,649,229 (1 post)
- McDonald’s: Payton King – 1,501,758 (2 posts)
- McDonald’s: Mariah Carey – 452,824 – 1,265,363 (13 posts)
- Checkers & Rally’s: Rick Ross (a franchisee) – 809,173 (5 posts)
- Burger King – Chase Hudson (Lil Huddy) – 646,162 – 3 posts
On TikTok–where 51 deals generated 86 posts, vs. Instagram’s 439 deals and 1,381 posts–QSR Burger brands’ average engagement per post (57,462) and per deal (107,889) eclipsed engagement on Instagram (5,949 and 19,771, respectively).
Top 5 properties w/ QSR Burger-sponsored TikTok posts ranked by total engagement (minimum 2 posts):
- Payton King – McDonald’s: 1,501,758 (Influencer Payton King has the highest average engagement for QSR Burger-sponsored TikTok posts with 750,879 (14.23% of his followers)
- Mariah Carey – McDonald’s: 919,583
- Anthony & Ana – McDonald’s: 219,648
- Soy Nguyen – McDonald’s: 150,678
- Sofia Bella – McDonald’s: 90,598
As evidenced by the lists above, when it comes to QSR burger brands, McDonald’s dominates on numerous fronts. With total engagement topping more than 11M followers on social media, the chain garners a whopping 67% of all QSR Burger engagement. The megabrand also accounts for 35% of all QSR Burger posts–averaging 310 posts per month–and has 396 social deals that generated 3,727 posts over the last year.
McDonald’s also averages engagement of 2,531 followers per post and 27,188 per property. The Calgary Flames posted the most for the brand in the past 12 months: the team’s 434 posts engaged 600,474 followers.
On TikTok, McDonald’s also reigns supreme, with total engagement of 4,359,806 followers–a staggering 82% of all QSR Burger category engagement. Its 63 posts comprise 75% of the category’s sponsored posts on the channel, and average engagement numbers 64,115 per post and 136,244 per property, with 3.17% of the brand’s followers liking, sharing, or commenting on content. The rest of the top 5 QSR Burger brands have 10 properties and 14 posts combined on TikTok–meaning McDonald’s has 4.5 times more branded content on the channel than its competitors.
Of the top 10 properties (ranked by total engagement) that partner with McDonald’s on TikTok, 8 are influencers; Mariah Carey and Celine Tran are the only non-influencers. The brand recently teamed up with TikTok viral sensation Tisakorean to drop “Static,” an end-of-summer anthem celebrating fans’ love of Sprite.
On October 3rd, McDonald’s unveiled its first campaign with streetwear brand, Cactus Plant Flea Market, to launch a limited edition Happy Meal for adults: the Cactus Plant Flea Market Box. Predictably, the campaign is already getting heavy exposure on TikTok.