Sponsor Insights

World Cup Final

As the players get ready to take the pitch for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Final, we compare the two team’s brand portfolio and social game.

FIFA World Cup Fan Festival Hits Cities Worldwide

During the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, the concept of “Fan Fest” was replaced by the “Fan Festival” concept.

FIFA’s plan was to reintroduce the Fan Fest as a more diverse and inclusive entertainment offering encompassing a wide variety of cultures, art, music, food and football outside the stadiums. The concept will also be rolled out during the Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand in 2023.

On December 4, the FIFA Fan Festival celebrated the 1 millionth visitor milestone across all of the Fan Festivals this year.

For this years World Cup, FIFA approved Fan Festival sites 

  • BudX Fan Festivals in London, Seoul and Dubai
  • Corona Fan Festival in Mexico City, Mexico
  • Brahma Fan Festivals in Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro 
  • Coca-Cola Fan Festival in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
  • Doha, Qatar, a non sponsored festival

Some of the Fan Festival activations

  • Interactive physical and digital football game stations
  • Sponsored activations 
  • Appearances from FIFA Legends
  • Official stores with licensed World Cup merchandise. 
  • Content within the FIFA+ streaming platform. 
  • A hat and cup from Budweiser for fans who attended the event in London, and an opportunity to win an England shirt signed by a football legend.
  • In London, Budweiser gave fans the opportunity to win an England signed shirt by a football legend.
  • An adidas-sponsored fan activation in Mexico where attendees played Teqball, a football-based sport played on a specially curved table within a designated area. 
  • adidas also gave away little footballs before, during, and after games. After all games ended, the event host would throw 5 adidas balls into the crowd.
  • Coca-Cola branding across all of the table football (foosball tables) at the event in Mexico City.

Thanks to a new licensing model FIFA introduced in 2022, existing and future FIFA partners can launch local Fan Festivals in major cities outside the host countries to make the tournament experience more accessible for the global fan community.

  • SponsorUnited was in attendance at the festivals in London, Mexico City, Dubai and will be going to Doha on December 17th.

MLS Report 2022

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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.

USA vs. England FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022

The much anticipated USA vs England FIFA World Cup match begins in just a few hours. Take a look at some of the new and extended partnerships brands have activated across both teams.

USA

11/16, Legends Partnership Extended with USA
Less than a week before the USMT’s first World Cup game of 2022 vs. Wales, Legends announced a partnership extension with the U.S. Soccer Federation. The new multi-year agreement builds on a previous four-year partnership to keep Legends as the provider for all U.S. Soccer Store experiences both online and at events. New objectives of this agreement include future plans to implement an elevated version of the Visa Fan Studio, a mobile unit that can be stationed at U.S. Men’s and Women’s National Team matches.

11/7, U.S. Soccer and Volkswagen announce partnership extension
Almost a month before the start of the FIFA World Cup, the U.S. Soccer Federation announced a multi-year partnership extension with Volkswagen. The extension follows the German manufacturers continued growth of electric vehicles, including the ID.4 SUV and upcoming ID. Buzz. New efforts for the partnership include a focus on sustainability and electrification, as U.S. Soccer and Volkswagen will team up to work towards actionable sustainability initiatives and encouraged EV adoption.

11/3, Anheuser-Busch singed a multi-year sponsorship extension with U.S. Soccer
The longest strategic partner of the U.S. Soccer Federation, Anheuser-Busch, announced a partnership renewal that builds off the pre-existing 35-year relationship. The extension includes Kickoff Parties before select World Cup matches that include live entertainment, giveaways, and guest appearances from influencers and alumni. Matt Davis, the Head of Sports Marketing of Anheuser-Busch, focused on supporting the continued growth of the U.S. soccer’s growing fanbase.

ENGLAND

5/30, Nuffled Health announced new partnership with the England FA
As part of a five-year partnership, Nuffled Health was announced as the FA’s Official Health and Wellbeing Partner. The partnership aims to improve the wellbeing of individuals and communities through the mental and physical benefits brought by the game of football.

5/23, Marks & Spencer (M&S) announced new joint partnership with England FA and more
To help promote the brand’s food division, M&S tapped England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland FA as part of a joint partnership. The campaign began in July, and includes both physical inventory and content integrations featuring star players from the country’s national team rosters.

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.

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.

Footballers Karim Benzema & Alexia Putellas Take Home the Ballon d’Or

DOWNLOAD Ballon d’OR SPRED 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. 

To learn more about these athletes and their social metrics, download the Ballon d’Or SPRED Report at https://sponsorunited.com/ballon-dor-spred-report/.

Manchester Derby Sponsorship Outlook

This Sunday, Etihad Stadium will host the 188th edition of one of the greatest football games of the season: the Manchester Derby, with both Manchester United and Manchester City vying for the win to move up the ranks of the Premier League. Off the pitch, let’s compare the teams’ endorsement deals and social media clout. 

Since 2008, when Man City was bought by the U.A.E.’s Sheikh Mansour, the team had won the Premier League 6 times.

Man City’s success has attracted a slew of brand partnerships: the team has 69 sponsorship and media deals, while Manchester United has 60. In terms of sponsorships only, Man City’s 56 deals eclipse Man U’s 30. 

Manchester United has long been considered the most popular Premier League club with the widest fan base worldwide, making them one of the more exclusive teams in the league. Man U leads the Premier League on social media with an astonishing 184.7M followers combined across all channels. Man City ranks a distant 5th by this metric with 98.2M followers. Man U also dominates in total engagement with 21.5M followers–an average of 1.9M per brand–compared to Man City’s total engagement of 8.3M and per-brand average of 270K.

In the last year, Man U’s following grew 28% (vs. 16% for Man City), thanks largely to the team’s re-signing of Portuguese superstar forward Cristiano Ronaldo in August 2021. The English club gained over a million followers in the two hours after the club announced the news. 

Ronaldo’s staggering 733.1M followers across all social media–almost 3x more followers than both Manchester teams combined–make him the most followed (and arguably influential) person in not just football but in the world. His 23 deals leverage this unrivaled influence: his total engagement of 196M nets out to an average of 12.2M per brand and 2.2M per post.

Meanwhile, Man City star player Kevin De Bruyne currently has deals with 8 brands and a gross social following of 43.5M, and teammate Erling Haaland has 7 deals and tallies over 20M followers. Notably, Haaland’s posts with Dolce & Gabbana, Hyperice, Samsung, and MICROMILSPEC have racked up 10M engagements this year.

MLS All-Star Skills Challenge

SponsorUnited was on the ground at the 2022 MLS All-Star Skills Challenge. Below are the top 3 most commonly seen brands during the Minneapolis-based event.

Event Activations:
AT&T
Old Spice
Bounty

ESPN Broadcast:
AT&T
GMC
Frontier Communications

Check out the graphic below to see how these brands activated during the event.

MLS ALL-Star Week (7)

UEFA Super Cup

Real Madrid is set to play Eintracht Frankfurt today for the first time in 62 years in the UEFA Super Cup held in Helsinki.

Checkout the brands that will gain most exposure on the field during the match.

UEFA Super Cup