Sponsor Insights

Grey Cup Final

The Winnipeg Blue Bomber’s will take on the Toronto Argonauts at the Mosaic Stadium in Regina, Saskatchewan for the 109th Grey Cup.

Twitter is utilized the most for both teams. Not only do both sports teams have their highest social following on Twitter, but all social deals between both teams include Twitter posts. Canada Life was the most leveraged brand for the Winnipeg Blue Bomber’s on Twitter, accumulating 74 posts and 20k+ engagements within the past year. Bell Media was leveraged the most for the Toronto Argonauts on Twitter, amassing 30 posts and 2.8k+ engagements in the past year.

Grey Cup Final

The Winnipeg Blue Bomber’s will take on the Toronto Argonauts at the Mosaic Stadium in Regina, Saskatchewan for the 109th Grey Cup.
Twitter is utilized the most for both teams. Not only do but both team’s have their highest social following on Twitter, but all social deals between both teams include Twitter posts. Canada Life was the most leveraged brand for the Winnipeg Blue Bomber’s on Twitter, accumulating 74 posts and 20k+ engagements with the team in the past year. Bell Media was leveraged the most for the Toronto Argonauts on Twitter, amassing  30 posts and for 2.8k+ engagements. 

Key Category Insights: Women In Sports

DOWNLOAD Women In Sports 2022 HERE

The inaugural Women In Sports report was released last week and delivered an in-depth analysis of more than 350 athletes, 7.1K deals, and over 33K posts between leagues, teams, athletes, and brands from September 2021-September 2022.

Let’s take a deeper look at key category insights from the report.

Finance was the most active category in women’s leagues and teams, and the only one with over 300 total sponsorship deals. Not only did the category lead in partnerships, it also grew the most overall year over year, underscoring the burgeoning appeal of women’s sports to the industry. 

Mastercard, Ally Financial, CaixaBank, Deloitte, and BNP Paribas topped the list (in that order) with the most sponsorships. Ally Financial–which has pledged gender parity in sponsorship and media spending by 2027–was a particular standout: the company was the most active banking brand, and ranked fourth overall in the category. 

Led by apparel giants Nike and adidas, Apparel & Accessories was the second most active category in the past year, with just over 260 sponsorships. Not only did Nike have the most deals in the category, the apparel brand also added the most partnerships–and was the most active brand of any category across the WNBA, the NWSL, and Australia’s Big Bash League.

Meanwhile, NFT brands only partnered with 1% of women’s leagues and teams, versus 26% of men’s. Socios.com was one of only three NFT brands with deals in women’s sports, while the Minnesota Lynx and Valencia CF were the only teams with a sponsorship deal in the category.

Betting Services & DFS (Daily Fantasy Sports) inked deals with 11% of women’s leagues and teams, compared to 48% of men’s. Sorare, Caliente.mx, BetMGM,and FanDuel had multiple partnerships in women’s sports, but only 30 brands–just 6% of all active brands in the category– bought sponsorships or media deals. 

While Beer boasts staple-category status in men’s sports–over 60% of men’s leagues and teams sold sponsorship or media deals with at least one beer brand in the past year–women’s leagues and teams have plenty of room to grow in the category, as only 25% of properties currently partner with beer brands. Michelob Ultra and Mahou led beer brands in sponsorship growth: the Anheuser-Busch-owned brand added seven domestic deals to its portfolio, while the Spanish brewing company inked its first deal with Liga F.

Explore more insights about women in sports at https://sponsorunited.com/.

Major League Rugby | Spotlight

Major League Rugby (MLR) wrapped up its fifth official season this summer, with Rugby New York taking home its first championship title. As the sport’s popularity steadily increases nationwide, let’s take a look at its burgeoning stable of sponsorships.

Over 380 brands are currently buying sponsorship or media within the MLR and its 13 teams.

Rugby New York currently has less than 10 sponsorship deals–but its league-topping performance this season means brands may soon be clamoring to sign new partnerships with the team as its profile–and the league’s own–continue to rise. Mainfreight, a global supply chain solutions provider, enjoyed prime exposure this season as Rugby New York’s primary jersey sponsor. One of Mainfreight’s tweets with the team was Rugby New York’s highest engaged tweet of the season, and the league’s third highest overall.  

Unlike in other pro sports, Business Services tops the category list in terms of total MLR sponsorship deals: 25 brands have one deal each with a league team. TV-visible signage–including field-level sideline signage–is the most common asset purchased by these brands. 

Across all categories, the top 10 brands ranked by number of sponsorship deals are:

  • Paladin Sports
  • Rhino Rugby
  • Wintergreen
  • American Airlines
  • Guaranteed Rate
  • USI Insurance
  • The Rugby Network
  • GEICO
  • Opro
  • PT SportSuite

All of the above have a deal with at least two MLR teams, and one with the league itself. 

Meanwhile, 27% of the league’s primary jersey sponsorship deals are with Healthcare brands. The number of teams selling primary jersey sponsorships this season increased 37% over last year.

Goal post pads are another notable asset in companies’ crosshairs, with the number of brands buying this asset up 200% versus 2021.  Equipment & apparel retailers Retailers Rhino Rugby and Rugby Now enjoyed exposure on all goal post pads during this season’s matches.

Emerging brands to watch within the league include Wintergreen and Rugby Now, with 4 and 3 new deals this year, respectively. Wintergreen became an official partner of MLR in May 2021, while Rugby Now inked a three-year partnership with the league last February. 

CLICK HERE TO VIEW

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 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

Upper Deck Woos Young NHL Fans

Leading sports collectibles company Upper Deck–an NHL partner since 1990–has brought its knack for innovative activations to its role as the title sponsor for the NHL Entry Draft, which begins today. The exclusive licensed manufacturer of NHL Trading Cards, the company is also keen to expand into the NFT space. 

In keeping with its longtime strategy of boosting younger generations’ engagement with the NHL–both inside and outside the arena–Upper Deck has been drumming up excitement for the draft citywide since June 26th, when the Upper Deck truck began roaming Montreal’s streets. Free giveaways along its nine-stop route include 2022 draft exclusive 9-card player sheets, as well as mini posters of Shane Wright, Upper Deck ambassador and potential #1 draft pick. Fans were encouraged to post their truck pics on social media with the hashtag #CollectTheBest. 

The fun continues inside the Bell Centre today, where Puck-O–a variation on Plinko–on the arena concourse offers kids the chance to win customized play mats, calendars, and other prizes with the purchase of one pack of Upper Deck hobby cards. 

At NHL marquee events, card games–like “pack wars” to determine who has the most valuable card, and kids’ bingo with NHL mascots–have been another unique tactic for cultivating young fans. Upper Deck launched an online game during the Stanley Cup, when fans could win a free player pack by guessing the players’ identities from their descriptions.

The company was also the presenting sponsor of the Mascot Showdown at the 2022 All-Star Game, where team mascots faced off in competitions including dodgeball and broomball. Upper Deck was tagged in Instagram posts and featured with signage throughout the video along the boards of the rink.

To read more about the NHL partnerships this year, download our 2021-22 NHL Marketing & Partnerships Report .

The NHL’s Big Leap In Cause-Related Marketing

Cause-related sponsorship campaigns in the NHL grew 23% this year over last–placing the league second only to the NFL in activating community/cause-related assets in professional sports. Following the recent release of SponsorUnited’s NHL 2021-2022 Marketing & Partnerships Annual Report, here’s a quick look at the biggest cause-related sponsorship takeaways this season.

More than 320+ brands activated NHL community/cause-related campaigns–led by Scotiabank, which launched multiple campaigns with the NHL and four Canadian teams (the Toronto Maple Leafs, Montreal Canadiens, Winnipeg Jets, and Edmonton Oilers). Other brands with the highest frequency of these campaigns were as follows:

  1. TD Bank
  2. EverFi
  3. Ford Motor Company
  4. Northwell Health
  5. Bauer Hockey
  6. Chase
  7. SAP
  8. adidas
  9. Tim Hortons
  10. Kaiser Permanente
  11. Esso
  12. Boeing
  13. Budweiser
  14. Stop & Shop
  15. Dunkin’
  16. National Grid
  17. Love Your Melon
  18. Toyota
  19. BMO Harris Bank


Financial brands led all industries, overtaking Healthcare brands as the most active supporter of causes. Insurance, Technology, and Auto (in that order) rounded out the top-five industry categories, which alone contributed to almost half of all NHL cause-related sponsorship campaigns. 

To learn more, check out the SponsorUnited NHL 2021-2022 Marketing & Partnerships Annual Report at https://sponsorunited.com/nhl-partnerships-report/.

Cause Related Marketing

SportsNet & ABC, The Homes Of The 2022 Stanley Cup

Game 5 of the NHL Stanley Cups takes place tonight, as both the Tampa Bay Lightning and Colorado Avalanche look to take home the cup. The Finals feature different broadcasts for US and Canadian based fans, with ABC hosting the US coverage and SportsNet hosting Canadian coverage. Looking back at the first game of the series, what differences and similarities did we find between the brands and assets sponsoring the most important matchup of the NHL season?

SportsNet’s broadcast featured 46 unique brands. The top three most frequent brands and their assets during the Canadian coverage were:

  • DraftKings (Gaming)
  • Logo in Broadcast Studio
  • Live Read Commercial
  • Sponsored Segment
  • Split Screen Commercial
  • Recorded Commercial (3)

​​On Canadian broadcasts, the gaming category ranked 3rd. Didn’t crack the top 10 for US broadcasts. Reasoning would logically be legalization of single-game gambling in Canada this past August before the season started.

  • Scotiabank (Banking)
  • Period Naming Rights (Presenting Sponsor)
  • Live Read Commercial
  • Logo Pop Up
  • Recorded Commercial (3)
  • SkipTheDishes (On-Demand Delivery)
  • Sponsored Segment
  • Live Read Commercial
  • Recorded Commercial (2)

ABC’s broadcast featured 61 unique brands. The three most prominent brands from the  US coverage were as follows:

  • Lexus (Luxury Car Manufacturer)
  • Intermission Report Naming Rights (Presenting Sponsor)
  • Logo in Studio
  • Live Read Commercial
  • Recorded Commercial (4)
  • GEICO (Insurance
  • Presenting Sponsor of the 2022 Stanley Cup Finals
  • Live Read Commercial
  • Logo Pop up
  • Recorded Commercial (3)
  • Verizon (Telecommunications)
  • Pregame Naming Rights (Presenting Sponsor)
  • Logo in Studio
  • Recorded Commercial (3)

NHL Partnerships Report

DOWNLOAD REPORT: https://sponsorunited.com/nhl-2021-22-report/

Finance companies boost NHL team sponsorship revenue past the $1B mark for the first time in league history

The NHL 2021-22 Marketing & Partnerships Annual Report highlights trends in sponsorships surrounding the National Hockey League, teams, athletes, and media partners. Uncover data on over 3,300 NHL partnership deals and over 2,000 active brands buying sponsorships and media in the NHL.

Key findings from the report include:

  • Finance companies boost NHL team sponsorship revenue past the $1B mark for the first time in league history.
    This jump is a 63% increase from the $623 million in the 2020-21 season.
  • Cause-related sponsorship campaigns increased 23% year over year, with Finance brands overtaking Healthcare brands as the most active supporter of causes.
    On average, 10 brands activated against a cause (vs. 8 last season.)
  • The seven Canadian teams had a higher average social following compared to the 23 US teams.
    Brands received 2x the engagement with US teams.
  • The NHL league account posts more than any other pro sports league, in fact, 2x more than the NFL (second-most.)
    No team or player in the NHL has a larger social following than the league itself.
  • Banking and Beer brands were the top spenders as marquee brands continued to increase spend this season.
    Beer companies more than doubled their spend with NHL teams which moved the Beverage (Alcoholic) category past Healthcare to #2.

Methodology

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

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