Cause-related sponsorships–mutually beneficial collaborations between brands and nonprofits–are enjoying a resurgence after the COVID-19 pandemic’s onset in 2020.
These initiatives increased 21% in 2021, when more than 1,000 new brands entered the space, eager to benefit a cause through a partnership campaign. These deals have held steady through 2022, with nearly 3,500 brands and 1,700 properties participating in a cause-related sponsorship in 2022.
Categories most active in cause-related sponsorships in 2022:
- Financial (11%)
- Nonprofits, Charities, Associations (11%)
- Healthcare (9%)
- Auto (6%)
- Insurance (5%)
Most Active Major Pro Sports Teams
- Golden State Warriors (50+)
- Philadelphia Eagles (40+)
- Philadelphia Phillies (40+)
- Miami Heat (35+)
- Cleveland Cavaliers (30+)
Top Cause-Related Initiatives:
- Youth Foundations
- Health Issues
- Military/First Responders
Three high-profile brands took center stage with their cause-related partnerships in 2022:
adidas: The German sportswear giant takes the top spot with nearly 45 cause-related initiatives this year, focused primarily on environmental programs. The brand’s “Run for the Oceans” campaign was arguably its splashiest, with the company removing one plastic bottle from beaches and coastal communities for every 10 minutes a person ran between May 23 and June 8, 2022, tracked on the adidas Running app. To bolster awareness of the campaign, the German brand partnered with Major League Soccer and other sports organizations, as well as celebrities like Stefanos Tsisipas and Karlie Kloss.
Coca-Cola: Landing in second place with over 40 cause-related campaigns this year, the beverage colossus partnered with teams including Real Betis, Sevilla FC, the Philadelphia Phillies, and the Tampa Bay Rays to promote recycling of their Coca-Cola cans and bottles.
Nike: Third on the list with over 30 cause-related sponsorships, the Beaverton, Oregon-based sportswear titan channeled its efforts into youth-centric causes, partnering with teams like the New York Jets, Chicago White Sox, and Detroit Pistons to engage local kids in sports-related programs in the teams’ home cities.