Sponsor Insights

SponsorUnited Secures $35 Million from Spectrum Equity

With Demand for Sponsorship Data Surging Worldwide, SponsorUnited Secures $35 Million from Spectrum Equity

SponsorUnited serves 2,900 brands and properties in over 25 countries, tracking 1.1 million sponsorship, media and endorsement deals per year

Stamford, CT – [November 21, 2022]SponsorUnited, the leading global sports and entertainment intelligence platform, tracking 1.1 million sponsorship and media partnerships across 250,000 brands and properties, today announced a $35 million growth investment led by Spectrum Equity.

Launched in 2018, SponsorUnited is used by 2,900 brands and properties (IP rights holders) to successfully identify, evaluate and execute marketing partnerships. The company tracks real-time sponsorship and media data across sports and entertainment through a unique blend of machine intelligence and a global scouting network. Brands and properties are then able to access the sophisticated SaaS platform that delivers a complete end-to-end solution for discovery, ideation, activation and measurement.

“With the rapid expansion, diversification and increasing complexity of marketing partnerships, the need for a centralized platform that organizes all of the world’s sponsorship and media partnerships is in high demand,” said Bob Lynch, Founder and CEO of SponsorUnited. “Moreover, as the industry is challenged with budget, talent and resource constraints, we’re uniquely positioned to fill a critical need to drive better decisions and more successful partnerships.”

Initially rooted in sports – working with every major league and all but five major professional teams in the U.S. – SponsorUnited has expanded its tracking capabilities to entertainment and music, specifically, a key sponsorship vertical for brands and marketers. The minority investment will be used to continue to accelerate innovation and build upon the company’s category-leading insights and technology, meeting surging demand for greater intelligence in marketing partnerships.

“SponsorUnited delivers what brands and marketers need today – a smarter way to partner and strike deals,” said Chris Mitchell, Managing Director of Spectrum Equity. “They are capturing a comprehensive, real-time picture of the sponsorship ecosystem for brands and stakeholders – information that has been historically fragmented and inaccessible. We’re impressed by their strategic approach to the market and are eager to leverage our past experience with data and information services companies to help them continue to scale.”

Bob Lynch, SponsorUnited’s founder, is an expert on the sponsorship ecosystem, previously leading partnership efforts for BSE Global, parent company of the Brooklyn Nets, and the Miami Dolphins.

With the investment, SponsorUnited will welcome Chris Mitchell to the company’s Board as a Director and Emily Calkins as an Observer. They join existing members that include SponsorUnited’s Bob Lynch and Alain Benzaken, SponsorUnited’s CTO and COO. SponsorUnited’s current investors include Marc Lasry, owner of the Milwaukee Bucks and Ron Fowler, vice-chairman and co-owner of the San Diego Padres.

About SponsorUnited

SponsorUnited is the leading global sports and entertainment intelligence platform, delivering real-time trends and on-demand research that provide invaluable insights. With over 10M assets, 1M deals, 200K brands, and 30K properties across sports, media, music, and events in one SaaS database, SponsorUnited enables brands, properties and agencies to partner more effectively. By connecting the entire sponsorship ecosystem through the most comprehensive data available anywhere, SponsorUnited is fueling smarter partnerships. To learn more about SponsorUnited and how the platform is powering stronger partnerships for brands, agencies, properties, and talent, visit: https://sponsorunited.com.

About Spectrum Equity

Spectrum Equity is a leading growth equity firm providing capital and strategic support to innovative companies in the information economy. For over 28 years, the firm has partnered with exceptional entrepreneurs and management teams to build long-term value in market-leading internet-enabled software and data services companies. Representative investments include AllTrails, Ancestry, Definitive Healthcare, GoodRx, Grubhub, Lucid Software, Origami Risk, SurveyMonkey and Verafin. For more information, including a complete list of portfolio investments, visit www.spectrumequity.com.

MLB 2022 Marketing Partnerships Report

DOWNLOAD REPORT HERE

Global Icon and MLB Star Shohei Ohtani Sets New Record for Brand Endorsements
Major League Baseball sponsorships increase 8% year-over-year

The MLB 2022 Marketing Partnerships Report analyzes brand partnerships across the league, teams, and individual players during the 2022 season. The report found that MLB secured 3,350 sponsorships this year (an 8% increase YoY) and its teams averaged 108 sponsorships each–more than the NFL, NBA, NHL and MLS.

“MLB and its teams have continued to lean heavily into initiatives that provide brands with innovative ways to expand consumer reach,” said Bob Lynch, founder and CEO of SponsorUnited. “The new streaming rights deal with Apple, virtual signage, teams further digitizing stadium signage, and jersey patches are just a few of many examples of how they’re bringing baseball brand partnerships into the future.”

The report also found: 

Shohei Ohtani “Shotime” is the most marketable MLB player in recent history
The Los Angeles Angels hitter/pitcher phenomenon totaled 17 brand endorsements in 2022, breaking Aaron Judge’s record of 13 endorsements in 2021. Shotime tripled his endorsement revenue after becoming the first player to appear on the covers of GQ, Time, Sports Illustrated, and MLB The Show in a six-month span. The reigning AL MVP also attracted 22 Japanese brands to Angel Stadium, the most of any MLB ballpark.

The Cincinnati Reds lead the league in sponsorships for the third consecutive year
With 200 brand deals this year, the Cincinnati Reds continues to be the most sponsored MLB team for the third year in a row. The team’s largest sponsors include Kroger, PNC Bank, altafiber and TriHealth. The New York Yankees take the #2 spot with approximately 170 deals–climbing from #4 in 2021–while the Boston Red Sox land at #3 with more than 150 sponsorships.  

StubHub and New Era are the leading sponsors of the official league
As long-time official league partners, StubHub and New Era have representation at stadiums for each of the 30 MLB teams. The top non-league partners, with more than 10 deals across various teams, include State Farm, Coca-Cola, Progressive, Chick-fil-A and Toyota.

Digital advertising takes center stage on outfield walls while static signage dips
From 2021 to 2022 YoY, MLB saw an increase in demand for digital signage within baseball parks. Home run territory became a hot commodity for advertisers seeking clearer, more creative messaging through LED technology. The number of brands “going digital” grew by 36%–led by the Food and Alcohol categories–while static signage decreased 23%. Digital ads in the mid-upper outfield grew by 53%, followed by ads on the video board at 14%. 

MLB ramps up brand deals with CBD companies
Following MLB’s announcement in June allowing teams to seek CBD sponsorships, CBD inquiries increased 9x versus the month before (May 2022). According to SponsorUnited, more than 150 CBD brands were searched within the platform, cbdMD being the top search (with 13 current sponsorships). 

NBA 2021-22 Report

SponsorUnited Releases NBA 2021-22 Marketing & Partnerships Annual Report

NBA teams surpassed $1.2B in sponsorship revenues, achieving 50% growth over the 2020-21 season.

This week the NBA 2021-22 Marketing & Partnerships Annual Report was released. The report is fortified by data from over 6,000 NBA sponsorship and media deals from the 2021-22 NBA season. It highlights the impact of team revenue in addition to a comprehensive dive into marketing and partnerships across the league, all 30 teams, players, categories, assets, and brands.

Key findings from the report include:

  • NBA teams surpassed $1.2B in sponsorship revenues, achieving 50% growth over the 2020-21 season.
    Nearing $450M in additional spending on team sponsorships.

  • Revenue was driven by a significant increase in spending across the Sports Betting and Financial categories, and the emergence of Cryptocurrency.
    Socios.com, which had no NBA deals in 2020-21, launched 28 individual deals this season.

  • NBA players continue to expand as a platform for brands, as they saw a 46% increase in deals from the prior year.
    Player endorsements now represent 30% of total NBA brand deals.

  • Five of the top six searched companies on the SponsorUnited platform by NBA executives were cryptocurrency brands (FTX, Crypto.com, Coinbase, Voyager, Ankr.)
    Cryptocurrency had a higher search volume than the entire alcohol category. In fact, not one alcohol brand ranked within the top most searched 50 brands.

  • Performance on the court had the most direct correlation with fan interest.
    Playoff-eligible teams increased their social following during the season at a 150% higher rate than teams that missed the playoffs.
  • Despite missing the playoffs in his 19th season, LeBron James’ social following saw a massive increase of 22M new followers, which is more than 25 individual NBA teams.
    In fact, he alone has more Instagram followers than every NBA team’s total social following across Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and TikTok.

“The NBA saw significant growth by capitalizing on a perfect storm of high-growth industries like Crypto and Tech aggressively entering the market with teams having highly visible platforms and innovative marketing solutions that allowed brands to tell their story in compelling ways” said SponsorUnited President & Founder, Bob Lynch.

For more key insights and access to the complete report, download the SponsorUnited NBA 2021-22 Marketing & Partnerships Annual Report at SponsorUnited.com.

Methodology

This report was compiled using SponsorUnited’s proprietary platform data from September 2021 through May 2022.

*Social Data Compiled from Property or Person-Controlled Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, and LinkedIn Accounts and Social Activity.

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)