Sponsor Insights

NFL Christmas Games

The National Football League will have its first-ever Christmas Day tripleheader this year.

Take a look at how the competing team’s social game and sponsorship portfolio compare.

MLS Report 2022

DOWNLOAD REPORT

Brands Spend a Record $461M in Sponsorships Across Major League Soccer Clubs in 2022.
Technology and Utilities categories topped the sponsorship growth chart, accounting for 15% of new brand sponsors.

The MLS 2022 Marketing Partnerships Report analyzes 1,750 partnership deals across the league, clubs and athletes during the 2022 season. The report uncovered that $461 million in club sponsorship revenue was generated across 1,300 unique brands. The beverage-alcohol category and media brands topped the charts with the most active brands.

Key findings from the report include:

Sporting KC, Philadelphia Union and Austin FC attract nearly 100 brand deals each
All three clubs exceeded 90 sponsorship deals for the 2022 season, eclipsing the league average of 62. Sporting KC leads in terms of deal volume, with new partners including Don Neron Tequila, Socios.com, Google Fiber, and Compass Minerals, its new front jersey partner. Austin FC quickly surpassed all other MLS clubs in terms of sponsorship category diversity in just its second season.

U.S. World Cup player DeAndre Yedlin of Inter Miami CF leads with the most new brand collaborations this year
Returning to the MLS this year after a 7-year hiatus, DeAndre Yedlin has inked five brand endorsements this season. Yedlin partnered with three league sponsors–Heineken, Audi, and DoorDash–in addition to Quaker State and Captain Morgan. LAFC player Giorgio Chiellini took the lead in endorsements with 18, and the number of branded social posts with 28.

Cryptocurrency and FinTech propelled Finance to the top of 2022’s list of most searched categories
Crypto sponsorship deals within MLS quintupled to five from just one last year. Cryptocurrency was the most searched financial category within the SponsorUnited platform as more than 250 cryptocurrency brands worldwide were searched, with Coinbase, Crypto.com, and eToro leading the way. 

International and domestic brands ramp up activations with MLS
For the 2022 season, MLS gained six new league partners: Avant, IHG, Socios.com, Sorare, Doordash and Caterpillar. Brands like the Japanese beverage company Asahi tapped into the North America market for the first time through MLS, in addition international brands including Volkswagen, Bermuda Tourism Authority, and Inter&Co. The five most active brands among the league and individual athletes include Heineken (785 social posts), Audi (658 posts), BodyArmour (618 posts), Bank of Montreal (403 posts) and Delta (390 posts).

“MLS continues to impress with its increasing popularity, game attendance, and sponsorships, propelling the league to be the fastest growing in the world,” said Bob Lynch, Founder and CEO of SponsorUnited. “It’s clear to see how MLS franchise median value grew 5x more than other U.S. pro leagues through new investments made from companies like DoorDash, as well as continued support from brands like Adidas, who has been a league partner for the past 26 years. It’s an exciting time for MLS and I’m looking forward to seeing the continued momentum.”

Methodology:
This report was compiled using SponsorUnited’s proprietary platform data from January 15, 2022, through November 8, 2022. Social data compiled from property or person-controlled Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, and LinkedIn accounts and social activity.

Grey Cup Final

The Winnipeg Blue Bomber’s will take on the Toronto Argonauts at the Mosaic Stadium in Regina, Saskatchewan for the 109th Grey Cup.

Twitter is utilized the most for both teams. Not only do both sports teams have their highest social following on Twitter, but all social deals between both teams include Twitter posts. Canada Life was the most leveraged brand for the Winnipeg Blue Bomber’s on Twitter, accumulating 74 posts and 20k+ engagements within the past year. Bell Media was leveraged the most for the Toronto Argonauts on Twitter, amassing 30 posts and 2.8k+ engagements in the past year.

Grey Cup Final

The Winnipeg Blue Bomber’s will take on the Toronto Argonauts at the Mosaic Stadium in Regina, Saskatchewan for the 109th Grey Cup.
Twitter is utilized the most for both teams. Not only do but both team’s have their highest social following on Twitter, but all social deals between both teams include Twitter posts. Canada Life was the most leveraged brand for the Winnipeg Blue Bomber’s on Twitter, accumulating 74 posts and 20k+ engagements with the team in the past year. Bell Media was leveraged the most for the Toronto Argonauts on Twitter, amassing  30 posts and for 2.8k+ engagements. 

USMNT FIFA World Cup Endorsements

The much anticipated United States men’s national team’s roster for the 2022 FIFA World Cup was released last night in New York.

The formation below portrays the players with the most endorsements and is mostly supported by brands such as AT&Tadidas and JLab.

Golden Glove Endorsements

Rising stars took over the MLB Gold Glove Winners list with 14 players earning the award for the first time across the AL and NL leagues. With many new faces winning for the 1st time, brands will have the opportunity to capitalize on these rising stars.

Athletic apparel and equipment brands most frequently partnered with this year’s Gold Glove Award Winners, led by Rawling Sporting Goods (6), Franklin Sports (5), New Balance (4), and Nike (4).

To learn more about endorsement deals in the MLB and much more, visit HERE.

Liga MX Final

Leg 1 of the the Liga MX Final begins tomorrow as Toluca FC matches up against CF Pachuca in this final stage.

Toluca FC top sponsors: RoshfransCaliente Interactive, Corona (Anheuser-Busch), Under Armour, and Aeromexico.

CF Pachuca top sponsors: TelcelBetcris, Corona (Anheuser-Busch), Cementos Fortaleza, and GRUPO CHARLY.

Key Category Insights: Women In Sports

DOWNLOAD Women In Sports 2022 HERE

The inaugural Women In Sports report was released last week and delivered an in-depth analysis of more than 350 athletes, 7.1K deals, and over 33K posts between leagues, teams, athletes, and brands from September 2021-September 2022.

Let’s take a deeper look at key category insights from the report.

Finance was the most active category in women’s leagues and teams, and the only one with over 300 total sponsorship deals. Not only did the category lead in partnerships, it also grew the most overall year over year, underscoring the burgeoning appeal of women’s sports to the industry. 

Mastercard, Ally Financial, CaixaBank, Deloitte, and BNP Paribas topped the list (in that order) with the most sponsorships. Ally Financial–which has pledged gender parity in sponsorship and media spending by 2027–was a particular standout: the company was the most active banking brand, and ranked fourth overall in the category. 

Led by apparel giants Nike and adidas, Apparel & Accessories was the second most active category in the past year, with just over 260 sponsorships. Not only did Nike have the most deals in the category, the apparel brand also added the most partnerships–and was the most active brand of any category across the WNBA, the NWSL, and Australia’s Big Bash League.

Meanwhile, NFT brands only partnered with 1% of women’s leagues and teams, versus 26% of men’s. Socios.com was one of only three NFT brands with deals in women’s sports, while the Minnesota Lynx and Valencia CF were the only teams with a sponsorship deal in the category.

Betting Services & DFS (Daily Fantasy Sports) inked deals with 11% of women’s leagues and teams, compared to 48% of men’s. Sorare, Caliente.mx, BetMGM,and FanDuel had multiple partnerships in women’s sports, but only 30 brands–just 6% of all active brands in the category– bought sponsorships or media deals. 

While Beer boasts staple-category status in men’s sports–over 60% of men’s leagues and teams sold sponsorship or media deals with at least one beer brand in the past year–women’s leagues and teams have plenty of room to grow in the category, as only 25% of properties currently partner with beer brands. Michelob Ultra and Mahou led beer brands in sponsorship growth: the Anheuser-Busch-owned brand added seven domestic deals to its portfolio, while the Spanish brewing company inked its first deal with Liga F.

Explore more insights about women in sports at https://sponsorunited.com/.

NBA Teams Score Big On Social In The Offseason

The 2022/23 NBA season–the league’s 77th–tipped off on Tuesday with a marquee doubleheader. As fans gear up for a slew of exciting match-ups over the next six months, here’s a glimpse at how the league’s teams and players fared on social media during the offseason. 

NBA teams stayed active with 3,187 sponsored posts across 366 deals since mid-June, engaging over 18.7M followers–an average of 51K per deal and 5.6K per post.

Top 5 offseason posts (by total engagement):

  1. Bibigo x LA Lakers – 526K
  2. UCLA Mattel Children’s x LA Lakers – 514K
  3. Rakuten x Golden State Warriors – 333K
  4. Oracle x Golden State Warriors – 227K
  5. Coinbase x Chicago Bulls – 197K

The Lakers and the Warriors dominated social media during their time off, generating a combined 42% of the NBA’s total engagement. The Lakers accounted for 20%,  engaging 3.7M fans across 103 posts–40 of which were with Korean food company Bibigo, the team’s jersey patch sponsor. Five of the NBA’s 10 most engaging posts were Lakers’ branded posts, 3 of which were with Bibigo. 

Engaging 4.1M followers across 291 posts–192 with Oracle–the Warriors were responsible for 22% of the NBA’s social engagement since last season ended. The team averaged engagement of 415K per brand, eclipsing the Lakers’ 234K per partner. The Warriors’ offseason social activity with Oracle amassed over 1M more engagements than any other NBA partnership, due in large part to its plethora of posts. 

NBA players were also busy on social media during the offseason, as Lebron James and Giannis Antetokounmpo proved why they’re among the four highest paid players in the league.

Top 5 NBA player offseason posts (by total engagement):

  1. Lobos 1707 Tequila x Lebron James – 1.8M
  2. Sports Illustrated x Lebron James – 1.121M
  3. Brown & Brown Custom Clothiers x Giannis Antetokounmpo – 1.118M
  4. Zion Williamson x Jordan Brand – 585K
  5. RIMOWA x Lebron James – 579K

Athletes with supersize social media clout naturally command much bigger deals. Here are the NBA giants with the highest-earning endorsement portfolios, and some of their deep-pocketed brand partners.

Estimated NBA athlete endorsement portfolio earnings (Source: Sportico)

  1. Lebron James – est. $75M
    • Cypto.com, GMC, Ruffles
  2. Kevin Durant – est. $48M
    • NBA Top Shop, Weemaps, Nike
  3. Steph Curry – est. $45M
    • Rakuten, FTX, Literati
  4. Giannis Antetokounmpo – est. $44M
    • WhatsApp, Nike, Breitling
  5. Russell Westbrook – est. $25M
    • Jordan Brand, Converse, Varo

Ballon D’or SPRED Report 2022

DOWNLOAD REPORT HERE

Congratulations to Karim Benzema and Alexia Putellas, the winners of this year’s Ballon d’Or (“Golden Ball”) Award, presented in Paris on October 17th. Nominees for the annual award recognizing the best player over the previous year–presented by French news magazine French Football since 1956–included 30 men’s and 20 women’s football players from around the world.

Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema–nicknamed “Karim the Dream”–was the favorite after winning the UEFA Nations League with France, the LaLiga title, the Spain Supercup, and the Champions League with Real Madrid, as well as the 2021/2022 UEFA Men’s Player of the Year. With 120M total followers, Benzema was the second most-followed Ballon d’Or nominee this year on social media. His partnerships with 6 brands–including adidas, Jean Paul Gaultier, Technogym, and Crypto.com–have generated 16M engagements and counting.

Alexia Putellas won the women’s Ballon d’Or Award for the second consecutive year, becoming the first female player to win the title twice. Her elite run has boosted her social following a whopping 330% year-over-year to 3M across Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and TikTok. The FC Barcelona midfielder takes the 5th spot among both male and female Ballon d’Or nominees in terms of brand partnerships, garnering more than 2.4M engagements across 18 branded posts.

With a staggering following of more than 740M, nominee Cristiano Ronaldo is the most popular person in the world on social media. He also leads the nominees in brand partnerships with 17, including LiveScore, Nike, Clear (Unilever), and CR7, his own underwear brand. With 18 nominations during his career–the most of any player–the Portuguese megastar has won 5 Ballon d’Or trophies, a feat surpassed only by Lionel Messi with 7 awards.

Alex Morgan tops the list of female players on social media with an audience of more than 20M–ranking her 15th among all Ballon d’Or nominees by total followers. With 27 deals, the San Diego Wave striker also partners with more brands than any other female athlete. Morgan’s most engaging branded post–on Instagram with Beat Everybody, the clothing brand she cofounded with fellow US Women’s National Soccer Team players Allie Long and Kelley O’Hara–has racked up 293K engagements since January.