Sponsor Insights

Equal Pay for USWNT & USMNT

Up until Wednesday, the US Women’s Soccer team had to rely heavily on sponsorship deals to level out their income as professional athletes. While the Women’s National Soccer team outperformed the Men’s, there was a HUGE pay gap between genders. 

Take a look at a few former and current Women’s Soccer players who capitalized on their skills on and off the field, and how they size up against the men.. 

Alex Morgan has secured 25 total deals over the past year with some of the most notable brands being Google, Coca-Cola and AT&T. Megan Rapinoe has also cashed in big with 15 total deals including commercials with Cliff Bar and Subway, alongside notable deals with Nike and Victoria Secret. Lindsey Horan has 10 deals most notably with Adidas, Quest Nutrition and Visible. These female athletes have been able to navigate a world with unequal pay and now get the chance to get equal pay and the ability to use their soccer talents to sign more endorsement deals.

On the flip side, Men’s players have seen less success on the field which can equate to less success off the field. Jozy Altidore (former player) & Christian Pulisic have less deals than most of their female counterparts, Altidore has six deals and Pulisic who is an up and coming star on the team has seven. Interesting to see the differences in endorsement deals when a team has been successful on the field as the USWNT has been over the last couple decades.

FA Cup 2022 | Endorsement Matchup

The final round of the FA Cup took place this weekend as Liverpool defeated Chelsea in a penalty shootout.

We compare the social media presence and deals of Chelsea striker, Romelu Lukaku, with Liverpool defender, Trent Alexander-Arnold.

Liverpool Vs. Chelsea

CONCACAF | Instant Replay

In addition to being the first MLS club to win CONCACAF Champions League, the Sounders will also be the first to represent the league at the FIFA Club World Cup.

We highlight some of the activations and FS1 broadcast ads during the Sounders 2022 CONCACAF Champions League victory, which saw a record-breaking crowd of 68,741 fans.

CONCACAF Finals

EFL Papa Johns Trophy Final | Instant Replay

The 2022 Papa Johns Trophy winners were decided in the closing moments of the soccer match as Rotherham United scored a last-minute equalizer and beat Sutton United 4-2 in extra-time.

SponsorUnited was in attendance and captured over 70 sponsorship assets throughout the match, check out some of the activations and insights!

El Clásico | Brand Matchup

Teams Compete on the Field in El Clásico, While Brands are Competing Off the Field

With a combined annual commercial turnover of €700m, this Sunday, two of the world’s biggest football teams Real Madrid and Barcelona, match up for the second El Clasico of the 2021/22 La Liga season.

The rivalries extend from the pitch to their partners with competitors utilizing the power of the clubs to gain market share in their categories. This can be seen with Nike (FCB) v Adidas (RM), Mahou (RM) v Estrella Damm (FCB), and Cupra (FCB) v Audi (RM). The outlier in this being Coca-Cola, who are the Soft Drink Partner of both clubs, despite Gatorade (PepsiCo) also being the Official Sports Nutrition Partner of FC Barcelona, in comparison to Powerade (Coca-Cola) for Real Madrid.

Most recently, Barcelona agreed to terms with Spotify on a mega 4-year deal worth north of $300 million. This deal marks the teams first with a digital audio company while Real Madrid currently does not have one. The deal sees Barcelona’s stadium renamed to Spotify Camp Nou while also getting exposure on the team’s training kits.

Despite both teams having a social following of over 250M, Real Madrid leverages their social media more with over 1,200 sponsored posts (compared to FC Barcelona’s 450) resulting in over double the total engagement at 78.5M v FC Barcelona: 32.3M.

Both teams have global presence and awareness which can be seen through their partnership portfolio. Both teams have deals with large international brands Emirates (RM) and Rakuten (FCB) being the primary jersey patches, as well as smaller, regional deals with local and regional brands for the teams. Real Madrid has regional sponsors including KOK Sports (Asia) and RepX (LATAM), while FC Barcelona include Rakbank (UAE) and Taiping Life Insurance (China) among their partners.

Unlike what is being seen in the U.S., the betting category has shrunk dramatically across La Liga teams. This is due to new laws banning the advertisement of gambling companies across Spain, which had previously seen all La Liga sides having a betting partner in 2020/21, including seven with primary jersey patch deals.

Game Ball Activations Trumping Game Play

The Global sporting world is gripping social media with their creative and unique ways for game ball deliveries with brand sponsorships fueling them. Most recently in the Betfred Rugby League, a child driving a mini car sponsored by Halliwell Jones, a local dealership in North West England, delivered the game ball before in an activation turned into comedy taking the twitter world by storm.

This follows the mini Volkswagen automobile that was remote controlled and delivered the game ball during the Italy vs. Turkey match in the UEFA Euros 2020. The activation generated buzz globally as it was the first global event where a unique ball delivery was seen, although not the first. In December of 2020, SponsorUnited tracked the KFC Big Bash League, an Australian cricket league, had the game ball delivered via drone.

With these unique ways of sponsoring the game ball deliveries and technology continuing to advance, one can assume the creative ways to engage fans before, during and after games will become stronger and open doors for new partnership collaborations.

Ronaldo vs. MLS Athletes | Social Media Following

This past week, Cristiano Ronaldo became the first person ever to pass 400 million followers on Instagram. Over the 18 years that Ronaldo has been playing professional soccer, he has been able to create a following around the world. Adding in Twitter, Facebook and TikTok, Ronaldo has well over 500 million followers across all social media platforms. 

Taking advantage and leveraging his massive following are 20 brands currently within 13 categories. Ronaldo has an apparel deal with Nike which has posted his highest engagement score on social media of over 12.5 million. Other brands Ronaldo has partnered with include Altice, Herbalife, Therabody and Crunch Fitness. Interesting to note that the brands partnered with Ronaldo have headquarters not only in Europe where he plays soccer but also in other countries around the world as he is a global sensation.

The MLS has had a strong rise recently as the league saw a 40% increase in brands buying sponsorship or media from 2019. Although on the rise, the social media presence of some of the top athletes show the true power of being a soccer superstar around the world. Blase Matuidi, Christian Ramirez, Javier Hernandez (Chicharito) and Jonathan dos Santos each have secured over five endorsement deals ranging from apparel brands such as Nike and Puma to Modelo, BodyArmor and Quantum Energy Squares. The four athletes combined have a total Instagram following of just over 14 million which in total is just 3% of the entire following of Cristiano Ronaldo. The top 25 MLS athletes account for only 6% of Ronaldo’s 400 million.

Consumer Products | MLS Report

The Consumer Products category as a whole saw the second-highest increase in volume of deals with the MLS last season. Procter & Gamble used MLS intellectual property to promote brands like Gillette, Old Spice and Crest through the season.

Stay tuned, the FREE SponsorUnited MLS 2021 Marketing & Partnerships Report is coming soon!

Supercoppa Italiana | Property Spotlight

Inter Milan beat Juventus Football Club with a last minute winner in the Supercoppa Italiana, an annual competition played by the winners of Serie A and the Coppa Italiana.

The two teams showcase partnerships with brands including Jeep, adidasSocios.com, and Nike. Both teams are also in the top five for most exclusive properties within Serie A, just behind A.S Roma and Genoa.