Sponsor Insights

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

European Football Returning Teams

Three European Football Leagues begin their new season this week: English Premier League, Bundesliga, and Ligue 1.

Betway and Coca-Cola had dominant appearances on and off the pitch during the 2021-22 season. Which brands plan to make their mark this season?

To view more insights about European Football download our full report: https://sponsorunited.com/2021-22-european-football-partnerships/

UEFA 2022 Women’s Euro Instant Replay

The  UEFA 2022 Women’s Euro–which wrapped up in London on Sunday–garnered record attendance across the entire tournament, doubling it from 2017 for a new record of nearly 575,000 spectators. 

The final match–which saw England win its first-ever major women’s championship with a 2-1 victory over Germany–also set new records for attendance and broadcast viewership, with over 87,000 fans and 17.5 million viewers in the UK, respectively. 

Fifteen brands leveraged the tournament’s unprecedented spotlight as sponsors, with visibility on social media and at the venues. Healthcare brand Grifols’ many sponsorship assets included signage on the video board, sponsored content via email, and social media posts of the tournament’s top scorer, Beth Mead.

Heineken had a unique opportunity as presenting sponsor of the pregame warm-up for some of the matches, which included a live DJ set.

As the presenting sponsor of the “player of the match” for all 31 games, VISA enjoyed prime positioning, with its logo front and center on the trophy. VISA also scored the most social posts with the UEFA Women’s Champions League with 72–nearly double those of second-place Heineken.

VISA’s social posts with the UEFA outnumbers all other brands in 2022, while Heineken scored the highest total engagement with the league, with 160,000 followers across 46 posts. Heineken also leads in highest average engagement per post, at over 3,000 followers.

VISA and Heineken also created campaigns celebrating women’s empowerment surrounding the tournament. Heineken launched a campaign in May that encourages fans of all genders to show their passion for women’s football. VISA’s campaign, unveiled last month across audio, digital, and print formats, leveraged the tagline, “When more of us play, all of us win,” in homage to female athletes.

Women's Euros Final Instant Replay

UEFA Champions League Final

Last Saturday, Real Madrid raised their 14th Champions League trophy, making them the most successful team in the history of the tournament, with a total of 14 UCL trophies.

We broke down some of the top insights from the biggest soccer game of the year.

 

UEFA Champions League IR

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.

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.