On the field, there is little Jocelyn Alo can’t do. She is a 2x Women’s College World Series champion, 3x First Team All-American, all-time NCAA home run leader and #1 overall pick in the 2022 WPF Inaugural College Draft.
This year, the 16 NBA playoff teams saw a 12.5% increase in social media followers while non-playoff teams saw a 5% growth. Is this due to more time in the limelight or because their markets are home to the best players in the league?
Of the eight Eastern Conference playoff teams, the Chicago Bulls rank highest in the NBA in terms of social media followers, with nearly 30M and ranked #4 in the league. Interesting to note that of the eight teams, five rank #1 in their market in terms of social followers.
With superstars Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant, the Brooklyn Nets have the highest average engagement rate per post while the Boston Celtics have the highest total engagement. As defending champions, the Milwaukee Bucks have the most social deals, 55 unique brands to be exact. While the Atlanta Hawks have less social deals but the highest number of branded posts, with over 2,300 already this season..
Now onto the Western Conference teams. Four of the eight teams rank #1 in social media followers in their market while all eight teams are at least top three in their respective markets. To no surprise,, the Golden State Warriors rank highest amongst the crew in social follower rank within the NBA landing at #3. The Utah Jazz had the highest YoY growth with a 29% increase.
The Warriors take the title for having the highest average engagement rate as well as total engagement of over 50M. This separates them from the pack by a landslide, the Mavericks come in 2nd with a total engagement of just over 8M.
Over the last two years, it’s no shock there has been a rise in family social media accounts and family social media influencers. This goes for those who want to stay in touch, to those who want to rake in the deals. Four semi-known families have managed to turn their family social media accounts into a semi-empire (and no, we’re not talking about the Kardashians’). The Royalty Family, The Holderness Family, The Bee Family and The Bee Family have all established a name for themselves in the Family Influencer space.
Which brands have leveraged these families’ followers?
With 2.1M followers between their Tiktok and Instagram, the Royalty Family utilizes their 17.1M subscribers to showcase their 11 brands deals including notable deals with Chime, Staples and Centrum.
Coming off being crowned the winners of Season 33 of the Amazing Race, the Holderness Family features nine brand deals showcased across their five social media platforms with over 6.5M followers. Some of their more notable deals include AT&T, King’s Hawaiian and Great Clips.
With the most combined followers of the group, the LaBrant Family has over 50M followers across their five social media platforms. With eight brand deals including King’s Hawaiian, Cash App and SHEIN.
Lastly, the Bee Family has secured five brand deals to their 32M followers across five social media platforms. Some of the most notable brands include Welch’s, Kraft Heinz and Team Seas.
These four families have quickly gained popularity over the last two years and enjoyed increased followers and brand deals over this time. As the rest of the year plays out, the family influencer space will be one to monitor for an increase in followers and brand deals.
Checkout some of the brands they partner with and how they leverage brand deals across their social media platforms.
On Thursday May 12th the world celebrated International Nurses Day. A day filled with gratitude toward a profession which has been working tirelessly over the last few years. During the Pandemic, there was a massive uptick in nurses taking to social media to share their stories and shed light on their heroing industry.
Miki Rai, a nurse, now nurse and social media influencer, has secured over 10 deals and has over 2.1M followers across Instagram, Facebook and Tiktok. This nurse’s quick rise to fame has opened the door for unique categories (in particular healthcare brands) to leverage social media like never before.
Rai has endorsed popular healthcare brands including Vicks, Lubriderm, and Unisom. Rai also works with brands to help encourage and educate the next generation of Nurses. Rai alongside the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses and BoardVitals are using her social media presence to help raise awareness for various health issues and help walk prospective nurses on the process of the board exams.
Overall in the healthcare space, BetterHealth leads the way with 60 sponsorship deals. 82% of the sponsorship deals come in the podcast industry with influencers coming in 2nd with nine sponsorship deals. Invisalign comes in second with 49 total deals. 25 of those deals come from the NFL with 10 deals with teams, one with the league, and 14 with NFL Athletes.
Next on the list is Kaiser Permanente which has 39 deals including deals within four of the top five Pro Sports leagues. AdventHealth, Florida Hospital, comes in 4th on the list with 25 sponsor deals spread across various leagues and the state of Florida. Lastly, American Medical Response comes in 5th with 25 deals. These deals are spread across multiple sports teams and leagues including three Buffalo based teams with the Buffalo Bills, Buffalo Bulls and Rochester Americans.
International superstar Shohei Ohtani has garnered an impressive 188% increase in social followers YoY. That has translated into signing more than 10 endorsements with brands globally. How does that compare to teammate Mike Trout? Trout’s social following has only grown 2% over the past year but it has not slowed down the amount of deals he has which are in the double digits.
How does this compare to other star players around the league?
Signing mega deals for a player’s “performance” has not always meant endorsement deals off the field. Two examples of this are Max Scherzer & Gerrit Cole who are the two highest paid pitchers in baseball. Each player totals only two deals, both have a deal with Rawlings, while Scherzer has a deal with Indeed and Cole with Nike. Notably, both of these players are not as active on social media as some other star players having under 1 million followers each.
Philadelphia Phillies outfielder Bryce Harper comes to mind when thinking about players like Trout having more than five endorsements off the field while signing big contracts for his game play. Harper has over 2 million followers on social media that his brand partners like Dairy Queen, Gatorade & Fanatics leverage. Harper’s followers average a 4% engagement rate on his social posts totalling over 380k engagements, the most of the five athletes mentioned. Ohtani leads the group with 11 total deals and highest
According to an analysis of over 30,000 brands spending on endorsements or sponsorship/media campaigns, each of the “Power 5” platforms represents a unique characterization. For example, Consumer Products is the most active category on TikTok, while not cracking the top five on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn.
This past year, we tracked over 30,000 brands buying endorsements or sponsorship/media campaigns that included social media. We found that the Alcohol category had the most sponsored posts in Major Pro Sports, led by Bud Light and Michelob Ultra. The most engaging post in Major Pro Sports was Bibigo’s jersey patch announcement with the Los Angeles Lakers, which saw an engagement score of 1,056,188. The New England Patriots had the highest engaging TikTok post–a sponsored video partnering with apparel company Stitch.
A major decision maker when choosing TikTok for branded social posts, is to directly target a younger demographic with personable content, as 41% of the user base is made up of people ages 16-24. Manscaped is a top five brand in the consumer products category when ranked by total partnerships, and leverages TikTok through integrated videos with verified social influencers such as TooTurntTony, who’s sponsored TikTok videos with Manscaped average 386,000 engagements. Walmart leads all brands in total integrated media deals on TikTok, having 66 partnerships with a roster of celebrities and influencers to promote beauty products and fashion designs.
The Apparel & Accessories category appears in the top five categories for all social media platforms, and is led by the two apparel giants Nike and adidas. An impressive 60% of all adidas 900+ partnerships include social media content, while only 37% of Nike’s 1,600+ partnerships.
TikTok continues to pave the way as a leading social media platform and brands aren’t taking a backseat. As SponsorUnited continues to track TikTok partnerships on the platform, we’ve scouted over 600+ brands taking advantage of the algorithm that lets millions of users view viral videos. Rather than influencers posting static images for their endorsement deals, over 640 influencers have created short form videos in collaboration with their brand partners.
Charli D’Amelio, one of the most famous TikTok stars, has created unique content with her partners. Dunkin’ has received the most traction from the influencers’ posts, with the top post receiving over 6 million likes and 47 million views for the brand. Consumer Products is the leading category for TikTok influencer brand partnerships with almost 20% of TikTok brand deals falling into this category. As for sports, over the last 12 months Major Pro Sports and athletes had over 120 partnerships on TikTok, with that number quickly rising as leagues and players are seeing the value that TikTok influencers are bringing to their younger target market.
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.
From 2020 to 2021, here are the National Football League (NFL) teams with the largest % increase in total social following year-over-year:
5) Jacksonville Jaguars (+8%)
4) Los Angeles Rams (+9%)
2T) Kansas City Chiefs (+10%)
2T) Buffalo Bills (+10%)
1) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+22%)
Four out of the five teams above made the playoffs during this season. The Jacksonville Jaguars led in total branded posts with over 2,500 which included 95 different brands. The Kansas City Chiefs had the least amount of posts with just over 500 which only included 45 brands, but do have the highest average rate at .83% and highest total engagement over 8.5 million.
Let’s take a look at how these teams stack up in terms of sponsorship deals:
5) Kansas City Chiefs
4) Los Angeles Rams
3)Tampa Bay Buccaneers
2) Buffalo Bills
1) Jacksonville Jaguars
The Jacksonville Jaguars not only are the top team on this list, but according to SponsorUnited data, they have the most sponsors in the NFL by over 40 brands more than the Indianapolis Colts who come in second with 136 deals followed by the Dallas Cowboys with 128. Ranked by sponsorship assets, the venue naming rights partner for the Jags, TIAA Bank, is tied with Dream Finders Homes for being the most active sponsor with the team.