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With 2024 in full (and frosty) swing, here’s a breakdown––a day early, thanks to this year’s leap year––of the brands most searched by sponsorship executives on the platform in February.  

Sponge manufacturer Scrub Daddy and AI-enabled payments platform BILL top the list,  closely trailed by Skims, Crocs, and Mission Foods, in that order. 

A high-profile player in the Apparel category, Skims, the shapewear brand owned by Kim Kardashian, has seen its sponsorship and media deals rise by 125% in the last year. The red-hot brand made its first foray into the pro sports realm in 2023, inking deals with Patrick Mahomes, Nick Bosa, and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, and forged its first league sponsorship with the NBA—making the brand the Official Underwear Partner of the NBA, WNBA, and USA Basketball. 

Footwear maker Crocs earns the fourth spot on the heels of announcing its 2024 NIL roster, featuring standout athletes like Duke Blue Devils guard Jared McCain, Indiana Hoosiers forward Mackenzie Mgbako, and University of Utah gymnast Grace McCallum. The brand is making a serious splash in college sports as the NCAA Basketball season heats up, partnering with an impressive 29 college men and women basketball athletes. 

Mission Foods rounds out the top 5, following the January announcement of a multi-year agreement naming the Mexican food brand the entitlement partner for the NASCAR Xfinity Series Race at Watkins Glen International race track in upstate New York. The tortilla chip maker dominates within motorsports in the Food Products category, with nearly 20 more deals than the second-place brand. More than 50% of Mission Foods’ sponsorships are with motorsports rights holders. 

While the first of the year might feel like a distant glimmer, January hottest brands are in—setting the stage for what brands were top of mind for sponsorship executives just one month into 2024.

Nucor makes its notable debut in second place, after joining forces with the Carolina Hurricanes to become the team’s first-ever official jersey patch sponsor, in a deal set to continue through the NHL 2026–27 season. The Charlotte-based steel giant’s logo debuted on the Hurricanes’ jersey during the team’s game against the Washington Capitals on January 5th—marking Nucor’s first entrée into the professional sports sponsorship arena. 

Sportswear titan adidas scores the list’s fourth spot, after having recently announced the extension of its longtime partnership with Dutch men’s soccer club Ajax until 2031. The German brand has served as Ajax's main sporting goods partner since 2000—and this latest extension puts the pairing on course to cross the 30-year mark, making it one of the longest commercial relationships in European football history. Adidas’ sprawling endorsement portfolio encompasses more than 700 sponsorships, including deals with buzzy properties worldwide like the FIFA World Cup, the UEFA Champions League, and Major League Soccer. 

Meanwhile, cryptocurrency platform BingX makes its splashy debut at #29, thanks to a groundbreaking partnership with Chelsea FC announced last month—securing its coveted spot as the team’s new Official Crypto Exchange and Sleeve Partner for the remainder of the 2023/24 season, with the BingX brand emblazoned on the team’s training kit range for the subsequent two seasons. The high-flying collaboration—which will include innovative digital content and BingX branding prominently showcased across the team’s iconic Stamford Bridge stadium and training ground—is the company’s initial foray into the world of sports and entertainment endorsements.

SponsorUnited's latest forecast of an optimistic picture for the US sports sponsorship industry was featured in SportsPro Media. With projections suggesting that revenues could eclipse the staggering US$8 billion mark by 2024, the landscape is set for a transformative period. This potential surge represents a significant leap from the US$6.7 billion total amassed by major professional US sports last year. The growth is attributed to the industry's dynamic evolution, with leagues expanding their inventory and diving into new categories such as augmented reality (AR) signage. These developments offer a plethora of fresh opportunities that are likely to attract both new and existing advertisers, setting the stage for an exciting era of innovation and expansion in sports marketing.

One of the most notable trends is the 'unprecedented growth' anticipated in revenue for US women's sports properties. This positive shift reflects a broader recognition and investment in women's sports, marking a pivotal change in the industry's dynamics. Additionally, the sports betting sector is expected to maintain its position as a major contributor to sponsorship spending, reflecting its increasing integration into mainstream sports culture. In terms of technological advancements, we anticipate a growing trend of brands incorporating artificial intelligence (AI) in their activations with sports properties. Moreover, the prediction that more companies will lean towards AR and virtual reality (VR) technologies to create more interactive and immersive storytelling experiences for fans underscores the industry's move towards digital innovation. These insights not only highlight the evolving nature of sports sponsorships but also underscore the pivotal role of emerging technologies in shaping future marketing strategies.

The sponsorship landscape across the sports industry is poised to evolve notably in 2024, as cutting-edge digital advancements and shifts in various sectors create new opportunities to boost brand awareness and fan engagement. From a remarkable revenue increase in US pro sports endorsements to unprecedented growth in women's sports sponsorship, the following five predictions highlight the sponsorship industry’s  dynamism and burgeoning potential. 

📈 US Pro Sports Sponsorship Market Set to Unlock $1 Billion in Additional Revenue to Reach $8 Billion in 2024

The US professional sports sponsorship market is on track to surpass $1B in additional team sponsorship revenue this year, potentially topping $8 billion in 2024—a nearly 20% boost versus last year. Since 2021, the number of brands buying sponsorships has increased 10%, paired with a 7% rise in the number of partnerships over the same period. Ever-expanding brand advertising options–—including jersey patch opportunities and helmet inventory–—are driving this momentum, as are new exposure assets across major leagues. Growth drivers like surging celebrity and influencer investments, more lucrative venue naming rights deals, adaptive rule changes, and strategic league expansions into new markets both at home and overseas are further fueling this seismic shift in the sports marketing landscape. 

⛹ Women's Sports Sponsorship Poised for Unprecedented Growth, Tapping Into $1B Global Market Potential

Sponsorships in the US women's pro sports market—encompassing the WNBA, NWSL, WTA, and LPGA—are surging, marked by a 25% increase in both brands investing and partnerships in 2023 versus the previous year. The average share of media coverage of women's sports nearly tripled to 15% of all sports media coverage in 2022, amplifying their flourishing visibility and allure to sponsors. Last week, the NCAA and ESPN announced a $920M, eight-year agreement that will give the network exclusive rights to 40 championships, including the Division I women’s basketball tournament. The blockbuster deal follows the NWSL's landmark $240M media rights deal with CBS, ESPN, Amazon, and Scripps announced in November. Meanwhile, the growth of NIL deals, particularly in women's college sports––where female athletes lead in engagement and number of brand partnerships—further underscores the ever-increasing financial viability and appeal of women's sports sponsorships.

🌐 AI: The Next Frontier in Fan Engagement and Brand Integration

AI’s integration within sports sponsorships is gaining steam, with more than 75 brands already leveraging AI, and an additional 115 investing in both sports and entertainment. This movement comprises part of a larger trend of some 58K AI companies worldwide that are disrupting an array of industries, sports among them. The Drone Racing League's fleet of AI-powered drones–which race through spectacular courses across virtual and physical competitions–is the cutting-edge “jersey patch” offering for companies keen to make a splash with the most innovative and immersive partnerships. Alternatively, Kellogg’s snacking spinoff Kellanova–sponsor of the Pop-Tarts Bowl and the Cheez-It Citrus Bowl–plans to use AI to inform content development to engage key demographics like Gen Z through groundbreaking experiences, highlighting its CMO's commitment to a digital-first strategy. Notably, despite AI’s skyrocketing prevalence, 95% of major US pro sports teams don’t have an AI partner currently—spotlighting the massive sponsorship potential in this exploding arena.

🔥 AR/VR Gold Rush: Rights Holders to Fuel Revenue Revolution by Catering to Evolving Fan and Brand Dynamics

Digital-first sponsorships—where traditional in-game TV commercials and social media campaigns on Instagram and Twitter reign supreme—now dominate the pro sports marketing landscape. Over 1,000 brands also invested in virtual signage in 2023, primarily in the NHL and MLB—nearly twice as many as in 2021. Companies like adidas, Coors Light, and Invisalign are pioneering this movement, engaging fans through AR in a variety of sports. From T-Mobile's telecommunications expertise to Tiffany & Co.'s luxury appeal, the expansion of AR in sponsorships is poised to deliver unprecedented interactive experiences, deepen fan loyalty, and create new avenues for brand exposure. As this trend accelerates, we anticipate a game-changing evolution in how sports stories are told and experienced. The coming years promise a renaissance in digital sponsorship, as leagues and brands unite to craft immersive, interactive fan experiences that can take traditional broadcasts into the exhilarating—and Gen Z-preferred—domain of second-screen interactivity. Speaking of, this week Apple announced the hotly anticipated launch of its new Vision Pro headset on February 2nd, which aims to transform how consumers experience gaming and video content, thanks to a virtual reality screen that feels 100 feet wide.  

🎲 Sports Betting Set to Dominate as the Next Major Player in Sponsorship Spend

The US sports betting market—with a projected valuation of over $40 billion by 2030—is a blazing frontier for sponsorship deals​​. FanDuel and DraftKings lead the charge, thanks to the former’s recent deal with Genius Sports and the latter’s with the NBA and NFL RedZone—signaling a ripe landscape for partnerships with streaming platforms to offer live betting lines and interactive experiences​​. Over 25 NFL franchises now boast gambling sponsors, signaling a shift toward physical and digital integration of sports betting in fan experiences—including in-stadium betting kiosks, mobile betting apps, and interactive gaming linked to live games​​. The Fanatics' acquisition of PointsBet's US business marks a significant step, hinting at a trend toward global consolidation in the sports betting industry. Total team sponsorship revenue from sports betting brands approached $300M during the 2022-2023 seasons. Meanwhile, the number of betting sponsorships in major US professional sports has spiked 70% since 2020 to 225 deals currently, and counting. Expect this trend to escalate as rights holders innovate to engage audiences and foster brand relationships in a digital-centric market​​.

As we head back to work and kick off a new year, we're thrilled to unveil the 100 most searched brands by sponsorship executives on the SponsorUnited platform in 2023.

Dunkin’ clinched the top spot after its second-place showing in 2022, closing the year with more than 150 partnerships––including new deals with Ben Affleck, Zay Flowers, and the Charlotte Hornets. The donut-and-coffee dynamo racked up over 4M interactions last year across all social media.

Celsius soared to 4th on the list from 71st the prior year, having grown its endorsement portfolio nearly 25% in 2023. The energy drink brand also boosted its social media presence, partnering with influencers like Khaby Lame, Josh Richards, Jake Paul, and Brooke Monk, among others. Celsius commands 12% of the branded social media landscape within the energy drink category with more than 20M in total engagement, closely trailing Red Bull and Monster Energy.  

Speaking of non-alcoholic beverages, PRIME Hydration made a splash in the sports drink category in 2023, expanding its sponsorship stable by 1,200% to become the 17th most searched brand on our list. Its owners, influencers Logan Paul and KSI, used their own massive social media clout and over 30 other properties to propel total branded engagement to more than 75M, while signing deals with high-profile organizations including Arsenal, FC Barcelona, the Los Angeles Dodgers, and the UFC. Though Gatorade and BodyArmor dominate the category number of sponsorships, PRIME reigns supreme on social media, with nearly 50% of the category’s total engagement, eclipsing the 2nd brand by more than 50M branded interactions.

Meanwhile, home repair app Frontdoor focused its sponsorship strategy on baseball and broadcast media last year, partnering with MLB teams’ regional networks and ESPN to air its ad featuring National League 2023 MVP, Ronald Acuna Jr., during the season’s opening week. Frontdoor scored the 60th spot on our list in 2023, after growing its endorsements from one radio deal in 2022 to more than 40 partnerships in 2023. 

Last year was a rough one for cryptocurrency companies, which embarked on a sponsorship blitz in recent years with a wide array of sports teams, athletes, and other buzzy entities. Following the collapse of crypto darling FTX in November 2022 and the subsequent decline of the entire sector, many of these marquee partnerships were paused or ended. While Crypto.com and FTX ranked 5th and 7th, respectively, among our top 10 most searched brands in 2022, not a single crypto brand made the top 100 in 2023. Coinbase scored highest of all crypto companies at #361––a far fall from its 22nd-place finish the previous year. 

Other notable partnerships of 2023:

American Express x Formula One: American Express announced a multi-year partnership with Formula One to become the Official Payments Partner of F1 in the Americas.

T-Mobile x MLB: T-Mobile and Major League Baseball announced a new long-term deal, creating more 5G experiences for fans.

Red Bull x Formula One: Red Bull announced as presenting partner for the Formula 1 Heineken Silver Las Vegas Grand Prix.

Nike x Aaron Judge: New York Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge signed a footwear and apparel deal with Jordan Brand.

Liquid Death x F1 Las Vegas: Liquid Death announced as Official Event Partner of the Formula 1 Heineken Silver Las Vegas Grand Prix.

Prime Hydration x UFC: UFC announced Global Marketing Partnership with Prime Hydration.

Raising Cane’s x Post Malone x Dallas Cowboys: Post Malone and the Dallas Cowboys team up with Raising Cane's to open a first-of-its-kind restaurant in Cowboys Country.

DUDE Products x Cleveland Browns: The Cleveland Browns unveil a new white alternate throwback helmet for 2023 presented by DUDE Wipes.

BodyArmor x Joe Burrow: Cincinnati Bengals QB Joe Burrow signed a multi-year deal with BodyArmor.

DraftKings x NFL: DraftKings takes over Presenting Sponsorship of NFL’s RedZone Show.

In November, sponsorship executives on SponsorUnited were focused on a diverse range of brands, each making significant strides in their respective industries. Topping the charts was Scrub Daddy, the innovative cleaning sponge brand known for its breakthrough on Shark Tank. Its success is not just in retail; the brand has signed sponsor deals with culinary influencer Albert Can Cook and lifestyle guru David Lockridge, achieving over 1 million engagements from just 13 unique posts, primarily through TikTok and Instagram. 

Following close behind in popularity is Skims, founded by Kim Kardashian, which recently became the NBA's Official Underwear Partner. Skims, known for its glamorous collaboration with Swarovski, boasts an impressive 110 million engagements across social media, partnering with celebrities like Neymar Jr, Nick Bosa, and Charli D’Amelio. The expansion of Skims into the athletic realm, particularly through partnerships with prominent athletes like Neymar Jr and Nick Bosa, is significant as it not only diversifies the brand's appeal beyond the fashion and entertainment industries but also taps into the massive, loyal fanbases of sports, amplifying its reach and reinforcing its position as a versatile and influential brand in the global market.

Not to be overlooked, Pit Boss Grills made a notable entry into the top 10 after securing partnerships with NFL teams Baltimore Ravens and Green Bay Packers, alongside its 29 sponsor deals with personalities including Hailie Deegan and Aaron Jones. Learn more about Pit Boss First Foray Into the NFL for Pit Boss Grills.

In Marketing Brew’s latest article, Alyssa Meyers dives into the notable trends in sports and entertainment sponsorships over the past year—with a particular focus on insights found exclusively in our 2023 Year In Review. Notably covered is the substantial increase in team sponsorship revenue for both men's and women's sports leagues in the US. Coca-Cola emerges as the dominant brand in sports sponsorships, with 938 deals, almost double that of its closest competitor, Pepsi. Nike and adidas lead in deals with international athletes. 

The report also highlights the impact of sponsorship revenue across the five US major pro sports—the NFL, MLB, NHL, NBA, and MLS. Notably, the MLB experienced a significant 23% increase in team sponsorship revenue, partly attributed to 2023 being the first year for jersey patch sponsorships. The article sheds light on the influence of sponsorships on brand awareness, citing MassMutual's boost in visibility through a jersey-patch sponsorship with the Red Sox.

Meyers underscores the diverse representation of sponsors across sports properties, including notable participation from beer brands (Bud Light, Michelob Ultra, and Budweiser), automakers (Toyota and Ford), and fast-food chains (McDonald’s and Chick-fil-A). The data from our Year In Review report provides valuable insights into the evolving landscape of sports and entertainment sponsorships, showcasing the competitive dynamics and strategic choices made by top brands in this ever changing industry.

The advancements and creativity seen in the 2023 landscape of Sports & Entertainment have been notably impressive. The collaboration between sponsorships and brand partnerships has been influential, establishing new benchmarks and directions.

Starting with entertainment, one of the most captivating moments this year has been the re-emergence of Barbie on the global stage. This iconic brand's triumph stems from strategic marketing maneuvers across diverse industries and media platforms, underlining the potent power of apt partnerships for both established and nascent brands. Meanwhile, digital celebrities such as MrBeast and Logan Paul, initially recognized through social media, are now leveraging their influence to pioneer successful brand ventures. Additionally, we're observing a blending of roles between celebrities, athletes, and influencers. A trend gaining momentum is their quest for equity stakes in brands they champion, signaling an intriguing evolution in the world of brand endorsements.

Parallel to these entertainment shifts, the technological sector, spearheaded by AI, is carving new vistas in sponsorships. AI's promise to revolutionize the sponsorship

sphere through its precision in content targeting and endorsement impact evaluation is monumental. What's more, AI companies themselves are diving into the realms of sports and entertainment sponsorships, heralding exhilarating times ahead for industry aficionados.

Shifting focus to sports, the US major pro sports leagues have had a phenomenal year. A notable spike of 17.5% in team sponsorship revenue was observed, with Major League Baseball at the forefront, achieving a 23% revenue boost largely due to innovative assets such as jersey patches. This leads to the burning question: Will the NFL, with its whopping $19.5 billion total revenue from the previous year, introduce their jersey patches and ride this trend? Additionally, 2023 was a landmark year for women's sports leagues. Women’s leagues attracted more than 1,000 additional brand partners, experiencing a year-over-year surge of 35%. This is coupled with the red-hot Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL) domain that continues to mature. With 550 new brands venturing into collaborations with elite collegiate athletes this year, athletes like Angel Reese and Caitlin Clark are not just sports stars but are also ascending as full-fledged celebrities with robust personal brands.

In light of these incredible strides in sports and entertainment, we're elated to unveil the 2023 Year in Review—Sports & Entertainment Marketing Partnerships report. This comprehensive report, a joint effort between SponsorUnited’s Marketing, Research & Insights, and Analytics departments, encapsulates data on over 82,000 brands, 160,000 sponsorship deals, and 75,000 branded social posts from January 1, 2023, to October 16th, 2023.

With Halloween’s spooky festivities behind us and Thanksgiving a few short weeks away—three weeks from today if you’re wondering—let’s take a look at October’s most searched brands on the SU platform. 

MrBeast's snack brand Feastables took the top spot after making headlines in early October, when the influencer-owned brand signed a multi-year deal to become the Official Jersey Patch Partner of the Charlotte Hornets—an NBA first for a content creator-led brand. The brand logo will appear on all uniforms of the Hornets and the Greensboro Swarm, and both the actual and virtual uniforms of the Hornets Venom GT, the Hornets' esports affiliate.

SIXT Car Rental secured the second spot on the list after inking two NBA deals this month, one with the Chicago Bulls and the other with the Los Angeles Lakers. Pit Boss Grills lands in third after announcing last week that they will become the Official Grill of the Baltimore Ravens. This marks the first NFL Partnership for the Dansons brand.

Fourth place belongs to online travel marketplace Travelpass, which announced a multi-year partnership with the Utah Jazz on October 10, aimed at offering fans access to special travel experiences starting with the 2023–24 season. The new partnership will also launch the Utah Jazz Road Game Plan starting with the 2024–25 season, inviting fans to use travelpass.com and the Utah Jazz mobile app to book and plan trips to the team’s away games, complete with itineraries and deals on hotels and local activities.

Moving down the list, Raising Cane’s scored the 22nd spot last month, following news of the fast-food chain’s mid-October unveiling of a Dallas Cowboys-themed restaurant opened in partnership with Post Malone—a native of the city and lifelong fan of the team. A first-of-its-kind homage to both the superstar and the Cowboys, the restaurant features a custom silver vinyl exterior adorned with silhouettes of Post's on-stage moments, as well as a 32-foot, iconic Dallas Cowboys star at the drive-thru entrance. Inside, the restaurant brims with Dallas Cowboys memorabilia and a vending machine selling exclusive merchandise, as well as a Post Malone fan mailbox, where diners can leave fan mail that’s regularly delivered to the Grammy-nominated recording artist.

Athletes have arguably become the most sought-after influencers in our increasingly digital world, thanks to their unique ability to connect with fans on a personal level—and their endorsement can be a game-changer for brands. In yesterday’s AdWeek webinar our CEO and Founder, Bob Lynch, was join by our partners at Celsius and Pit Boss Grills to dive into partnerships across NIL, professional, and retired athletes.

In case you missed it, you can access the Webinar via Adweek now —> Register

In the meantime, here are some additional insights into the NIL, Pro, and Retired Player space:

NIL athletes have become a red-hot commodity, as more than 915 unique brands have inked deals with them since the NCAA greenlighted these deals in July 2021. The top five most active brands in NIL partnerships—Hooters, Dunkin, Urban Outfitters, adidas, and H&R Block—hold a whopping 81% of these deals. Social media posts, the most common asset, averaged a remarkable 4% engagement rate over the last 12 months—outperforming major pro sports athletes and retired athletes at 2.6% and 0.8%, respectively. Instagram reigns supreme, accounting for 78% of total engagement and hosting the top three posts, including Livvy Dunne's partnership with Vuori Clothing, Bronny James' collaboration with Beats by Dre, and Angel Reese's deal with Mercedes-Benz of Baton Rouge, which racked up over 1M engagements each.

Outside the burgeoning world of NIL athletes, retired players have also found their niche in brand endorsements, with more than 640 brands seeking partnerships with these former standouts. The enduring marketing impact of retired players is evidenced by their impressive reach, generating more than 85M engagements from 2,146 branded social media posts in the last year. 

In the pro athlete realm, more than 6,100 unique brands have inked deals, 76% of which feature social media posts, led by Instagram image posts. Wielding huge influence, these athletes drive 90% of their social media engagement through Instagram, posting two-thirds of their posts on the platform. An impressive 430 brands have partnered with five or more of these sports figures, underscoring their perennial appeal to companies seeking a diverse global audience.

As we gallop into fall and grind back into gear while the leaves begin to turn, let’s take a look at the most searched brands on the platform in September. 

Hair-dye startup Hally Hair—which has made a splash in the NIL space with nine deals with college athletes—took the top spot on our platform last month. Earlier this year, Hally Hair partnered with Baylor University student athletes Aijha Blackwell, Caitlin Bickle, and Jana Van Gytenbeek to launch two new hues, green and yellow, in homage to the school’s colors. The brand recently released its new collection, “Shop My School Shade Stix”–one-day hair color that lets dye-hard fans showcase their school spirit in style.

In third place on our most searched list, Caktus AI is also capitalizing on the NIL boom with 10+ sponsorship or media deals so far. The company's latest coup: its high-profile collaboration with LSU superstar Angel Reese, whose social media following has tripled since winning the national championship—the first for the women’s team last April. The brand also partners with college athletes Matt Bradley and TikTok superstars the Cavinder Twins.

With over 200 sponsorship or media deals, beverage brand Celsius ranks ninth in last month’s power rankings—a nod to its full-throttle sponsorship strategy. In its most recent move, the company renewed its partnership with Colorado Buffaloes cornerback Travis Hunter last month, following a successful 2022 collaboration. Celsius’ huge sponsorship stable also includes college standouts like Oregon Ducks quarterback Bo Nix, top 2023 NFL draft pick Bryce Young, and USC Trojans QB Caleb Williams.

Drive Sponsorship Success with 3 Key Opportunities

Sponsorship strategies evolve to keep pace with shifting consumer behaviors, technological advancements, and the ever-growing competition in the marketplace, so we wanted to share three opportunities that will help shape the sponsorship landscape in 2024 and beyond.

Sponsorship dollars increase for women’s sports

Brands are increasingly recognizing the importance of empowering women and women's sports within the sponsorship space. They are investing in partnerships with female athletes, teams, and events, providing much-needed visibility and resources to women in sports. And this support goes beyond just financial as it includes initiatives aimed at breaking gender stereotypes, promoting inclusivity, and fostering equality in the sports world. 

Currently, 3,450 brands are buying sponsorships in women’s sports, a 20% YoY increase. And while there has been a 130% increase in women’s sponsorship activations, only one-third of major pro sports teams are doing this, so there is plenty of room for other brands to cut through the clutter using this strategy. 

Why is this important for your business? There has been a 67% increase in average social media engagement per post for women’s empowerment causes across men and women’s domestic pro sports. By championing women's sports and athletes, brands not only contribute to positive social change but also tap into a growing market of passionate fans and consumers.

College athletes take the sponsorship world by storm

College athletes are increasingly making waves in the sponsorship world, thanks to recent changes in NCAA regulations allowing individuals to profit from their name, image, and likeness (NIL). This transformation has unleashed a new era of opportunities for student-athletes to secure sponsorships and endorsement deals while still in college. 

Knowing social media appeals greatly to the high school- and college-aged cohorts, a whopping 76% of NIL deals include a social media component. College and high school athletes have accumulated over 28M in total branded engagement over the last 12 months, and these athletes average 3.95% follower engagement rate—a rate that is 69% higher than the average follower engagement rate across major pro athletes. 

As these NIL athletes amass large social media followings and showcase their talents on national platforms, they become attractive partners for brands looking to tap into the passionate college sports fanbase, helping to reshape the sponsorship landscape.

YouTube should be integrated into sponsorship activations

YouTube is the second most widely used social media platform in the world; however, less than 50% of major pro sports teams have leveraged it. Teams that have integrated the platform into their marketing partnerships have created YouTube videos, series, and channels. The NFL is the major pro sports league utilizing YouTube the most, with 20 teams integrating at least one YouTube sponsorship activation. 

And just 25 brand categories currently include YouTube integration into their marketing partnerships, so there is so much opportunity. Brands should take advantage of this uncluttered space and unlock creative sponsorship activations with the teams or athletes they sponsor through YouTube integration.

Conclusion

Sponsorship is a powerful marketing tool that can help brands reach a large audience, build brand awareness, obtain goodwill, drive sales, and connect with consumers on a deeper level. Involvement in women’s sports, partnerships with NIL athletes, and YouTube integration are just three sponsorship strategies we see as we move toward 2024. Brands that are able to leverage these opportunities will be well-positioned to succeed in the years to come.

Unless otherwise cited, all numbers are proprietary first-party data from the SponsorUnited platform.

Born between 1997 and 2012, Gen Z is the first generation to grow up with the internet and social media, and members of this demographic group value authenticity above all else. They can quickly detect when something feels forced or inauthentic, so sponsorship activations that feel genuine and align with Gen Z values are more likely to resonate. 

When creating a sponsorship deal targeted at Gen Z, consider the following:

Social Media Integration

Gen Z lives and breathes on social media. Brands tap into this by creating content tailored to each platform's unique dynamics: the snappy videos on TikTok, the visually driven world of Instagram, or the fast-paced conversations on Twitter. 

TikTok and its short-form videos are especially popular amongst members of Gen Z: The volume of sponsorship deals on TikTok has increased four times since 2021, and the volume of branded engagement generated by TikTok has increased by over six million in the same time frame. 

YouTube & Streaming

Gen Z has a strong and unique relationship with YouTube and has made the platform a cornerstone of its media consumption habits. YouTube's diverse content ecosystem aligns perfectly with Gen Z's desire for authenticity and relatability, allowing the cohort to engage with creators who mirror their interests and values. 

YouTube growth within the Gen Z demographic has pushed sports leagues to enhance their YouTube content. As a matter of fact, within the past 12 months, 40% of Major Pro Sports properties have included a YouTube sponsorship element. Furthermore, streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, and Spotify have seamlessly integrated into Gen Z's daily lives, offering a treasure trove of content at their fingertips. With Gen Z at the forefront, these platforms are redefining how we access, consume, and interact with media.

Augmented Reality (AR) & Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Tech-savvy Gen Z appreciates immersive experiences, so brands are utilizing AR to create brand experiences that stand out. Snapchat, for instance, combines social media and technology to enrich the music festival experience, using AR to reach new audiences, cultivate loyalty, and capture attention in a cluttered venue. Brand and rights holder apps can also facilitate advance technology integration to appeal to Gen Z. For instance, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Invisalign's in-app AR feature allowed fans to use AR technology (branded with Invisalign) for applying face filters.

In addition, our just-released Technology Marketing Partnerships Report 2023 shows that AI & Machine Learning brands have reached social engagement of 2.5 million with sponsored posts, and 60% of that engagement comes from TikTok alone. 

Cause-Related Initiatives

Gen Z cares deeply about social and environmental causes, and the number of brands supporting cause-related sponsorship activations have seen a growth of 20% in the past two years, so brands might want to implement sponsorship activations around partnerships with charitable organizations. These are the top five values Gen Z wants brands to support:

  • Mental health
  • The environment, climate change, and sustainability
  • Racial and gender equality
  • Ethical labor practices
  • LGBTQ+ rights

Influencer Collaborations

Influencers are the celebrities of Gen Z, and through sponsorship activations on social media, these influencers can introduce products in ways that feel less like advertisements and more like recommendations from a trusted friend, resonating with the demographic and driving sales. 

Fashion Nova, SHEIN, and Walmart lead all brands in volume of sponsorship or digital deals with social media influencers, with total branded social engagement of 29.5M, 18.4M, and 4.6M respectively. And while the volume of brands buying sponsorship or media activations with social media influencers has only increased 5% since 2021, it’s an important strategy to engage Gen Z for two reasons: about half of Gen Z shoppers think social networks are better than online searches for finding new products, and 80% of Gen Z has purchased a product they saw on social media.

Brand Showcase: Nike

Per Insider Monkey, Gen Z’s favorite brand is Nike, which has cultivated a strong and enduring relationship with Gen Z. Nike's ability to connect with Gen Z can be attributed to its commitment to authenticity and innovation; plus, the brand consistently champions social causes that matter to Gen Z, such as diversity and inclusivity, gender equality, and environmental sustainability. 

In addition, Nike has leveraged digital platforms and social media effectively to engage with Gen Z and has harnessed the power of influencers (particularly athletes) who resonate with this generation. Nike's commitment to staying authentic, relevant, and socially conscious has enabled it to maintain a strong and influential connection with Gen Z, making it a brand of choice for this generation.

Nike sponsorship stats relevant to Gen Z:

  • Social media is included in 54% of Nike sponsorship deals.
  • 46% of Nike’s sponsorship deals include a digital media component.
  • Among Athletic and Footwear brands, Nike has the second highest volume of posts and the highest volume of total branded engagement on Tiktok.
  • Nike currently has 59 influencer endorsement deals, and the brand's deals with social media influencers has amassed over 2.3M in branded engagement on social media in the past 12 months.
  • Community and Causes with which Nike includes in sponsorship deals include the Youth Initiative Cause, Women’s Empowerment Cause, Environmental Cause, Racial Equality Cause, and more. Every single one of these causes is near and dear to the hearts of Gen Z members.  

Conclusion

Including Gen Z-relevant activations in your sponsorship deals is not about following a one-size-fits-all formula. Instead, it's about adapting to the preferences, values, and behaviors of the cohort. Successful brands are those that can authentically connect with Gen Z. By embracing authenticity, purpose-driven efforts, and innovative digital experiences, brands can forge meaningful relationships with this influential demographic, paving the way for long-term success in the evolving marketing landscape.

Unless otherwise cited, all numbers are proprietary first-party data from the SponsorUnited platform.

Iconic landmarks around the globe can help turn fleeting moments in time into enduring viral sensations viewed by millions worldwide, thanks to the unparalleled reach of social media. A prime example: the Sphere, the hotly anticipated revolutionary immersive venue created by Madison Square Garden Entertainment, that’s set to take Las Vegas by storm starting September 29, when U2 takes the stage for the band’s first of 25 concerts there.

The Sphere's debut as an advertising juggernaut began with a complimentary promotion of the NBA Summer League in July, when its massive round shell, called the “Exosphere,” was transformed into a basketball via its 580K square feet of programmable illumination–so big and bright it can be seen from space. Now, with the YouTube NFL Sunday Ticket deal entering its first year, the two joined forces on the Sphere’s first paid ad, animating the high-tech facade as the helmets of all 32 NFL teams to herald the start of the 2023 season. Watch this space for more show stopping Sphere activations, as it quickly becomes one of the advertising world's most prestigious digital billboards.

On the other side of the world, last month WhatsApp used the iconic Gateway of India in Mumbai as the canvas for a 3D anamorphic display spotlighting the messaging app’s commitment to user privacy and multiple layers of protection. The splashy Gateway of India installations are part of WhatsApp’s global privacy campaign announced in June, which has appeared on social, digital, and broadcast channels, and in print and on billboards across India, and also ran in London in 2022. 

As the largest and fastest-growing coffee shop chain in the UK, Costa Coffee unveiled a creative activation last January in front of Scotland’s Edinburgh Castle–which drew more than 1.3M visitors in 2022–incorporating the picturesque backdrop into the brand’s savvy marketing. Featuring the slogan “Here to get your heart racing,” the heart-shaped inflatable display encouraged visitors to snap photos amidst the stunning historical surroundings, enhancing the overall experience for coffee enthusiasts and tourists alike.

South of the border, Tecate's striking digital billboard on Mexico City’s World Trade Center, the third-tallest building in Mexico’s sprawling capital, illuminated the night sky and integrated dynamically into the city's iconic skyline last year, while no doubt turning the heads of legions of beer drinkers.

Check out a few other unique brand activations tied to landmarks that we track on our platform—>

As we somehow find ourselves charging full-force into the last fleeting weeks of summer, here are the most searched brands by sponsorship executives on the platform during the month of August. 

Azuna took the top spot on this month’s list. In July, the Buffalo-based, all-natural odor eliminator manufacturer teamed up with the Buffalo Bills to launch “Smell of Victory,” an odor eliminator & air freshener gel with a fresh new scent specially formulated to celebrate the brand’s new partnership with its hometown team.

Energy drink maker Celsius lands in seventh place after recently joining forces with college sports marketing company, Learfield, to add four schools—the US Air Force Academy, University of Colorado Boulder, University of Oregon, and University of Washington—to its endorsement roster. The brand also expanded its existing relationship with Texas A&M University. These new deals are just the latest in a long list of partnerships the brand has inked this year with boldface names including Major League Soccer, Scuderia Ferrari, and the Dallas Mavericks, among others.

Fulham Football Club and WebBeds, 11th on the list, have unveiled a collaborative partnership. In a multi-year agreement commencing with the upcoming 2023-24 season, WebBeds will serve as the Club's Official Sleeve Partner. The WebBeds logo made its debut on the sleeves of Fulham FC's Men's, Women's, and Academy teams during the pre-season friendly against TSG 1899 Hoffenheim at Craven Cottage on August 5th.

Heydude, a casual footwear brand purchased by Crocs for $2.5B in 2021, ranks 13th  on the list after announcing a partnership earlier this month with Dude Perfect, a sports-themed content group with nearly 60M YouTube subscribers. The long-term partnership will see Dude Perfect highlight Heydude products in its YouTube content, and create bespoke content for the brand. Heydude—which Crocs expects will become a $1B brand by 2024—is clearly on a roll, with already more than 20 endorsement deals and counting. 

This summer has been a busy one for SponsorUnited, as we unveiled not only our newly reimagined logo and redesigned website, but also an array of unique marketing partnership reports. 

In keeping with our commitment to providing unparalleled insights into the ever-evolving sponsorship universe, we released a series of five comprehensive reports analyzing key sporting leagues and events. Besides our NBA and NHL reports—released just before the respective league playoffs—we debuted two inaugural reports highlighting the dynamic landscape of the LPGA and the Women's World Cup, then headed across the pond for our second European Football report. This multifaceted approach underscores SponsorUnited's goal of empowering our partners with the knowledge necessary to make smarter decisions, and forge successful partnerships in the increasingly complex sports marketing arena.

Meanwhile, we’re also growing our team of expert advisors with the appointment of Christopher “Chip” Paucek to our Board of Directors. As the cofounder and CEO of 2U, Paucek has taken the company from a startup to a global leader in online education over the last 15 years, connecting more than 78M people with relevant learning opportunities. Paucek's vast experience as a visionary entrepreneur and CEO will help catalyze SponsorUnited's growth and strategic direction. 

“I am thrilled to join the board of SponsorUnited, a company that has rapidly become the go-to resource for sports and entertainment intelligence,” Paucek said. “Under Bob Lynch's visionary leadership, SponsorUnited has been at the forefront of transforming the marketing partnership landscape. I look forward to contributing my experience and insight to help further drive their mission of empowering brands and rights holders with the tools they need to make game-changing decisions." 

Paucek has been recognized for his dedication to creating a better future for all through the power of high-quality online education. His accolades include the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award and the Goldman Sachs 100 Most Intriguing Entrepreneurs Award.

SponsorUnited is pleased to announce the appointment of Christopher “Chip” Paucek to its Board of Directors. Paucek's vast experience as a visionary entrepreneur and CEO will catalyze SponsorUnited's growth and strategic direction.

“I’ve known Chip since the early days of 2U and I was deeply inspired by his mission,” said Bob Lynch, Founder and CEO of SponsorUnited. “His drive to leverage technology for making top-notch education accessible to all resonated with me, because at SponsorUnited, we’re driven by a parallel ethos. We’re committed to democratizing access to invaluable sponsorship data for everyone in sports and entertainment through our cutting-edge SaaS technologies.”

In the last 15 years, Paucek has taken 2U from startup to a global leader in online education, connecting more than 78 million people with affordable and career-relevant learning opportunities. Through its global online learning platform edX, 2U offers free courses to full degrees in partnership with 250 of the world’s most respected universities, institutions, and industry experts. 

Paucek has been recognized for his dedication to creating a better future for all through the power of high-quality online education. Accolades include the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award and the Goldman Sachs 100 Most Intriguing Entrepreneurs Award.

“I am thrilled to join the board of SponsorUnited, a company that has rapidly become the go-to resource for sports and entertainment intelligence. Under Bob Lynch's visionary leadership, SponsorUnited has been at the forefront of transforming the marketing partnership landscape. I look forward to contributing my experience and insight to help further drive their mission of empowering brands and rights holders with the tools they need to make game-changing decisions."

“Chip’s ability to devise pioneering business strategies, coupled with his sharp strategic intellect and business savvy, will be an invaluable asset to us.” Lynch continued. “His strong ability to foster collaboration and unity, as clearly seen in the remarkable team he’s nurtured at 2U, excites us immensely.”

Paucek’s entrepreneurial journey spans 30 years, beginning with the co-founding of Cerebellum Corporation in 1993. His leadership as Co-CEO propelled Cerebellum's success until 2003. Paucek’s most recent role prior to co-founding 2U was serving as the CEO of Smarterville Inc.–the company behind Hooked on Phonics–from 2007-2008. A thought leader and accomplished speaker on entrepreneurship, global education, and technology trends, Paucek's insights have resonated throughout the business world.

We’re thrilled to share that SponsorUnited has again been named to the Inc. 5000 list of the fastest-growing private companies in America, for the second consecutive year!  

The prestigious ranking offers a data-driven snapshot of the most successful companies within independent businesses, the economy's most dynamic segment. Facebook, Chobani, Under Armour, Microsoft, and Patagonia are just a handful of the household names that first made headlines as Inc. 5000 honorees.

“Our journey to the top ranks of the Inc. 5000 list for the second year in a row is a testament to the collective dedication, resilience, and unwavering innovative spirit of the SponsorUnited team,” said Bob Lynch, our Founder and CEO. “It reaffirms that with an ambitious mission, and a focus on creating value, privately held companies hold tremendous potential in shaping industries and driving innovation.”

The Inc. 5000 class of 2023 have managed to rapidly grow revenue in the face of ongoing inflation, rising costs of capital, and hiring challenges. Among this year’s top 500 companies, the average median three-year revenue growth rate ticked up to an astonishing 2,238%. This year’s list of standouts have together added nearly 1.2M jobs to the economy over the past three years.

“Running a business has only gotten harder since the end of the pandemic,” says Inc. editor-in-chief Scott Omelianuk. “To make the Inc. 5000—with the fast growth that requires—is truly an accomplishment. Inc. is thrilled to honor the companies that are building our future.”

“As we continue to evolve and expand, we remain committed to driving meaningful connections and transformative insights that empower brands and rights holders globally,” continued Lynch. “We are proud of this achievement and excited to continue redefining possibilities and providing excellence in the realm of sports and entertainment intelligence.”

As we head into the fleeting days of summer—with September somehow right around the corner—let’s take a look at the list of the most searched brands on our platform from July. 

Airshare, one of the fastest-growing private aviation companies in the country, secured the number one spot last month. The Kansas-based company has been on a roll, after extending its partnership with Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes. Besides continuing to serve as Airshare's spokesperson, the two-time Super Bowl Champion and MVP appeared in an ad for the eighth edition of Capital One's "The Match” in June, for which the private jet company served as official aviation partner. Airshare flew Mahomes, Travis Kelce, Stephen Curry, and Klay Thompson to and from Las Vegas for the celebrated golf event, during which the NFL stars faced off to raise money for charity. 

In second place is Expensify, a software company that develops expenses management systems for personal and business use. TIDL Sport—a pain relief spray brand owned by former UFC Champion Conor McGregor, who is also its main ambassador—takes the third spot. Founded in 2021, TIDL Sport has a strong presence in the American media, including broadcast TV deals with NHL Network, NBA TV, and ESPN.

Fracht Group, an international freight forwarder based in Basel, Switzerland, enters the list at number 10, despite having just one sponsorship deal. How, might you ask? Timing, as they say, is everything: just five days before Inter Miami CF officially announced it had signed Lionel Messi in a stunning coup, the team named Fracht Group as its Official and Exclusive Right Jersey Sleeve Partner in a multi-year deal. The countless photos of Lionel Messi with the Inter Miami jersey splashed all over news outlets and social media platforms worldwide within days of the Fracht deal gave the logistics company the kind of publicity money can’t buy. 

At SponsorUnited, we believe in innovation and progress for our partners, so we’re thrilled to unveil our new logo and launch our redesigned website. We started in sports, then expanded to entertainment, media, and talent, and now it’s time to welcome this new era of SponsorUnited.

Our new logo is more than just a visual change: it represents our commitment to continued innovation and growth.

We wanted our new logo to build on the foundation we started in 2018. In this evolution, the melding together of the S and the U is emblematic of partnerships coming together. We also built on our original circle to represent the strength of our platform’s data and created a diagonal line to showcase forward momentum.

Alongside our updated logo, we’re excited to introduce our reimagined website that boasts a modern, bold, and user-friendly interface. Our dedicated team has worked tirelessly to enhance your online experience with us.

Key features you will find on our new website:

  • Engaging content: Discover valuable resources, inspiring stories, and the latest data and insights in a captivating format.
  • Streamlined navigation: Finding information and browsing our offerings has never been easier.
  • Enhanced responsiveness: Our website adapts seamlessly to all devices, ensuring a consistent experience for all users.

With these fresh updates to the SponsorUnited brand, we are embarking on an exciting new chapter. We encourage you to explore our new website and join us in celebrating this milestone. Your feedback is invaluable to us, so please do not hesitate to share your thoughts and impressions at insights@sponsorunited.com.

Thank you for your partnership and support over the past five years—we could not do this without you—and stay tuned for more groundbreaking innovations and insights in the future. This is just the beginning!

Barbie, America’s most iconic doll, made her big-screen debut last weekend in a blockbuster film that has captured the hearts of audiences worldwide—and set the scene for a remarkable array of unique partnerships and immersive activations. If you have yet to find yourself lost in an activation or bedecked in pink, fear not–here’s our rundown of some of the best.

The movie’s reach extended far beyond the silver screen, enlivening the feminist icon in larger—than—life ways. In Dubai, a stories-high, 3-D projection dazzled passersby, as Margot Robbie's character, dressed in a sleek black-and-white dress, stepped out of a colossal Barbie box beside the Burj Khalifa—the world’s tallest skyscraper at more than 2,700 feet—and onto the city’s bustling streets, in arguably one the most stunning activations in recent memory.

Stateside, Barbie and Xbox teamed up to bring the ultimate Barbie dreamhouse experience to life for fans of the New York Liberty. During the team’s annual Camp Day on July 19th, Brooklyn’s Barclays Center was transformed into an immersive Barbie wonderland, complete with pink Barbie branding and signage throughout. By inserting Barbie into the sports arena—quite literally—the unique activation created indelible memories for young fans.

On the food front, Barbie and Pinkberry joined forces to whip up the "Barbie Land Berry Pink" frozen yogurt flavor. A blend of strawberry and dragon fruit yogurts in Barbie’s trademark pink shade—adorned with silver star-shaped “dream sprinkles”—the tasty treat serves as an edible reminder of the movie's sweetness, extending its magic into the gastronomic realm. Cold Stone Creamery also rolled out Pink Cotton Candy, a new Barbie-inspired treat available nationwide through August 8.

Meanwhile, across the Atlantic, Dundrum Town Centre—a shopping center in Dublin–invited visitors into an elevator wrapped in a vibrant, Barbie box-themed design, adding a touch of her iconic style to the shopping experience.

Numerous other brands also embraced Barbie mania, inking licensing deals to feature the blonde bombshell and her friends in their products. Barbie-themed Snapchat filters and Burger King’s Barbie—branded meal box brought the movie's flair to everyday life, while Crocs unveiled a chic pink edition featuring detachable Barbie characters. Such varied collaborations spread the love for Barbie across a multitude of industries, inspiring fans everywhere to “think pink.”

Burger King

Crocs

Bloomingdale's

With July 4th festivities in the rearview mirror and summer officially in full swing, let’s take a look at the brands that sponsorship executives zeroed in on in June.

Leading the pack is Launch Hydrate, an all-natural sports drink designed to fuel athletes of all levels with its electrolyte—and vitamin-infused formula. On May 25, the brand inked its only current sponsorship deal with Perfect Game, a youth baseball and softball platform and the world’s largest baseball scouting organization, producing more than 8,600 events and 300,000 games and showcases annually across the country. The partnership will offer participants access to exclusive events, promotions, and products, and Launch Hydrate will be available for purchase at Perfect Game events.

Renowned cold brew coffee brand, SToK, secured second place on our list. In late May, SToK announced it will become the first-ever sponsor of the Racecourse Ground beginning July 1, the world’s oldest international football stadium and home to Wrexham AFC, the English football team co-owned by Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney.

Turo–the world’s largest car-sharing marketplace, with operations in the US, UK, Canada, France, and Australia–takes the third spot. On June 1, the San Francisco-based company made headlines by announcing it was joining forces with Yoshi, the leading tech-enabled, last-mile delivery platform for mobile car care, to offer virtual vehicle inspections for Turo hosts across America.

The platform currently counts deals with Rita Ora and Vanessa Hudgens among its 10 partnerships. Turo’s Instagram post with Hudgens, featuring the actress behind the wheel of a Ferrari she booked with the brand, engaged 235K followers–its top performer on social media in the last year.

Summerfest—held annually in Milwaukee, Wisconsin—has earned the “World’s Largest Music Festival” title from the Guinness Book of World Records. And for good reason: the massive festival, which spans three consecutive weekends from June 22-July 8, features over 1,000 acts on 12 stages, as well as food, drinks, shopping, and activities for all ages. As the mega-event kicks off today, let’s take a look at the city’s current sponsorship market.

Given Milwaukee’s nickname as the “Brew City” thanks to its rich beer history, it’s no surprise that Miller Lite—a marquee tipple of the Miller Brewing Company, which has operated there since 1855—tops the list of brands with the most sponsorships in the market, at 11 deals. The Milwaukee-based Gruber Law Offices LLC ties with Pepsi for second place with nine partnerships, while American Family Insurance (Summerfest’s presenting sponsor), Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Company, WE Energies, and Gatorade share the #3 spot with seven deals each.

MLB’s Milwaukee Brewers reign supreme among Milwaukee rights holders with 96 deals, U.S. Cellular and Toyota among them. The American Hockey League’s Milwaukee Admirals trails closely behind with 93 sponsorships, while 2021 NBA Champions, the Milwaukee Bucks, takes the 3rd spot with 78 deals, including BMO Harris Bank and Michelob Ultra. Open opportunities abound for brands to partner with both the Bucks and the Brewers: astonishingly, neither team has a current deal in the high-profile Beer (Import & Domestic), Car Manufacturers (Luxury), and Airline categories.  

On the social media front, the Milwaukee market boasts 4.7M in total engagement, of which 3.4M—a whopping 72%—belongs to the Milwaukee Bucks. Predictably, the Bucks also dominate social media among the city’s properties, clocking in with 11.6M followers. The 2021 NBA Champions’ Instagram post last October 22 with Potawatomi Hotel & Casino, highlighting Giannis Antetokounmpo as Player of the Game, generated 65K impressions, making it Milwaukee’s most engaging social post of the last 12 months.


The 123rd US Open tees off today at the Los Angeles Country Club, where the world’s best golfers will hit the links in pursuit of the $17.5M purse–the largest of all four major championships. In honor of the storied annual tournament, let’s take a look at the dynamic sponsorship market in this glittering, high-octane West Coast city.

Pepsi and Toyota lead the list of brands with the most sponsorship deals in the City of Angels with over 25 each, followed by Michelob Ultra with more than 20 sponsorships. Adidas, Bud Light, Coca-Cola, Nike, UCLA Health, Verizon, and Yaamava Resort & Casino at San Manuel round out the top 10.

The USC Trojans take the top spot on the properties roster with more than 100 sponsorship deals, just ahead of the LA Angels and Natural Products Expo West, both with north of 90 sponsorships. Comprising the rest of the top 10 are the LA Chargers, Anaheim Ducks, LA Rams, LA Kings, LA FC, Cal State Fullerton Titans, and LA Dodgers, in that order.

With 56.9M total followers, the LA Lakers, arguably the city’s premier pro sports franchise, dominate social media among properties in the market, having generated 13.8M in branded engagement across all platforms this year. A co-branded Instagram post by Verizon and Coachella on April 15th scored the highest engagement on social media so far in 2023, at 1.3M.

As June arrives and we are quickly approaching summer, let’s delve into the top brands that captured the attention of sponsorship executives on our platform during May.

Super.com, the most searched brand on our platform in May, is a technology company based in San Francisco and operates to empower users to optimize their spending, savings, and credit-building endeavors. Notably, the company garnered significant attention during this year’s Super Bowl, where it aired a captivating advertisement amid the intense matchup between the Kansas City Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles, capturing the gaze of millions. The impact of their only deal was substantial for Super. In the following month after the Super Bowl in April, the company successfully secured $85 million in Series C funding, further solidifying its growth trajectory.

In May, Olipop emerged as the second most searched brand, generating significant interest and curiosity among sponsorship enthusiasts. With a remarkable growth trajectory, the company has expanded its sponsorship portfolio by a staggering 300% since 2021. Notably, 67% of Olipop’s sponsorships stem from collaborations with athletes and influencers who endorse their fizzy tonic beverage through various social media platforms. This strategic approach to leveraging social media as a promotional avenue has proven highly effective for Olipop, capturing the attention of a wide audience.

Glow Beverages has emerged as the third most sought-after brand on our platform in May, captivating the interest of users and sponsorship enthusiasts. A significant turning point for the company occurred in October 2022 when Kylie Jenner, renowned celebrity and entrepreneur, became a stakeholder in the brand. Since then, Kylie has actively collaborated with Glow Beverages, posting about the product 15 times on her social media channels. This partnership has resonated strongly with her massive following, resulting in a remarkable total engagement of 16.5 million. Currently, Glow Beverages boasts two key partnerships, with stakeholders Dak Prescott and Kylie Jenner, representing a strategic approach to aligning the brand with influential figures in the industry. Such collaborations have undoubtedly contributed to the brand’s growing popularity and market presence.

View the rest of the top 30 below:

The major pro sports landscape in the U.S. is constantly evolving to adapt to the ever-changing demands of fans, athletes, and stakeholders. Most recently, the Oakland Athletics announced plans to head to Las Vegas, home of the Golden Knights NHL team since 2017; other young expansion teams include the Seattle Kraken (NHL), Charlotte FC (MLS), and St. Louis SC (MLS).

Known for its vibrant sports culture and enthusiastic fanbase, Orlando has set its sights on luring an MLB franchise by enticing team owners with its growing population, thriving tourism industry, and state-of-the-art sports facilities. Orlando’s prime location in the heart of Florida makes it easily accessible to fans from across the state and beyond, further enhancing its appeal.

Which brands might jump on the chance to partner with a new MLB team in the sunny city? Here’s our list:

Most Active Brands in Orlando:

  1. AdventHealth
  2. Orlando Utilities Commission
  3. Pepsi
  4. Orlando Health
  5. Florida Blue
  6. Bud Light
  7. Coca-Cola
  8. GEICO
  9. Publix
  10. Budweiser

Meanwhile, Connecticut hopes to woo an NHL team to the Constitution State, capitalizing on the Arizona Coyotes’ uncertain future. With the team facing relocation, Connecticut is promoting its rich hockey tradition, passionate fanbase, and a market hungry for professional hockey to entice the franchise. The state’s strategic East Coast location draws on a large population base, a strong foundation for building a dedicated fan following. With no current major pro sports team in Connecticut, local brands, including those on our list below, would likely jump on the opportunity to grow their national profile with an NHL team.

Most Active Brands in Hartford & New Haven, CT:

  1. Hartford Healthcare
  2. Dunkin’
  3. Travelers
  4. M&T Bank
  5. Nike
  6. Pepsi
  7. Maritime Chevrolet
  8. Liberty Bank
  9. Avelo Airlines
  10. AARP Connecticut

The Seattle Kraken’s inaugural 2021 season serves as a prime example that a team entering a new market could replicate. The franchise inked an impressive 71 sponsorships in its NHL debut,18 of which aimed to engage the local Seattle community–signaling the team’s commitment to cultivating its hometown fan base. The other 53 deals targeted a broader national audience, underscoring the Kraken’s ambition to establish a formidable presence on a countrywide scale.

Thirty-three sponsors were companies headquartered in the Seattle market, including 14 national brands–most notably Amazon, which inked a venue naming rights deal for the team’s home, christening it the Climate Pledge Arena in a nod to the urgent need for climate action.The high-profile partnership cemented the Kraken’s status as a force to be reckoned with in the NHL.

In honor of Cinco de Mayo–the annual festive celebration of Mexican culture–let’s take a quick look at tequila, arguably Meixco’s favorite export.

More than 110 active brands bought sponsorships or media in the Tequila subcategory over the last 12 months, with each brand averaging 5 sponsorship deals.

Patrón was the most active brand with more than 45 sponsorships, among them properties like F1 driver Sergio ‘Checo’ Perez, the Miami Heat, Buffalo Bills, and Florida Panthers. Hornitos claims the 2nd spot with nearly 40 deals, while Don Julio ranks 3rd with more than 35. Jose Cuervo, Casamigos, Maestro Dobel, Mamitas, 1800 Tequila, el Jimador, and Herradura round out the top 10.

Digital content and social media are tied atop the list of most frequently bought sponsorship assets by Tequila brands, followed by venue products and services, interior signage and concourse signage, in that order.

The Tequila subcategory saw an incredible 81M in total engagement in the last year with more than 2K unique posts, led by a co-branded Instagram post by Kendall Jenner and 818 Tequila, which engaged a whopping 7.3M users. The partnership’s social campaign also scored the highest engagement among tequila brands, with 29.9M across just 9 posts. Meanwhile, a social campaign between Teremana Tequila and Dwayne (the Rock) Johnson ranked second, with 36 posts that engaged 24.1M.

With spring in full swing and summer on the horizon, let’s take a look at the brands that were most searched by sponsorship executives on our platform in April.

Frontdoor, a newly launched, one-stop app for home repair and maintenance, took the top spot last month. As presenting sponsor for MLB Opening Week, the brand launched a national advertising campaign across all U.S.-based regional sports networks (RSN) in early April, featuring Atlanta Braves outfielder Ronald Acuña Jr. using the app to address his home repair dilemmas.

In the 2nd spot is RTIC Coolers, a rotomolded cooler brand that became “The Official Cooler” and “The Official Drinkware of NASCAR” in a multiyear deal announced on April 6, when the company also debuted officially licensed NASCAR coolers and drinkware on its website. The Houston, TX-based brand boasts more than 20 endorsement deals–7 of which are within U.S. motorsports–and also serves as the Official Drinkware and Cooler Provider of Major League Rugby.

Caktus, an AI-powered education platform, lands at #5 on the list, after inking an endorsement deal in mid-April with LSU basketball superstar Angel Reese, who has more NIL deals (19) than any other college basketball player. The company is banking big on the NIL space, having previously partnered with LSU gymnast Livvy Dunne, former Miami Hurricanes basketball standouts the Cavinder Twins (who joined forces with Jake Paul’s BETR Gambling last month), and San Diego State‘s basketball player Matt Bradley.

Kaseya takes 6th place, having made headlines with the April 4 announcement that the software company had struck a $117 million, 17-year naming rights deal with the Miami Heat to rename the team’s arena the Kaseya Center. The deal–which follows FTX’s inglorious exit from the stadium in January, thanks to the crypto meltdown–marks the first time a Miami-based company has partnered with the venue for naming rights, and the fourth name for the arena since its 1998 opening. Kaseya also became the team’s Official IT Solutions Partner as part of the agreement.

Enterprise software brand Sprinklr, which signed a three-year extension with the Alpine F1 Team on April 11, earned the #10 spot. The company, which first partnered with the French team in March ‘22, will remain an official partner and customer experience management platform provider of Alpine F1. The team will leverage all four Sprinklr product suites as part of its strategy to maximize engagement with its loyal fanbase, and the brand will provide AI-powered listening and fan engagement on more than 30 digital and social channels.

Check out the rest of April’s list in the following graphic:

While CBD products become increasingly popular around the world, the CBD category is also steadily on the rise: the number of CBD brands actively buying sponsorship/media has increased 145% since 2020, with more than 250 brands activating over the last 12 months.

Even U.S. pro sports have begun to embrace the fledgling category, thanks to MLB’s groundbreaking decision in June 2022 allowing teams to sign CBD brands to sponsorship deals. That milestone was followed by the historic announcement in October 2022 that CBD brand Charlotte’s Web had inked a strategic, exclusive multi-year partnership with the league. And just earlier this month on April 7th, the Chicago Cubs announced a deal with MYND DRINKS that made the hemp-based beverage brand its Official CBD Partner–and the first CBD partner of an MLB club.

CBDMD, 3Chi, and Charlotte’s Web tie for 1st atop the category by number of sponsorships,  with fourfive and Beam Organics rounding out the top five. 34% of all active brands in this category leverage media properties or endorsers and influencers via social media partnerships. 3Chi’s deal with Barstool Sports–which is promoted on Barstool’s KFC Radio, Spittin Chiclets, and Chicks in the Office podcasts–illustrates brand sponsors’ potential for cross-promotion within media companies: the podcasts promote the partnership, as do the host podcasters, influencers themselves who repost co-branded stories to their personal accounts–thus multiplying 3Chi’s visibility across multiple channels and growing its reach well beyond the parameters of the original dea making these assets even more desirable when inking a deal.

Social posts are the most leveraged asset outside of property entitlements within this category, with 40% of deals including a social post. Four of the top five social posts by total engagement in the last 12 months were by athletes or influencers, with Beam Organics and Love Hemp each owning two of the five top posts. The top performer–a co-branded UFC and Love Hemp Instagram post partnership showcasing the matchups for a UFC card in London–garnered nearly 130K engagements.

As the CBD category continues to evolve, will the NFL, NHL, NBA, and MLS follow MLB’s lead and also greenlight CBD sponsors? And will Charlotte’s Web and MYND DRINKS look to dominate the category within America’s favorite pastime, or will more brands scramble to grab a piece of the action by partnering with other teams? Only time will tell.

The U.S. government’s move to potentially ban TikTok in the U.S. begs the question: how would the stateside shutdown of the red-hot app affect the Web/App (Visual, Social & Collaboration) category?

There are more than 340 brands buying sponsorships / media in the category, which translates to 1 sponsorship deal per property and more than 2 deals per brand across all property types. Not surprisingly, these brands tend to embrace social media: 54% of all deals include a social post, while 22% include digital content. Just 3% of partnerships include TV-visible venue signage.

TikTok leads the list as the category’s most active brand, with over 65 sponsorship deals with properties including the New York Yankees, the Aston Martin F1 Team, and UFC. The entertainment app engaged 10.7M users across 140 total social posts in the last 12 months. Currently, 19 of TikTok’s sponsorship/media deals are in the U.S. Only time will tell how rumors of a looming ban will impact these deals.

Meta and Active Network tie for 2nd place with 20 sponsorships each, trailed by Bumble and Tinder in 3rd with 18 deals respectively. Facebook, Zoom, Discord, OnlyFans, and Webex by Cisco round out the top 10 most active brands.

Social posts lead the list of the category’s most frequently bought assets. Messenger, a Facebook sub-brand, partnered with Cardi B on three Instagram posts last year, scoring the most engagement of any brand in the category with 3.9M. Property entitlements, digital content, broadcast ads, and event content & activations are other assets popular within the Web/App category.

For brands March is synonymous with March Madness, an action-packed month filled with activations from tournament sponsors, teams, and athletes. Coca-Cola, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Wendy’s, and AT&T rank among the most active brands during this perennial celebration of college basketball, as well as the 30 most searched brands on our platform last month.

Cloud security startup Wiz ranked #1 on last month’s list. On March 7th, the fast-growing company announced an exclusive strategic partnership with cybersecurity platform SentinelOne, with the goal of offering customers a top-tier cloud security solution to detect, prevent, and respond to cloud security threats. A week before, Wiz–now the top-valued, venture-backed cybersecurity vendor with a valuation of $10 billion–announced its first formal partner program, designed to help further accelerate the company’s sales by expanding its already robust value-added reseller (VAR) channels.

EasyPost took the #4 spot, on the heels of becoming the Official Shipping Solutions Partner of LIV Golf in late February. The agreement marks the first global partnership for the groundbreaking LIV Golf League, which features many of the world’s best golfers competing in 14 events in seven different countries throughout the year.

Soft drink giant Coca-Cola snagged 6th place after kicking off the month in high gear on March 5th, when Coca-Cola Zero Sugar partnered with 2023 Daytona 500 champion Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and JTG Daugherty Racing as co-primary sponsor on the No. 47 Camaro ZL1 for the NASCAR Cup event at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The soda icon also launched an ambitious new global campaign, “Masterpiece,” last month, which follows the path of an ice-cold Coke as it journeys from canvas to canvas–spanning the works of masters like Andy Warhol and Vincent Van Gogh, as well as emerging contemporary talents–to highlight the importance of bringing inspiration to everyday moments. Meanwhile, BodyArmor, the brand’s energy drink subsidiary, debuted its biggest campaign to date on March 15th starring Jennifer Lopez, in hopes the superstar can help boost flagging sales of its low-calorie BodyArmor Lyte beverage. Coca-Cola also continued to partner with celebrities including Magic Johnson, Lil Dicky, Travis “Taco” Bennett, and Tamika Catching in its March Madness “Best Coke Ever?” campaign, promoting Coke Zero Sugar with TV spots, outdoor advertising, and experiential activations in the Final Four host cities.

Dick’s Sporting Goods landed at #9 after announcing a new partnership anointing the brand the Official Sporting Goods Retail Partner of the NCAA. DSG launched its biggest ad campaign yet, “Sports Change Lives,” and as part of the deal, which included frequent commercials during March Madness broadcasts. Ahead of the Final Four, the brand also inked NIL deals with eight college basketball standouts: South Carolina‘s Aliyah Boston, Stanford‘s Haley Jones, Villanova‘s Maddie Siegrist, and Indiana‘s Mackenzie Holmes on the women’s side, and Gonzaga‘s Drew Timme, UCLA‘s Jaime Jaquez, Kansas‘ Jalen Wilson, and Houston‘s Marcus Sasser on the men’s roster.

March 2023 Most Searched Brands

With the 2023 NASCAR and F1 seasons having recently roared back into gear, tire brands are again taking center stage at the race track. In the last 12 months there have been more than 125 tire brands buying sponsorships or media across all properties, averaging 6 sponsorship deals each. Twenty-six percent of all tire brands with at least 1 sponsorship or media deal have a partnership with a motorsports property.

Continental ranks first by sponsorship volume with 102 deals, including partnerships with the Tour de France and MLS, among others. Bridgestone follows as a relatively distant second with 70 partnerships, while Michelin is third with 47 deals. Pirelli Tire, The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company, Hankook, Cooper Tire & Rubber Company, Balkrishna Industries Limited (BKT), Toyo Tires, and Nexen Tire round out the top 10 brands, in that order.

Social posts lead the list of most frequently bought assets. Toyo Tires’ branded Instagram post with UFC, welcoming Khabib Nurmagomedov to the UFC Hall of Fame, scored the most engagement, while the partnership between the International Cricket Council and MRF Tyres performed best among social campaigns, engaging 13.2M across 521 total posts. Property entitlements, digital content, TV-visible signage, and brand exposure are other assets popular with tire makers.

Among Italy’s most storied companies, Pirelli Tire has been a motorsport mainstay since 1907, and the exclusive global official tyre partner of the FIA Formula One World Championship since 2011, having inked a one-year extension with F1 last year.

With one of the longest-running relationships in racing history, dating back to 1954, The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company and NASCAR announced a new multi-year agreement last December, renewing Goodyear as the exclusive tire supplier for NASCAR’s top three national series.

Tire Category Insights

Over the last 12 months there have been 840 active brands buying sponsorships or media in the Hospital category.

Nuffield Health was the most active brand with a total of 29 sponsorship deals, all of the properties they sponsor are located in the UK, such as Wolverhampton Wanderers, AFC Bournemouth and Norwich City. Baptist Health South Florida claims the second spot with a total of 21 sponsor deals. St. Jude Children's Research Hospital enters the podium of the most active brands with 20 sponsor deals. MedStar Health, Atrium Health, UCLA Health, Cleveland Clinic, Intermountain Healthcare, Tampa General Hospital, and UCHealth (Denver) complete the Top 10.

While property entitlements, digital content, broadcast ads, and TV-visible interior signage were some of the most frequently bought assets, social posts reigned supreme in the Hospital category, with total engagement of 13.3M more than 24K unique posts across all social media. An Instagram post between UCLA Health and the LA Lakers garnered the most engagement, with 514K.

Among other standout assets incorporated in deals in the category, regional healthcare company Orlando Health is the Primary Jersey Patch sponsor of MLS team Orlando City SC, while UCLA Health has been the Training Center sponsor of the Lakers since 2016.

Within sports worldwide, Hospitals have secured 49 deals with premier sponsorship assets such as Venue Naming Rights and Primary Jersey Patches across 36 brands. Only 8 brands have more than one such deal:

Orlando Health - 3

Novant Health - 3

WakeMed - 3

Trinity Health of New England - 3

Children's Mercy Hospital - 2

Children's Mercy Hospital - 2

Dignity Health - 2

UC Davis Health - 2

February marked a high-flying month for the sponsorship industry, as deep-pocketed brands capitalized on Super Bowl LVII’s 113M viewership. Of the 30 most searched brands on the SponsorUnited platform, 30% of them had a Super Bowl commercial. In addition, some very big deals made headlines including the six-year extension of MLS’s league-wide kit supplier partnership with adidas, worth a reported $830M.

After making its Super Bowl debut with a commercial encouraging consumers to “shop like a billionaire,” new online superstore Temu ranked #1 in our February rankings. The Boston-based startup then surpassed Amazon and Walmart to become the most downloaded shopping app in the U.S. one week ago–not bad for a month’s work.

In the 6th spot is Jersey Mike’s, which on February 2nd announced a multiyear US partnership that names the sub shop the “Official Sub Sandwich of the NHL”–the chain’s first partnership with a professional sports league. Besides other exclusive marketing rights, Jersey Mike's will receive broadcast exposure through Digitally Enhanced Dasherboards–the NHL’s advanced approach to dynamic dasherboard advertising–during the regular season and the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

American personal finance company, NerdWallet, lands at #7, after signing its first-ever MLS partnership last week with the Philadelphia Union, just three days before the season’s start.

Prime Hydration–a sports drink founded by Youtubers Logan Paul and KSI–follows at #8. On January 31st, the beverage brand announced a global marketing partnership designating Prime as the “Official Global Sports Drink of UFC.” The deal encompasses a wide range of activations into key UFC assets, including every UFC Pay-Per-View and Fight Night, highlighted by broadcast features and never-before-seen branding inside the world-famous Octagon.

Feb Rankings

Feb Rankings[/caption]

As Formula 1 fever continues to run rampant around the world, the sport is racing full-throttle into the 2023 season with the announcement of three new elite partnerships.

Just this week (2/28), F1 unveiled a 15-year strategic partnership with London football team Tottenham Hotspur that will bring a brand-new motorsport experience to London: the construction of the world’s first in-stadium electric karting facility and the city’s longest indoor track, slated to open below the cutting-edge Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in Fall ‘23.

The partnership ushers yet another top-tier global sport brand to the stadium, which uniquely plays host to the Premier League, the NFL, F1, concerts, rugby, and boxing. The deal could be a game-changer, raising the possibility that other European football teams will open their stadiums to additional sports and activities in the future.

This news comes hot on the heels of F1’s February 22nd announcement that Qatar Airways will become the sport’s new Global Airline Partner, and will sponsor three Grand Prix this year in Qatar, Italy, and Hungary. The deal includes trackside and digital branding that will be showcased to the global F1 audience. Formula 1’s partnership with Emirates last season included assets like fixed groundscape, archway, TV visible signage and more; whether the Qatar deal will feature similar activations remains to be seen.

F1 also announced a three-year partnership with United Nations children’s charity UNICEF on February 10th. The single-seater world championship will support UNICEF’s education initiatives, as well as its humanitarian responses to disasters and emergencies.

A look back at the 2022 F1 Season:

This triumvirate of buzzy news may foretell an even bigger year for F1 in 2023 than 2022, which saw more than 420 brands buying sponsorships and media with the high-octane fan favorite.

Storied Italian brand Pirelli Tire led the pack last season with the most F1 sponsorship deals, partnering with the sport and its 10 teams. PUMA, Alpinestars, Red Bull and Siemens tied for second place with a total of 3 deals each, while Honda, Riedel, Sabelt, AlphaTauri, and Mercedes-AMG round out the top 10 list with 2 sponsorships apiece. The most common assets bundled into deals included property entitlements, digital content, brand exposure, social posts and property products/services.

F1 teams had a branded post with 270 brands to 3.9K unique posts on social media, generating 112M total engagements–averaging 418K engagements per deal and 29K per post. Mercedes-AMG Petronas ranked first in engagement with 55M–49% of the ten teams’ total engagement combined.

Formula 1 itself counted more than 50 sponsor deals. As for teams, McLaren took the top spot for most partnerships, inking more than 60 deals last season with brands including OKX, Dell Technologies, and Google (Alphabet). BWT Alpine and Alfa Romeo Stake tied for second place with 47 sponsorships each–edging out third-place Oracle Red Bull Racing by only one deal.

Daniel Ricciardo scored pole position in drivers’ deals with 14 sponsorships, partnering with brands like GoPro, Optus, and Beats by Dre. Sergio “Checo” Perez earned the second spot with 11 sponsor deals, and seven-time F1 World Champion, Sir Lewis Hamilton–the most followed driver across all social media, with a combined following of 45.3M–took third place with 10 endorsements.

February marked a high-flying month for the sponsorship industry, as deep-pocketed brands capitalized on Super Bowl LVII’s 113M viewership. Of the 30 most searched brands on the SponsorUnited platform, 30% of them had a Super Bowl commercial. In addition, some very big deals made headlines including the six-year extension of MLS’s league-wide kit supplier partnership with adidas, worth a reported $830M.

After making its Super Bowl debut with a commercial encouraging consumers to “shop like a billionaire,” new online superstore Temu ranked #1 in our February rankings. The Boston-based startup then surpassed Amazon and Walmart to become the most downloaded shopping app in the U.S. one week ago–not bad for a month’s work.

In the 6th spot is Jersey Mike’s, which on February 2nd announced a multiyear US partnership that names the sub shop the “Official Sub Sandwich of the NHL”–the chain’s first partnership with a professional sports league. Besides other exclusive marketing rights, Jersey Mike's will receive broadcast exposure through Digitally Enhanced Dasherboards–the NHL’s advanced approach to dynamic dasherboard advertising–during the regular season and the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

American personal finance company, NerdWallet, lands at #7, after signing its first-ever MLS partnership last week with the Philadelphia Union, just three days before the season’s start.

Prime Hydration–a sports drink founded by Youtubers Logan Paul and KSI–follows at #8. On January 31st, the beverage brand announced a global marketing partnership designating Prime as the “Official Global Sports Drink of UFC.” The deal encompasses a wide range of activations into key UFC assets, including every UFC Pay-Per-View and Fight Night, highlighted by broadcast features and never-before-seen branding inside the world-famous Octagon.

[caption id="attachment_13734" align="alignnone" width="1333"]

Feb Rankings

Feb Rankings[/caption]

The 2023 MLS season kicked off last Saturday (2/25) with big news: not only did the league just announce a $2.5B blockbuster broadcasting deal with Apple TV, but it’s also welcoming a new franchise–St. Louis City SC, which will face off against Austin FC in the team’s inaugural home match this Saturday. In honor of the city’s place in the pro sports spotlight this weekend, let’s take a closer look at the sponsorship landscape in the Gateway City.

St. Louis offers sponsorship opportunities across various avenues from 3 major pro sports teams (MLB, MLS, NHL), to colleges, marathons, and festivals (just to name a few). With 9 deals, Budweiser leads the list of brands actively buying sponsorships in Missouri’s 2nd-biggest city and the 26th largest market in the US by population. It comes at no surprise the AB brand leads STL in deals since the city is also the brand’s official HQ. In terms of traditional media (TV & radio only), midwest-based home improvement company Menards, leads the way with 13 deals, trailed by broadband connectivity giant Spectrum with 11. Brands active in the St. Louis market favor purchasing in-venue assets with the St. Louis Cardinals and St. Louis Blues.

Ahead of its first home match, St. Louis City partnered with Together Credit Union as the team’s Official Debit Card, SeatGeek as primary and secondary Ticketing Partner, and Nestlé Purina PetCare as Jersey Patch sponsor.

With a combined following of 7.1M, the Cardinals and Blues dominate the “Gateway to the West” social space. The Cardinals engaged 470K fans with more than 130 sponsorship deals during the 2022 season, followed closely by the Blues with 450K engagements and north of 115 partnerships this season. Notable social standouts in the St. Louis market include former Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina and pitcher Adam Wainwright.

While luxury car brands are active in the NHL–Lexus, for example, sponsors 13 league franchises–however the Blues currently lack a high-end auto partner, as do the Cardinals. Another semi-conspicuous absence in their respective endorsement portfolios: FinTech, a category where 33 brands have sponsorship deals with major pro sports teams, but not one in St. Louis. The Blues have a TV deal with 5-Hour Energy, one of 18 energy drink brands with a media or sponsorship deal in the big leagues. Time will tell if an official energy drink sponsor lies in the team’s future.

The Consumer Products category engaged 1B people across all social platforms in the last 12 months–a staggering statistic that’s almost certain to continue to rise. Let’s take a closer look at this all-important category that arguably touches more people worldwide than any other.

With over 100 sponsorship deals, Clorox tops the list of the more than 2,650 active brands buying sponsorship or media. Gillette takes the second spot with over 85 sponsorships, followed by Manscaped in third place with north of 50 sponsorship deals. YETI, L’Oreal, Degree, Dove, Old Spice, Dawn, and 3M round out the top 10.

Social posts were the most common asset bundled into Consumer Products sponsorship deals, which averaged engagement of 170K each. The category saw more than 5.4K brand collaborations and 31K unique posts in the last year.

Property entitlements and digital content ranked second and third among most popular assets. More than 25 brands have purchased a uniform exposure asset across European Football and Major Pro Sports in the US–the most frequent being a primary and practice jersey patch, followed by a secondary jersey logo.

Within Major Pro Sports, the Cincinnati Reds and FC Cincinnati partner with the most Consumer Products sponsors (more than 10 each)–not surprising, given that Procter & Gamble, the world’s largest fast-moving consumer goods company, has been headquartered in Cincinnati since its founding there in 1837. Both teams have deals with P&G marquee brands Bounty, Charmin, Crest, and Gillette.

At the collegiate level, Ovation Fragrance inked an NIL deal with Michigan State defensive back Dillon Tatum deal last month–marking the brand’s entrée into the red-hot NIL industry. In other January news, YETI became the Official Drinkware and Cooler of the World Surf League. Currently fourth among Consumer Products brands with more than 45 deals, the ubiquitous drinkware brand is looking to make more waves in the sponsorship space.

NBA All-Star Weekend kicks off tomorrow in Salt Lake City, marking the 30th anniversary of the last NBA All-Star Game played in Utah’s capital. Kia, a NBA partner since 2008, will be the game’s presenting sponsor.

The Salt Lake City market provides opportunities for brands to buy sponsorships across various different leagues. With 13 deals, Coca-Cola leads the list of brands actively buying sponsorships in Salt Lake City, the 24th largest market in the US by population.

In traditional media (TV & radio only), Ford Motor Company and Toyota claim the top spot with 7 deals each. Personal injury law firm Siegfried & Jensen earns the #2 spot with 6 partnerships, and Smith’s Food and Drug and Hyundai Motor tie for third place with 5.

With 9.2M followers, the NBA’s Utah Jazz presents a singular opportunity for brands eager to capitalize on the team’s social media clout. The NBA team has secured 65+ sponsorships this season, engaging 1M fans and growing its followers by 17% year over year. Other properties with notable social followings in the SLC market include KSL 5 Utah (News Sation), SpaceStation Gaming (Esports), and Real Salt Lake (MLS).

Kia is the official vehicle of the NBA Playoffs, NBA All-Star Game, NBA Finals, and the NBA Draft. The South Korean carmaker also serves as a presenting partner of TNT’s “Inside the NBA," and as the title partner for the Kia NBA monthly awards and end-of-season performance awards. Seven of Kia’s top 10 partners (ranked by total assets) are NBA properties.

All eyes will be on Salt Lake City Sunday evening, as the 2023 Kia NBA All-Star MVP is awarded the Kobe Bryant Trophy. Other titles up for grabs during the weekend include the AT&T Slam Dunk Champion, Starry 3-Point Contest Champion, Kia Skills Challenge Champion, Clorox Rising Stars MVP, Clorox Clutch Challenge Champion, and the Ruffles NBA All-Star Celebrity Game MVP.

Through its partnership with the NBA and its teams, Kia generated a social media engagement of 376K across 211 posts. The LA Clippers–who will be represented by eight-time All-Star Paul George–engaged 142K people with 70 Kia-sponsored posts. Overall, the NBA is responsible for 8% of Kia’s total social engagement. There’s no doubt millions of basketball fans will engage across social media during Salt Lake City’s star-studded NBA weekend.

Last Sunday’s Super Bowl LVII–the most-watched NFL championship game in six years, with an average audience of 113M–offered brands the unique opportunity to reach fans with splashy, statement-making campaigns on a global stage.

NFL sponsors chose an array of activations during the broadcast, including featured segments, billboard/ad/logo pop-ups, and naming rights for key elements–like the Apple Music Halftime Show.

More than 15 brands leveraged one of the above assets in Super Bowl LVII:

  • Amazon
  • Amazon Web Services
  • Apple Music
  • Bud Light
  • Crown Royal
  • General Motors
  • Google Pixel
  • Jeep
  • M&M’s
  • Michelob Ultra
  • Pepsi Zero Sugar
  • RAM
  • T-Mobile
  • Walt Disney Pictures
  • Youtube TV

On the broadcast front, 46 brands featured more than 100 celebrities in hotly anticipated  commercials throughout the game–most of which mark the start of multifaceted campaigns that include social posts, additional ads, and other activations.  

With 2023 already off to a fast start as February kicks off, let’s take a look at the most searched brands by sponsorship executives on the SponsorUnited platform last month.

Peraton–a national Security and IT Services provider and sponsor of the Military Bowl since 2021—made its list debut at #1. In early January, the company was again selected by the Defense Counterintelligence and Security Agency (DCSA) to provide background investigation field work services for the federal government–bringing nearly two decades of experience as the incumbent to the job. The contract is worth up to $2.25B over five years.

7th on the list is BuzzRx, which announced a multi-year partnership with the Phoenix Suns at the beginning of January–making it the first prescription savings company to sponsor an NBA team. BuzzRx had previously partnered with the Phoenix Suns Charities, which resulted in a $150K donation to nonprofits in the Phoenix metro area.

At #8, Dunkin’ was named the first-ever title sponsor of TD Garden's annual college ice hockey tournament, The Dunkin’ Beanpot. The multi-year sponsorship will see the company included in all Beanpot promotions, and builds on the strong partnership between Dunkin’, TD Garden, and regional broadcaster NESN. Dunkin’ also recently signed Hollywood star Ben Affleck to a multimillion-dollar deal that includes both a donation to his nonprofit and reportedly a Super Bowl ad directed by Affleck.

Energy drink brand Celsius lands at 15th on the list, after the company inked a deal last month with Spire Motorsports to become primary sponsor of Corey LaJoie’s No. 7 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 at the Daytona 500. Celsius also announced that Logan Misuraca will be driving the No. 63 Spraker/PCW Racing CELSIUS Essential Energy Chevrolet in the 2023 ARCA Menards Series.

The Quick Serve Restaurant (QSR) category looms large in the sponsorship universe, namely in the promotion/sweepstakes arena. McDonald’s dominates the space with over 60–primarily across major pro sports and colleges–followed by Chick-fil-A (36), Papa Johns (34), Dunkin’ (28), and Wendy’s (28). Let’s take a closer look at some of their latest activations, designed to woo faithful sports fans with tasty fast-food fare.

McDonald’sThe beloved home of the Golden Arches partners with all major US pro sports and some college teams, often in the name of delish giveaways. A common thread? Fans have to download the McDonald’s app in some instances to grab a bite of the action.

When the opposing team misses a field goal inside M&T Stadium, Baltimore Ravens fans can redeem a free 6-piece Chicken McNugget the next day. On the ice, the chain’s huge NHL presence includes the “McNugget Minute,” where enthusiasts across the league can cash in on the same Chicken McNugget deal when a home team scores in the last minute of a regulation period.

Mickey D’s also offers the free 6-piece Chicken McNugget to Cleveland Guardians fans when the team steals a base at home–the same prize Portland Traiblazers’ fans can grab when the team scores 100 points in an NBA matchup. Meanwhile, when DC United forces a shutout in MLS, fans can bag two Happy Meals for the price of one.

At the collegiate level, fans in attendance at an Illinois Fighting Illini football home game can text “McDouble” for a free McDouble burger when the team forces a three-and-out. Although these prizes differ in terms of what needs to happen on the field of play for fans to win their prizes, there is one crucial commonality between all of them. Fans have to download the McDonald’s App to redeem their prizes.

Chick-fil-AThe Atlanta-based chicken sandwich titan launched the “Chick-fil-A Fowl Shot” promotion at Utah Jazz home games, where attending fans can win free chicken when an opposing player misses two free throws in the fourth quarter–an offer now run by several other professional and collegiate basketball teams. The chain also maintains a sizeable presence in MLB with activations like “Chick-fil-A Tuesdays,” a promotion at Washington Nationals Tuesday home games, where fans in the Metro DC area receive a free reward through the brand’s app.

Papa JohnsWhen the Washington Wizards score 115 or more points, fans get 50% off regular-price pizzas the next day, with a specific promo code visible on the jumbotron–a deal also available to Orlando Magic and LSU Tigers football fans when their teams are victorious. Washington Capitals fans also get half-price pies when the team score five or more goals during a home game, as do the Tampa Bay Rays’ faithful when their team scores six runs at home.

Dunkin’At the start of the 2022 NFL Draft, Dunkin’ gave fans a chance to win a year of free Dunkin’, an autographed Daniel Jones Jersey, and two tickets to a 2022 Giants game if they correctly predicted top picks. Meanwhile, the NY Mets, NY Yankees, Boston Red Sox, and Cleveland Guardians gave fans a chance to win Dunkin’ gift cards if they retweeted designated Dunkin’-sponsored tweets last season.

Wendy’sFans in the stands at Denver Nuggets home games can get free Wendy’s when the team notches a double-double, while Milwaukee Bucks fans can grab a free small Frosty when they win at home. When the Orlando Magic hits ten or more 3-pointers, fans get a free honey butter chicken biscuit as part of the chain’s “Magic Mornings” giveaway. In a unique promotion with the Cleveland Browns, fans could tune into the Wendy's Game Day Weather Report each game day to score a free in-app offer: depending on the temperature at kickoff, a small Frosty (on hot days) or a small chili (on cold ones) at participating Wendy's outlets the next day.

As QSR brands score big with these types of promotions/giveaways, what other categories are poised to follow suit? Forty brands in fintech are already utilizing promotions–led by Coinbase, which partners with social media influencers, athletes, and models in 70% of such deals. Brands in the Daily Fantasy Sports/Betting Services category are poised to grow this asset: in the past year, only five of these brands activated promotion/sweepstakes partnerships within major US pro sports–led by DraftKings, which offered different team- and league-specific promotion codes for free or discounted bets.

In the ever-expanding world of eCommerce, 38% of all sponsorship deals belong to blue-chip blockbuster brands Amazon, Shopify, Alibaba, and eBay, while Rakuten, Zappos, and Fiverr are also major players in the sponsorship universe.

Not surprisingly, 52% of all deals within the category utilize social media in partnership with teams, athletes, and influencers, where 36% of all branded social posts come from brands in the Apparel & Accessories (20%), Consumer Products (8%), and Retail (8%) categories.

Given influencers’ burgeoning prominence in eCommerce, leading resale Apparel platforms like Poshmark, The RealReal, and Rent The Runway–new to the resale game thanks to a new partnership with Amazon–are positioned to further bank on their unique marketing clout. Fashion influencers have over 1.3K partnerships across all categories via social media, and their infiltration of fashion-driven resale platforms seems certain.

Resale leader Poshmark currently leverages TV ads in 78% of its partnerships. Thanks to its deal with ESPN, the brand advertises during MLS, NHL, MLB, and college broadcasts on the network.

eBay also made an impact in the resale fashion industry this week, investing nearly $10M in UK-based designer retail platform Cudoni. According to Retail Bum, the investment is part of eBay’s efforts to solidify its position as a second hand luxury goods resale leader.

Every January in Las Vegas, the Consumer Electronics Show (CES)–the world’s largest tech trade show–offers brands the opportunity to showcase the most innovative emerging products and technology on earth.

We were on the ground at the four-day event to scope out the show’s most dazzling activations. Here’s our roundup:

Panasonic utilized the color green–specifically, its GREEN IMPACT experience–to attract attendees into its booth. The immersive, interactive VR journey invited visitors to complete digital quests and heed calls to action to highlight its climate crisis solutions. The Japanese tech giant’s sponsorship portfolio includes over 60 partnerships, among them the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Tokyo-headquartered Mitsubishi Electric’s vision of a “Smart Society” future–the theme of its CES exhibition–included remote-controlled delivery robots and semiconductor solutions for next-generation technologies for easier, sustainable living. The company sponsors seven teams within the Nippon Professional Baseball league in Japan.

LG Electronics enjoyed a banner year at CES, winning 28 CES Innovation Awards–10 of them for OLED TVs. Esports teams comprise 22% of the South Korean tech titan’s sponsorships.

John Deere won two CES 2023 Innovation Awards: Best of Innovation in Robotics and Honoree in Vehicle Tech & Advanced Mobility. Its fully autonomous tractor, which could be controlled from a smartphone, amazed attendees and the agriculture industry alike. The Moline, Illinois-based company has over 130 sponsorship and media deals, 24% of which are in MLB or MiLB.

HD Hyundai’s CES activation–which showcased Avikus AI, its autonomous navigation technology for watercraft vehicles–was a reminder of the brand's mission to become the most innovative solution provider in shipbuilding, offshore engineering, energy, and industrial machinery. The activation at CES was the company’s only recent partnership.

Marine recreation leader Brunswick made a splash with its first commercial model of the Mercury Marine's Avator 48V electric series, as well as Navico Group's new e-power system.

Caterpillar's booth showcased the largest vehicle at the entire convention: its fully autonomous, 100-ton Cat 777 off-highway truck, which has operated in the most extreme environments without a driver on board for nearly a decade. A deck atop the booth allowed attendees to admire this engineering marvel from above. The world’s leading manufacturer of construction and mining equipment has over 20 sponsorships, including league deals with MLS and the NHL.

The sports media landscape is changing dramatically, as linear TV increasingly cedes the stage to streaming platforms–the first material platform modification since the advent of cable TV.

What does this ongoing seismic shift mean for the future?

A slew of lucrative new deals inked in 2022 made headlines throughout the year, and offered a glimpse of the shifting sponsorship landscape within the industry:

  • Amazon Prime Video: NFL, Ligue 1

When Amazon Prime broadcasted its first edition of Thursday Night Football in 2022, it registered the most new Prime members in a 3-hour period in the company’s history – even outpacing major shopping days like Black Friday*.

  • Viacom18: Indian Premier League
  • Viaplay: English Premier League
  • DAZN: Serie A, LaLiga

What’s next for streaming?

While linear networks still control the majority of primetime live sports events, we can look forward to more news of major streaming rights deals for college sports, motorsports, and the NBA, as consumers continue to gravitate toward customized packages over all-in-one bundles. The ongoing proliferation of these deals will spur a new wave of exciting sponsorship possibilities, as brands pursue bold new digital real estate and content marketing opportunities to stand out from the competition.

The latest deal of note: on December 22, the NFL announced a multi-year partnership with Google that gives YouTube exclusive distribution rights for the NFL Sunday Ticket–at the price of a reported $2 billion a year. We’re currently analyzing data within the streaming sector to offer a look at potential sponsorship prospects for YouTube and the NFL in light of this deal, available in next week's newsletter.

SponsorUnited released 12 sponsorship & media reports across leagues, categories, and industries in 2022. Here’s a look at some of our best performing social media posts last year, featuring insights from each report.

2022 Sponsorship Year In Review: Most Endorsed Global Athletes–Norfolk State standout Rayquan Smith ranked #1 with 58 deals.

MLS 2022 Marketing Partnerships Report: MLS clubs generated $461 million in sponsorship revenue in 2022.

MLB 2022 Marketing Partnerships Report: Japanese brands bought backstop ads all season when baseball phenom Shohei Ohtani stepped up to the plate: 22 brands scooped up signage at Angels home games, while 11 brands followed “Shotime” to 10 other teams' stadiums. The first inning was sponsors' prime time, all but guaranteeing exposure with Ohtani on the bump or at the dish.

Women In Sports 2022: Most Endorsed Female Athletes–the NWSL’s Alex Morgan took the #1 spot with 27 deals.

Music Artist Marketing Partnerships Report: Indie folk band Bon Iver inked the most partnerships with 39 deals–94% of which were with groups/organizations.

NHL 2021-22 Marketing & Partnerships Annual Report: The NHL league account posted more on social media than any other pro sports league–and 2x more than the second-place NFL. No NHL team or player has a larger social following than the league itself.

2021-22 European Football Partnerships Report: “Since our teams started working with SponsorUnited a year ago, work processes have become more efficient, agile, and productive, giving us the opportunity to reach the right people in each company, as well as to know in detail what is the trajectory of each brand.”

- Jose Luis Crespo Bola, LaLiga

NBA 2021-22 Marketing & Partnerships Annual Report: The NBA and Hennessy, the league's first Global Spirits Partner, joined forces to unveil two one-of-kind basketball courts.

2021-22 Marketing Partnership Finance Report: Five brands–ally, Fifth Third Bank, LendingTree, PayPal, & Webull–sponsored uniforms in 3 or more different leagues/associations.

NFL Marketing & Partnerships Annual Report: ​​The NFL and Roblox partnered to launch the "NFL Tycoon" game within Roblox–an experience that aimed to engage the next generation of football fans in the metaverse by allowing fans to build, play, and learn in their own NFL world.

As part of Tide’s environmentally focused efforts, fans entered to win a "Tide Cold Washer." A talking washing machine featured 10 NFL players, including Matt Ryan, who was featured in new TV spots.

MLS 2021 Marketing & Partnerships Annual Report: 18 teams within MLS during the 2021 season had a single jersey sleeve partner.

Technology Sponsorships Annual Report: The Brooklyn Nets were the first professional sports team to arrive in the metaverse, creating 3-D renderings of their games within seconds–allowing fans to place themselves around (or even on) the court during play.

As we dive into a new year, here’s the list of the 100 most searched brands by sponsorship executives on the SponsorUnited platform in 2022.

Toyota led the way at #1. With over 1,100 sponsorship/media deals, the Japanese automotive giant boasted major sponsorships with properties all over the world, including AS Roma, Buffalo Bills, and FC Dallas. The company ended the year by announcing that it’s becoming the Official Vehicle of World of Outlaws, the home of premier dirt track racing for more than 40 years. Over 150 of Toyota’s 2022 partnerships were media deals with local news shows and networks.

Dunkin’ was the second most searched brand on the platform. The company jumped into the NIL space last February by signing University of North Carolina basketball player, Deja Kelly, and University of Georgia track star, Matthew Boling, to Team Dunkin’, whose roster now includes over 30 standout student athletes. Dunkin’ also rolled out limited-edition donuts with the Tennessee Titans and University of Georgia Athletics last summer.

Soft drink powerhouse Coca-Cola took the third spot. With more than 1,700 partnerships, the company sponsored 55 music festivals in 2022, including Tomorrowland, Lollapalooza, and the Governors Ball. Coca-Cola also became an Official Sponsor of Liverpool and the Tottenham Hotspurs, and was the presenting sponsor of the FIFA World Cup Trophy Tour.

Verizon, the fourth most searched brand of 2022, sponsored more than 30 music festivals, including Coachella, Forecastle Festival, and III Points. Last April, the telecom titan became the Official Founding Partner of League of Legends: Wild Rift Esports for North America, followed by a high-profile turn as Official Partner of the F1 Crypto.com Miami Grand Prix in May. Verizon also partnered with over 100 properties across the top five major US pro sports leagues.

Some of last year’s trends were reflected in the top 100 search–namely, the rise and fall of the crypto industry. Crypto.com, FTX, and Coinbase were among the top 25 most searched brands. Overall, the financial category had a strong year, with 3 financial sub-categories–banking, cryptocurrency, and fintech–ranking among the top 5 most searched.  

QSR Category Report

December 28, 2022

2022 Category Takeaways:

  1. QSR Burger pulled away as the top QSR sub-category, now having 23% more sponsorships than any other sub-category.
  2. QSR Coffee & Tea surpassed QSR Sandwich in total sponsorships in 2022.
  3. QSR Chicken surpassed QSR Pizza in total sponsorships in 2022.
  4. The number of QSR Social Partnerships increased by 23% in 2022, yet engagement and number of posts per deal have decreased in the same timeframe.

Endorsement and media deals grew 20% YoY for both female professional and NIL athletes, with a 102% increase in brands buying sponsorships or media deals across NIL alone

The 2022 Sports Sponsorship Year In Review offers a comprehensive view of sports sponsorships and endorsements this year. Compiled using SponsorUnited’s proprietary platform data from January 2022 through November 2022, the report analyzed sports sponsorships across leagues, teams, and individual athletes.

Top findings from 2022 include:

MLB had the most sponsorship deals in professional sports. The league saw 3,350 sponsorships this year though the NFL trailed closely behind with 3,000 deals, its $1.8B in sponsorship revenue was 50% higher than MLB’s $1.2B.

Women’s sports saw a 20% increase in partnerships year-over-year. NWSL’s Alex Morgan and tennis star Serena Williams led the list with 27 deals each, while college softball superstar Lauren Burke came in second with 22 partnerships.

The top 5 most endorsed global athletes had 209 combined total deals. Norfolk State’s track and field phenom Rayquan Smith was the most sponsored athlete of 2022 with 58 deals, followed by cricket player Virat Kohli with 44. Race car driver Kurt Busch inked 40, Brazilian footballer Neymar Jr. had 36, and NFL star Austin Ekler rounded out the list with 30 deals.

NIL (name, image, likeness) saw major social sponsorship growth. Football led with 598 deals, including 12 players with social media-focused deals worth $1M+. Men’s basketball followed with 328 deals, and women’s basketball took third with 234 deals.

“2022 has been a year to remember for the sports sponsorship industry,” said Bob Lynch, Founder and CEO of SponsorUnited. “From the bounce-back in sponsorship deals and entitlements led by disruptive categories and companies, to the significant expansion in social endorsements–particularly on TikTok for female athletes–this year has brought a wave of new opportunities for brands across numerous industries.”

Besides an incisive recap of 2022 highlights, the reports provides predictive analysis of what we can expect to see next year:

Women athletes are poised to dominate sponsorships. Brands’ sponsorship of female athletes grew 20% in 2022, with 70% growth in social engagement–where women are on track to eclipse their male counterparts in social engagement by 2024.

Digital assets will continue to grow in dominance. Digital signage, streaming, and other digital sponsorships offer opportunities for brands to connect to fans in new ways that are unavailable in traditional media.

Sports betting services will provide a growing media platform for new sponsorship deals. Partnerships with streaming platforms offer live betting lines, promotions, and interactive viewing experiences.

Major pro sports and athlete charity sponsorships are expected to grow by 25%. The number of charities & non-profits with athlete sponsorship deals has increased 85% since 2019. Lifestyle brands sponsorships in particular are predicted to grow.

“As we move into a new year, we can expect to see greater growth within newer sports sponsorships areas, particularly in digital,” added Lynch. “Sports fans across the leagues want more ways to engage with their favorite teams and players. We can expect to see brands exploring these new channels more in 2023 and beyond.”

Methodology:

This report was compiled using SponsorUnited’s proprietary platform data from January 2022 through November 2022. Social data compiled from property or person-controlled Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, TikTok and LinkedIn accounts and social activity. The report found that 14K+ brands bought over 20K sponsorships across 11 professional leagues and their teams - the NFL, NBA, NHL, MLB, MLS, WNBA, NWSL, PGA Tour, LPGA Tour, WTA Tour and ATP Tour. It also revealed that 2,500+ brands have bought over 4K sponsorships across individual professional athletes.

With the end of the year quickly approaching, that means it's College Bowl time. 41 bowl games were announced over the weekend and will kick off mid-December. Some bowl games have histories that span decades while others have stories that are just beginning.

The Capital One Orange Bowl | Tennessee (6) vs. Clemson (10)

Capital One has been the title sponsor of the Orange Bowl since 2014. 6% of Capital One’s 560+ deals are with Division 1 Bowls, Tourneys & Championship. While they are the title sponsor of the Orange Bowl, they also have sponsorships with other college bowls like The Rose Bowl, Fiesta Bowl, and Allstate Sugar Bowl to name a few.

The Allstate Sugar Bowl | Alabama (5) vs. Kansas State (11)

The Sugar Bowl, along with the Orange Bowl and Sun Bowl, are the second-oldest bowl games in the country. Allstate has been the title sponsor since 2007 and is currently the brand’s largest partnership. Close to 100 brands are buying sponsorships and media with the Sugar Bowl. No category dominates the bowl’s partnership portfolio, the top three categories- media, QSR and Auto- make up less than 30% combined.

The Rose Bowl | Utah (8) vs. Penn State (11)

"The Granddaddy of Them All" aka The Rose Bowl oldest operating college football bowl game. Capital One has been a presenting sponsor (not the title sponsor) of the previous two Rose Bowl’s. This year’s presenting sponsor will be Northwestern Mutual .

Jimmy Kimmel LA Bowl Presented by Stifel | Fresno State vs. Washington State

Since The Jimmy Kimmel LA Bowl’s inaugural season in 2021, the bowl has partnerships with 59 brands including 9 Auto brands- the largest category sponsor for the bowl- inclusive of Toyota. This bowl is 1 of Toyota’s 30 college bowl deals while it’s Stifel’s one and only college bowl partnership.

Cheez-It Bowl | Florida State (13) vs. Oklahoma

The Cheez-It Bowl, formerly known as the Camping World Bowl (2017-19), the Russell Athletic Bowl (2012-16), the Champs Sports Bowl (2004-11), has undergone several title sponsors since 1990. Cheez-It has partnered with 25 other bowl games in various capacities over the years. 25% of Cheez-It’s 110+ deals are with Division 1 Bowl games.

As we head into the holidays and the final month of 2022, here are the 30 brands most searched by sponsorship executives on the SponsorUnited platform in November.

Alcoholic beverage brand Beatbox Beverages debuted in the #1 spot with its first appearance on the coveted list this year, hot on the heels of the company’s October announcement that it raised $15M to support its national retail expansion. With over 40 sponsorship or media deals in 2022–including becoming the Official Punch of the Alabama Crimson Tide in September– the beverage company more than doubled its 2021 total of less than 20 deals, 93% of which were with music festivals.

MoneyLion also made the list for the first time this year, landing at #3. Last month was a big one for the fintech brand, which became the Official Money App and Jersey Patch Partner of NBA G League Ignite on November 3rd. MoneyLion also announced its first eight-member class of NIL partner athletes last month, which includes high-profile athletes across multiple sports, like UConn guard Azzi Fudd and USC wide receiver Brenden Rice. 70% of the brand’s partnerships are with athletes.

The Killer Brownie Company, November’s #4 most searched brand, entered the sponsorship space for the first time last month by announcing a partnership with the Cincinnati Bengals. The multi-year agreement makes the brand the Official Brownie of the team.

November Rankings

Cause-related sponsorships–mutually beneficial collaborations between brands and nonprofits–are enjoying a resurgence after the COVID-19 pandemic’s onset in 2020.  

These initiatives increased 21% in 2021, when more than 1,000 new brands entered the space, eager to benefit a cause through a partnership campaign. These deals have held steady through 2022, with nearly 3,500 brands and 1,700 properties participating in a cause-related sponsorship in 2022.

Categories most active in cause-related sponsorships in 2022:

  • Financial (11%)
  • Nonprofits, Charities, Associations (11%)
  • Healthcare (9%)
  • Auto (6%)
  • Insurance (5%)

Most Active Major Pro Sports Teams

  • Golden State Warriors (50+)
  • Philadelphia Eagles (40+)
  • Philadelphia Phillies (40+)
  • Miami Heat (35+)
  • Cleveland Cavaliers (30+)

Top Cause-Related Initiatives:

  • Youth Foundations
  • Health Issues
  • Education
  • Military/First Responders
  • Environmental

Three high-profile brands took center stage with their cause-related partnerships in 2022:

adidas: The German sportswear giant takes the top spot with nearly 45 cause-related initiatives this year, focused primarily on environmental programs. The brand’s “Run for the Oceans” campaign was arguably its splashiest, with the company removing one plastic bottle from beaches and coastal communities for every 10 minutes a person ran between May 23 and June 8, 2022, tracked on the adidas Running app. To bolster awareness of the campaign, the German brand partnered with Major League Soccer and other sports organizations, as well as celebrities like Stefanos Tsisipas and Karlie Kloss.

Coca-Cola: Landing in second place with over 40 cause-related campaigns this year,  the beverage colossus partnered with teams including Real Betis, Sevilla FC, the Philadelphia Phillies, and the Tampa Bay Rays to promote recycling of their Coca-Cola cans and bottles.

Nike: Third on the list with over 30 cause-related sponsorships, the Beaverton, Oregon-based sportswear titan channeled its efforts into youth-centric causes, partnering with teams like the New York Jets, Chicago White Sox, and Detroit Pistons to engage local kids in sports-related programs in the teams’ home cities.

Cause-Related

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.

Grey Cup Final

November 20, 2022

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

November 20, 2022

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.

With the world’s biggest quadrennial sporting event just 10 days away, SU has been capturing unique brand activations and crossover campaign insights into the longstanding partnership between FIFA and The Coca-Cola Company, a FIFA partner since 1976 and an official sponsor since 1978. Let’s take a closer look at this epic partnership:

FIFA World Cup Trophy Tour by Coca-Cola

The World Cup Trophy Tour–which kicked off in Dubai in May and included 51 countries and territories–wraps up this week in Toronto, its last stop in North America (host of the 2026 World Cup) before the trophy heads to Qatar for the hotly anticipated 2022 event, beginning November 20. For the first time ever, the tour visited all 32 countries that qualified for this year’s World Cup–bringing Coca-Cola and FIFA one step closer to their goal of visiting each of FIFA’s 211 member associations by 2030.

In another first, all activations throughout the tour were digitally led–reducing waste and minimizing consumption of water, energy, and materials at each stop–in a nod to the beverage giant’s wide-ranging sustainability efforts.

SponsorUnited was on the ground for the tour’s stop in Dallas earlier this week. The seamless, two-day event proved to be a terrific experience for fans, who enjoyed activities including fast-feet interactive games and foosball. At Coke Ink Studio, they could get “inked” with temporary tattoos of Coke cans bearing promises they’d make if the US wins the World Cup, part of the company’s sprawling “Believing Is Magic” campaign (detailed below). Other fan favorites: a photo opp with the trophy, sponsored by Coca-Cola, as well as a chance to create a Panini trading card with a selfie.  

“Believing Is Magic”Campaign

To inspire fans worldwide to share the commitments they make in support of their favorite teams, Coca-Cola unveiled the “Believing is Magic” campaign in September, spotlighting authentic moments of connection between fans, and the beliefs, rituals, and promises inherent in World Cup fandom. In keeping with Coca-Cola’s focus on digitally driven initiatives, the campaign features an online hub that connects fans across the world, and three digital films about the promises fans make if their team wins.

Taglines like, “If we win I’ll get a tattoo” will also feature on special edition “promise” packaging worldwide–part of Coca-Cola’s commitment to immerse fans in soccer’s unifying magic.

Once the World Cup kicks off on November 20, Coca-Cola will also unveil a program that highlights fan superstitions during matches. New packaging also will showcase team colors and shared promises.

World Cup 2022 Anthem: “A Kind of Magic”

On October 19, Coca-Cola and Universal Music Group announced the unveiling of the FIFA World Cup 2022 campaign anthem–a multicultural reimagining of Queen’s iconic track, “A Kind of Magic.”

A collaboration between three female recording artists–Danna Paola of Mexico, Felukah of Egypt, and Tamtam of Saudi Arabia–the song was released on October 21, as was the accompanying performance video, filmed in Mexico City. The video captures the excitement for one of the biggest sporting events on the planet, fusing Latin and Arabic culture with the impassioned world of the FIFA World Cup.

An electrifying performance of “A Kind of Magic” is scheduled for the World Cup opening ceremony on November 20, when Qatar will face off against Ecuador to jumpstart the FIFA festivities.

As we head into the home stretch of 2022, here are the 30 brands most searched by sponsorship executives on the SponsorUnited platform during October.

OOFOS, the recovery footwear leader, September’s 2nd most searched brand, tops this month's list. It’s been a busy few months for the company: OOFOS inked a deal with the Las Vegas Raiders and Derek Carr in October, hot on the heels of partnering with Boston Bruins goalie Jeremy Swayman in September.

Both deals underscore OOFOS’ commitment to community and public service, as demonstrated by the discount it offers to medical professionals, military personnel, and educators via a partnership with online identity network company, ID.me.

In September, Derek Carr teamed up with OOFOS to gift 6,000 pairs of shoes to staff at Valley Children’s Hospital in central CA near where Carr grew up. Last month, the brand announced an alliance with radio station 98.5 The Sports Hub and Swayman to raise funds for breast cancer awareness, research, and patient care through the entire NHL season. “The "Kick Saves for Cancer" campaign, which kicked off on the October 15 home opener, donates $10 for every save Swayman or any Boston goalie makes this season, up to $25,000.

OOFOS also donates 2% for every pair sold on OOFOS.com to the Jimmy Fund at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston for patient care and cancer research.

Toyota

The Japanese automobile giant takes the 2nd spot on the October list with over 550 sponsorship deals, including sub-brands like Lexus. Lately, the brand has been shifting its marketing strategy from traditional vehicle-focused advertising to a broader storytelling narrative.

In early October, Toyota Spain announced the renewal of its sponsorship deal with the Liga ACB, Spain’s professional basketball league, after a successful first year.

Intuit

Intuit climbed 6 spots from last month to #3 for October. The American business software company and its sub-brands including TurboTax and QuickBooks have over 40 endorsement deals.

The company announced a 23-year partnership with the Los Angeles Clippers in September 2021, giving the brand the exclusive naming rights to the Intuit Dome, slated to open in 2024 in Inglewood, CA. Its reported $500 million price tag made it the most expensive arena naming rights deal in NBA history.

The following brands comprised the rest of the top 30:

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/.

DOWNLOAD Women In Sports 2022 HERE

The inaugural Women In Sports report delivers 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.

Women In Sports 2022

October 13, 2022

Alex Morgan is the Most Endorsed Female Athlete of 2022

Brand deals across women’s sports have increased 20% year-over-year

SponsorUnited's inaugural Women In Sports 2022 report analyzes brand partnerships for both collegiate and professional sports across teams and individual athletes.

The report found that 3,500 brands bought a total of 5,650 sponsorships or media across 14 professional women’s leagues and collegiate NIL athletes. It also revealed that 1,110 brands bought a total of 2,185 sponsorships or media across individual professional and college female athletes.

“While women’s sports have always faced a variety of disparities in the industry, their ability to win over audiences and drive an exceptionally high level of engagement for brands is undeniable,” said Bob Lynch, CEO and founder of SponsorUnited. “In recent years, attendance, viewership and social engagement for women’s sports and athletes has spiked, leading to long-overdue financial backing through investments and sponsorships that are visibly paying off and should only continue to accelerate.”

Key findings include:

Alex Morgan is the most endorsed female athlete of the year The National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) player scored 27 brand deals in 2022, which is more deals than any NFL, NBA, MLB, MLS or NHL athlete. Morgan leapfrogged over Ali Krieger, Serena Williams and Naomi Oasaka, the top three most endorsed female athletes in 2021. She has partnerships with Coca-Cola, Google, Chipotle, Michelob Ultra and AT&T, among others.

Partnership deals across women’s sports have increased 20% year-over-year Sponsorships with women grew 20% year-over-year across the major US sports (LPGA, NWSL, WNBA, WTA), top European soccer leagues (Women’s Super League and Liga F), and  Big Bash League, AFL, NRL Telstra Premiership, Netball Superleague, Suncorp Super Netball and World Netball. Finance brands–which are already the most active sponsorship category among women’s sports–upped their sponsorship game by 30%, followed by Apparel & Accessories and Media to round out the top-three brand verticals.

Women’s golf outnumbers all other women’s sports for brand deals With 940 brand deals in 2022, the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) saw a 30% increase in deals from the previous year and an 18% increase in new brand partnerships. Notable partnerships include Coca-Cola, Rolex and Epson. The LPGA held a 17-deal lead over the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA), which had 923 deals in 2022, followed by the National Women’s Soccer League, which had 496 deals.

Nike is the #1 sponsor for both professional and collegiate sports Nike has sponsorships with the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA), NWSL, Women’s Big Bash League (Cricket), Netball and the LPGA, and with more than 60 athletes. Nike also sponsors five collegiate athletes and partners with 68 colleges. Trailing Nike is Adidas, the second top brand partner for both professional and collegiate sports.

The Cloud, Data & CRM Solutions category has been active within pro sports in the US over the past few years, as Amazon Web Services’ deal with the NHL and NFL and Second Spectrum’s partnership with the NBA and MLS made headlines. Last week, MLB and Google Cloud announced the expansion of their partnership that began in 2020, which will see MLB pilot Google Cloud’s media content delivery network (CDN) to continue innovating in the realm of live action, on-demand and archival content.

Not surprisingly, social media posts are the top asset bought by these brands: more than 5.3K posts across 450 deals in the category have engaged 43M followers in the last 12 months, with each deal averaging 12 posts.

The Golden State Warriors had a major hand in these impressive engagement stats, thanks to the team’s partnerships with Oracle and Google Cloud, which saw the Warriors post 635 times for the former and 253 times for the latter in the last year. In the process, they engaged over 15M and 10M followers for Google and Oracle, respectively–making the Warriors responsible for a whopping 60% of the category’s engagement.

Top 5 brands ranked by total deals (Sponsorship & Media)

  • Google (Alphabet): 770
  • IBM: 100
  • Oracle: 97  
  • Amazon Web Services: 95
  • Google Cloud: 48

Top 5 platforms/assets bought

  • Social posts: 38%
  • Property entitlements: 36%
  • Digital content: 34%
  • Television ads: 15%
  • Products & services: 13%

Though 45% of Google Cloud’s partnerships are with MLB properties–the “Statcast powered by Google Cloud” is a prominent feature during MLB broadcasts–its 15M-plus social media engagements derived largely from the Golden State Warriors deal. The remainder came primarily from the MLB, totaling 618K followers across 57 posts.

Since 2015, the NFL has used Amazon Web Services (AWS) for its Next Gen Stats platform, which immerses fans in real-time data by analyzing millions of data points down to the millimeter. In the past 12 months, the league’s partnership with AWS generated more than 218K total engagements, of which the New York Giants contributed 116K–53%–with just 7 posts.

AWS also works closely with the NHL, having become the league’s official Cloud, artificial intelligence, and machine learning infrastructure provider in February 2021; since then, it’s introduced stats including face-off probability. In the past 12 months, the NHL’s official Isocial media platforms has posted 24 AWS-sponsored posts, engaging 174K followers. Overall, AWS has garnered 678K likes, shares, and comments across 34 deals and 377 posts in the same period, with the brand’s NFL and NHL partnerships accounting for 58% of this social engagement.

Twitch Brand Spotlight

October 10, 2022

TwitchCon 2022, a weekend of games, activations, meet & greets and more, held at San Diego Convention Center has come to an end. Check out some of the activations seen throughout the event:

Presenting Sponsors included:

  • Capital One
  • Gonna Need Milk
  • Prime Video
  • Legion
  • Intel
  • Wendy's

Not surprisingly, Quick Serve Restaurant (QSR) Burger brands are big players within US sports when it comes to sponsorship deals. In college athletics, 31% of the 153 brands have at least one partnership, while McDonald’s, Wendy’s and Whataburger lead the pack with 55, 40 and 34 deals respectively.

The 5 major professional sports leagues are also prime targets for the category; 22% of brands have at least one deal with a team. Wendy’s (84), McDonald’s (63), Sonic (52), and Jack-in-the-Box (46) have the most partnerships with major pro teams.

Properties with the most QSR Burger deals

  • San Diego Padres: 15 (6 brands: McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Sonic, Jack in the Box, Smashburger, Hodad’s)
  • Los Angeles Dodgers: 13 (6 brands: McDonald’s, Jack in the Box, Wendy’s, In-n-Out Burger, Carl’s Jr., Shake Shack)
  • Houston Texans: 12 (4 brands: Jack in the Box, Whataburger, Freddy Frozen Custard & Steakburgers, Foreign Policy)
  • Arizona Diamondbacks: 11 (5 brands: Cold Beers & Cheeseburgers, Jack in the Box, Whataburger, Sonic, Wendy’s)
  • Nashville Predators: 11 (4 brands: Wendy’s, Hardee’s, Sonic, Jack in the Box)

Across all property types, McDonald’s tops the deal list by a huge margin:

Top 5 brands ranked by total deals (Sponsorship & Media)        

  • McDonald’s - 925
  • The chain has over 100 deals with local news networks & shows
  • Wendy’s - 553
  • Sonic - 210
  • Burger King - 170
  • Whataburger - 145

QSR Burger brands favor Instagram and TikTok for their social sponsorships: a whopping 86% of the 14 million followers engaged by the category’s sponsored posts span the two channels. Total engagement was higher on Instagram (with over 8.5 million) versus TikTok (more than 5 million).

Social

Overall Category Stats

  • Total engagement: 16,088,219
  • Avg engagement per post: 1,363
  • Avg engagement per deal: 14,441
  • Total Deals: 1,114
  • Posts: 10,504 (9 posts per deal)
  • Bally Sports Southwest posted the most (898 times for Jack in the Box)
  • QSR Burger brands averaged 876 posts per month in last 12 months

As a category, QSR Burger makes great use of prominent musicians and influencers to engage millions of followers.

Top 5 deals by total engagement:

  1. McDonald’s: Kanye West - 1,649,229  (1 post)
  1. McDonald’s: Payton King - 1,501,758 (2 posts)
  1. McDonald’s: Mariah Carey - 452,824 - 1,265,363 (13 posts)
  1. Checkers & Rally’s: Rick Ross (a franchisee) - 809,173 (5 posts)
  1. Burger King - Chase Hudson (Lil Huddy) - 646,162 - 3 posts

On TikTok–where 51 deals generated 86 posts, vs. Instagram’s 439 deals and 1,381 posts–QSR Burger brands’ average engagement per post (57,462) and per deal (107,889) eclipsed engagement on Instagram (5,949 and 19,771, respectively).

Top 5 properties w/ QSR Burger-sponsored TikTok posts ranked by total engagement (minimum 2 posts):

  1. Payton King - McDonald’s: 1,501,758  (Influencer Payton King has the highest average engagement for QSR Burger-sponsored TikTok posts with 750,879 (14.23% of his followers)
  2. Mariah Carey - McDonald’s: 919,583
  3. Anthony & Ana - McDonald’s: 219,648
  4. Soy Nguyen - McDonald’s: 150,678
  5. Sofia Bella - McDonald’s: 90,598

As evidenced by the lists above, when it comes to QSR burger brands, McDonald’s dominates on numerous fronts. With total engagement topping more than 11M followers on social media, the chain garners a whopping 67% of all QSR Burger engagement. The megabrand also accounts for 35% of all QSR Burger posts–averaging 310 posts per month–and has 396 social deals that generated 3,727 posts over the last year.  

McDonald’s also averages engagement of 2,531 followers per post and 27,188 per property. The Calgary Flames posted the most for the brand in the past 12 months: the team’s 434 posts engaged 600,474 followers.  

On TikTok, McDonald’s also reigns supreme, with total engagement of 4,359,806 followers–a staggering 82% of all QSR Burger category engagement. Its 63 posts comprise 75% of the category’s sponsored posts on the channel, and average engagement numbers 64,115 per post and 136,244 per property, with 3.17% of the brand’s followers liking, sharing, or commenting on content. The rest of the top 5 QSR Burger brands have 10 properties and 14 posts combined on TikTok–meaning McDonald’s has 4.5 times more branded content on the channel than its competitors.  

Of the top 10 properties (ranked by total engagement) that partner with McDonald’s on TikTok, 8 are influencers; Mariah Carey and Celine Tran are the only non-influencers. The brand recently teamed up with TikTok viral sensation Tisakorean to drop “Static,” an end-of-summer anthem celebrating fans’ love of Sprite.

On October 3rd, McDonald’s unveiled its first campaign with streetwear brand, Cactus Plant Flea Market, to launch a limited edition Happy Meal for adults: the Cactus Plant Flea Market Box. Predictably, the campaign is already getting heavy exposure on TikTok.

As we charge full-force into fall, here are the top 30 most searched brands by sponsorship executives on the SponsorUnited platform during the month of September.

Thanks to a high-profile deal with the New England Patriots and New England Revolution, eco-friendly hand sanitizer maker Shimmy debuted at #1 on the list, after becoming the official hand sanitizer of both teams and Gillette Stadium.

While the partnership was announced in August, the brand has seen multiple assets with the Revolution this season, including ads on the videoboard, sponsored email content, and entertainment-related content showing fans doing the “Shimmy dance” at games. The “Shimmy Cam” has also captured Patriot fans cheering on their favorite team at the stadium in past weeks.

Another list newcomer, OOFOS, landed in the #2 spot thanks to a deal with the Las Vegas Raiders–its first sponsorship with a pro sports team in the US–that named it the team’s Official Recovery Footwear. Raiders quarterback Derek Carr also signed a multi-year partnership with the brand, highlighting how the shoes directly impact his success on the field. OOFOS currently has 11 sponsorship deals, primarily within the endurance and action sports industries.

Global tax services and software provider, Ryan LLC, made its first appearance at #3. In mid-September, ​​Dallas-based Ryan announced its inaugural MLB sponsorship, a multi-year partnership with the New York Yankees. The deal gives the brand several hospitality assets for entertaining during games, with the goal of growing its business and brand recognition in the New York metro area.

Watch maker INVICTA, another newbie to the list ranked #4. The brand has inked multiple deals during the last two months, including a licensing deal with the NHL for the rights to create a special collection honoring hockey. The collection will include all 32 NHL teams and will be available for purchase this season, which kicks off next week. Another partnership announced in August named INVICTA Official Timekeeper of the Las Vegas Raiders and Allegiant Stadium, where activations include displays on the game clock, billboards, and pop-up stores during the team’s home games.

The following brands rounded out the top 10:

  • Turo
  • Truff Hot Sauce
  • Apple
  • Kellogg's
  • Intuit
  • Coca-Cola

New York Fashion Week (NYFW), one of the highlights of the city’s fall calendar, kicks off tomorrow continuing through September 14th.

Three longtime NYFW mainstays–Michael Kors, Tommy Hilfiger, and Coach–stand out among the 60-plus brands on the event’s official schedule, thanks to their statement-making sponsorship and media partnerships.

With just over 10 endorsement deals, NY-based Michael Kors is the most exclusive of the stylish triumvirate, yet leads the three in social followers (40M). Michael Kors’ most successful social partnership is with Bella Hadid, which at last count tallied 3,342,441 engagements from 4 posts. The brand’s average engagement per deal stands at 587,857.

Tommy Hilfiger has over 60 partnerships, 35% of which are endorsement deals with athletes of all kinds–including aquatic sports, combat sports, and motorsports. The American sportswear powerhouse is 1 of just 2 fashion brands to have entered the metaverse, via a partnership with Roblox that launched in December 2021.

Social media looms large in Coach’s marketing strategy, where 94% of the brand’s total partnerships utilize social content. Endorsement deals comprise 30% of the brand’s sponsorships. In March 2022, Coach signed its first Korean brand ambassador, “All of Us Are Dead” actor Yoon Chan Young. His posts with Coach engaged a staggering 23% of his followers, dwarfing the brand’s 1.2% average engagement rate. Yoon and Michael B. Jordan are the only two actors who currently partner with the brand.

Meanwhile, Japanese model Koki has posted the most Coach content, with 26 unique posts that engaged 1,500,548 followers and counting.

Though conspicuously absent from NYFW’s official schedule, luxury mega brands Louis Vuitton, Gucci, and Prada are seemingly unstoppable forces on social media, garnering more than 250 million engagements across their collective partnerships.

With just over 20 endorsements, Louis Vuitton dominates the social fashion scene with north of 80M total followers. Even more impressive, the brand’s engagement stands at 129M, with an average of nearly 3M per partnership. Close to 50% of the brand’s total engagement comes from a deal with South Korean model and actress HoYeon Jung, who’s tallied over 60M engagements across her 17 social posts with the French luxury fashion house.

Gucci, which closely trails LV on social with just under 80M followers, trumps its rival in endorsement deals, with more than 35. The brand partners with pop music artists such as Billie Eilish, Miley Cyrus and others in 23% of its deals. With only 4 social partnerships with pop music artists, its 65M total engagement is mainly split between deals with Eilish and Cyrus, whose engagement totals 27M and 24M respectively.

While Prada lags behind Louis Vuitton and Gucci on social media, its 40M following is far from small. With more than 210 posts spanning its 51 social partners’ platforms, the brand’s total engagement tops 50M; posts with K-Pop stars Jan Wong Young and TWICE account for 54% of that figure. Prada also starred in a TikTok reel with TikTok superstar Charli D'Amelio last spring, in which she unboxed a package sent by the brand. The top post with Charli saw an engagement of over 1.1 million.

Beer–an understandably massive sponsorship category, given its popularity–has nearly 900 brands buying sponsorships and media across the sports and entertainment industries.

Three of the top brewers in the game–Anheuser-Busch InBev, Molson Coors Brewing Company, and Constellation Brands–dominate the partnership landscape with their marquee brands.

Bud Light leads the pack with more than 400 sponsorship deals–over 100 more than sister brand Budweiser in second place. Michelob Ultra’s third-place position gives parent AB InBev, the world’s largest beer company, the top three spots.

In social media, Bud Light also rules the roost with over 8M total followers (FB, TW, IG, TT). The Washington Capitals, one of its longtime partners, tagged the brand in more than 170 posts last season.

With over 200 deals, Coors Light is another sponsorship and social media powerhouse, with just north of 3M total followers. More than 10% of the beer’s total branded posts are with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, an AHL team that tagged Coors Light in 288 posts during their season. Twitter is the brand’s most utilized channel, and 29% of its partnerships include social media posts.

For 31 years, Coors has been the naming rights partner of Coors Field, home to the Colorado Rockies. Coors’ other assets throughout the stadium include:

  • Seating section naming rights
  • Bullpen signage
  • Logo on lower bowl seats
  • Interior signage
  • Concourse signage
  • Event content and activations, including the Designated Driver Program for fans

Corona USA, a high-wattage property of Constellation Brands, has just under 100 sponsorship deals. Earlier this year, Corona inked a contract with the MLB  to become its “Official Cerveza.” The partnership marks the first time the league has split its beer sponsorship category, as Budweiser is the Official Beer of the MLB.

Corona’s MLB partnership has boosted the brand’s profile on social media: the league has tagged the beer over 40 times in posts this season, 3 of which are Corona’s most successful posts to date by total engagement.

In a separate deal within the league, the Seattle Mariners signed Corona with the same “Official Cerveza” designation. A club within T-Mobile Park was christened the Corona Beach Club as part of the naming rights included in the partnership.

As we bid a fond farewell to summer and head into September, here are the top most searched brands by sponsorship executives on the SponsorUnited platform during the month of August. Click on the link below to reveal the top 30.

PRIME Hydration, a performance beverage brand owned by high-profile YouTuber and influencer Logan Paul and YouTuber and British rapper KSI, has emerged from virtually out of nowhere to take the top spot on the August list. Founded in January 2022, the brand’s Instagram account has garnered a massive 1.1M following–likely due to the owners’ popularity–and another 400K across other social media platforms.

So far, PRIME has secured more than 5 sponsorship / media deals–some with Logan Paul or KSI brands, and 2 marquee partnerships with Arsenal and MBM Motorsports. PRIME became Arsenal’s official hydration partner this year, while securing assets including product placement on the press conference podium, stadium signage, and social posts. Meanwhile, its sponsorship of MBM Motorsports saw PRIME’s logo branded on the front hood of the vehicle driven by pro stock car driver Timmy Hill.

At the end of July, third-ranked VRBO signed a deal with the Fiesta Bowl to become the exclusive title sponsor of the popular college football bowl game. In addition, the vacation rental online marketplace became the Fiesta Bowl’s official travel sponsor, with branding at fan activations, digital and social media content, in-stadium exposure, and inclusion at other year-round events run by the Fiesta Bowl.

Meanwhile, eighth-ranked Paycor, an HR software company, signed a 16-year venue naming rights deal with the Cincinnati Bengals in August, changing the name of the team’s home venue in Cincinnati to Paycor Stadium. Paycor will be integrated throughout the venue, and has already seen exposure during the Bengals’ preseason broadcasts, with a live read commercial and a logo pop-up next to the scoreboard in the Bengals’ August 12th game against the Arizona Cardinals.

Organizations & Groups

August 17, 2022

National Nonprofit Day was August 17th–offering an opportunity to dig into the category and discover which brands are using sponsorships to make an impact.

With more than 20 deals, Army ROTC leads the pack in number of sponsorships within the massive category, which numbers over 4,500 brands. All of Army ROTC’s deals are with colleges: it currently partners with four schools in Buffalo, its top market.  

Meanwhile, the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW), American Red Cross, Be The Match, and Goodwill lead the list (in that order) of the most searched brands by sponsorship executives on the SponsorUnited platform in 2022. Three of these five brands also make the top 10 in terms of sponsorship deals: AARP in third place, Goodwill in sixth, and the American Red Cross in ninth.

The category relies heavily on social and digital media as its leading platforms for sponsorship and media buys, often on the websites and social media pages of schools. Nonprofits have over 4,590 social media deals totaling more than 28,000 posts, across which engagement stands at a staggering 57 million-plus. Six social posts have garnered over 1 million engagements; UNICEF’s branded post with Millie Bobby Brown tops that list at over 3.7 million,1.5 million higher than the second-place post–also UNICEF, with David Beckham.

July proved to be a popular month for nonprofits to ink sponsorship deals:

  • The Cyrille Regis Legacy Trust–which continues the community work that the late striker championedwas named the official charity partner of West Bromwich Albion Football Club, Regis’s former team. The club will also make a donation to the trust for every away shirt sold.
  • The Big Help Project–an award-winning, U.K.-based charity that helps people overcome poverty–announced a deal to have its logo on the jersey of the Wigan Athletic Football Club for the 2022/2023 season. The brands will also join forces to promote the charity's work across England.

The Special Olympics formed a three-year global partnership with Allison+Partners. The marketing and communications agency will support the world’s largest sports organization for people with intellectual and physical disabilities with an employee volunteer engagement program, as well as PR services to advance inclusion efforts.

Organization & Groups Category

We Made The List!

August 16, 2022

SponsorUnited Debuts at No. 145 on the 2022 Inc. 5000 List

First-Time Honor Ranks Innovative Intelligence Platform in the Top 3% of the Fastest-Growing Private Companies in America

SponsorUnited, the leading global sports and entertainment intelligence platform, debuted today at No. 145 on the annual Inc. 5000 list–the most prestigious ranking of the fastest-growing private companies in America. The list represents a snapshot of the most successful companies within the economy’s independent businesses–arguably its most dynamic segment. Microsoft, Patagonia, Chobani, Under Armour, Facebook, and many other household names first rose to prominence on the national stage as members of the Inc. 5000.

In addition to ranking No. 145 overall, SponsorUnited is the third fastest growing company in Connecticut, and the twelfth fastest growing Advertising & Marketing company on the list.

“Making the 2022 Inc. 5000 and ranking in the top 3% of companies on the list is a true testament to the sheer effort, attitude and ingenuity of the thousands of people who’ve contributed to SponsorUnited’s success,” said Bob Lynch, SponsorUnited’s Founder & CEO.

While working for the Miami Dolphins and then the Brooklyn Nets from 2010-2015, Lynch sensed an opportunity for brands and properties to partner more effectively in the complex world of sponsorships. Companies across industries would benefit enormously from a resource that demystified the sponsorship marketplace and provided greater accessibility to partnership deals.

Inspired by this mission, Lynch launched the SponsorUnited platform in 2018. The company has since grown substantially to 130 employees and 1,000 partners in 18 countries.

Complete results of the 2022 Inc. 5000 can be found at www.inc.com/inc5000.

Press Release

The inaugural MLS NEXT game, presented by Allstate–which took place on August 9th in Minneapolis during this MLS All-Star Week–celebrated 44 of the best young soccer players in North America. It also highlighted Allstate’s prominence as an MLS sponsor: the insurance powerhouse has deals with nearly half of the MLS clubs, and one with the league itself.

Within a top-heavy category of Property & Casualty Insurance, Allstate has made a splash in the sponsorship world, trailing just behind State Farm and GEICO with over 175 deals. More than 25% of its overall partnerships (both sponsorships and media buys) fall within the college landscape–with the Power 5 schools and conferences, where the brand has over 60 deals, its prime targets.

Allstate has sponsored the storied Sugar Bowl since 2007, when it succeeded previous sponsor Nokia. Among its array of assets at the 2021 College Football Playoff National Championship, most notable was a sponsored activity which offered fans the chance to kick a field goal into a branded Allstate net. Across all partnerships, 43% of Allstates deals include TV-visible signage–whether field goal net signage, a courtside digital apron, or exit tunnel signage.

Nearly 100 partners have tagged Allstate in a social media post. In the last 12 months, 96 properties have partnered with Allstate on social channels, totaling nearly 1,300 posts–an average 13 posts per deal, with total engagement north of 1.1 million.

Allstate’s highest engaged post, at nearly 70,000 followers, is with the U.S Soccer Federation. Despite its 60-plus deals with Power 5 schools, the brand rarely sees an awareness boost from social posts: Its top performer, with Louisville, engaged just over 5,000 followers, while total engagement with 184 posts across 30 schools still falls short of its soccer post performance.

The brand’s real sponsorship success lies in live events. TV-visible signage–a bona fide brand builder–is included in 88% of Allstate’s deals within the Power 5 schools.

All-State Brand Spotlight

Back-to-school time is here–a prime opportunity to take a closer look at the sponsorship picture of two top-of-mind retail giants: Walmart and Target.

With more than 90 sponsorship deals, Walmart–the world’s second-largest retailer behind Amazon–dominates the back-to-school retailer space, with over 25 more deals than the second-place brand.

Social media influencers–including Remi Bader, Sofia Bella, and Rach Parcell–account for more than 10% of Walmart’s sponsorship or media deals. So it’s no surprise that social posts are the retailer’s most utilized asset, while TikTok is the preferred channel for more than 5 of its partnerships. Two TikTok posts–with content creator Zeth and Celina SpookyBoo, a Canadian TikTok star and podcaster who has 19 deals–rank among Walmart’s 3 highest performing social posts ever, with over 800,000 engagements. They also take the first and third spots in engagement across the entire department store category, with Macy’s in second with its post with Maluma, a Colombian music artist.

Meanwhile, Target ranks third within department store brands in number of sponsorship deals with just over 40, less than half of Walmart’s count.

Target has been the venue naming rights sponsor for the Minnesota Twins since 2008, when the team’s Minneapolis hometown field became Target Field. The deal includes signage around the stadium, community-related content, and fan activities at the venue, among many other assets. Target also has had naming rights to the Target Center since 1990, home of the Minnesota Lynx and Timberwolves.

One of Target's larger deals on the national stage is its partnership with Major League Soccer (MLS), which saw the brand sponsor the MLS All-Star Concert featuring Khalid this past Monday in downtown Minneapolis. Instagram is its top social media asset, while 65% of its sponsorship deals include a social post.

Speaking of, Walmart and Target lead the charge for brands within the Mass Merchant & Department Stores category, where social posts are the top purchased asset amongst the 350+ brands buying sponsorship or media. Many of them favor media deals over sponsorships: on average, each brand has 1 sponsorship among its more than 6 total deals. Once again, Walmart trumps the competition, with over 250 digital media partnerships–double the number of both Target and Macy’s.

With summer in full swing, here’s the July list of the 30 most searched brands by sponsorship executives on the SponsorUnited platform.

*See full list below

Better-for-you cereal maker Magic Spoon continued its red-hot ascent this month, moving from third place in June to the top spot in July. The brand’s momentum keeps building, as evidenced by the $85 million Series B funding round it raised in June. Some 45% of its deals are with podcasts, including the wildly popular Joe Rogan Experience.

Meanwhile, IT company DXC Technology made the list for the first time this year, seizing second place after announcing a multi-year global partnership with Manchester United. DXC will use its digital transformation expertise to improve the way ManU engages fans through its digital platforms–including ManUtd.com and the Manchester United app–by harnessing the power of data and analytics technologies. As part of the deal, DXC will have a jersey patch for the 2022/23 season on the club’s home, away, and third kits (uniforms in British parlance). The Virginia-based company will also become the Presenting Partner of the Manchester United Foundation.

Notably, DXC’s biggest market is Washington, D.C., home to 45% of its sponsorships, including the Washington Wizards, Washington Capitals, and Georgetown Hoyas.

In other sports news, Heinz Field has become Acrisure Stadium in a new naming-rights agreement with the home of the Pittsburgh Steelers. The deal begins in the new 2022 season, and is estimated at $10 million annually over the next 15 years.

In fifth place, global e-commerce platform Wish was announced as the official sleeve partner of Premier League team Leeds United throughout the 22/23 campaign. The signage extends to the men’s, women’s and academy teams, across all official replica shirts, and throughout the home stadium. The branding also offers a sneak peak of Wish’s new logo ahead of its official rebrand this month.

Dunkin’ has joined the new 3ICE Hockey League as one of its main sponsors as part of an undisclosed six-figure deal, expanding the company’s sprawling portfolio of more than 370 sponsorship and media deals. Notably, hockey ranks fourth on the world’s leading baked goods and coffee chain’s list of property types in terms of total deals.

July 2022 Brand Power Rankings

Rolling Loud 2022

July 20, 2022

Billed as the largest hip-hop festival in the world, Rolling Loud rolls into Miami’s Hard Rock Stadium Friday with 35 sponsors onboard for the three-day event.

Booze leads the list of industries banking on the buzzy event, with big names like Ciroc, Smirnoff, Dussé, and Modelo among the 8 Alcohol category sponsors. Meanwhile, Cannabis/CBD & Accessories takes the second spot, with 5 brands–KaliBloom, Backwoods, Diet Smoke, The Flowery, and Tree O’five–taking advantage of the festival’s location and audience opportunities.

The Media & Entertainment companies bringing the festival to life–like Snapchat, Twitch, Spotify, Verizon, and HBO Max–rank third on the industry list, followed by Cryptocurrency & NFT in fourth, with Zelus and Gutter Cat Gang leading the way. Sponsors in the Financial Services category–a leading endorser of music-related events–include Venmo and Dave.

Rolling Loud Miami’s three headliners–Kid Cudi, Kendrick Lamar, and Future–count some heavy hitters among their own endorsement deals. While their portfolios might appear small, their partners prove otherwise.

Kid Cudi’s partnerships, McDonald’s and Cadillac, activate heavily across Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. He also headlines “Camp McDonald’s,” a first-of-its-kind, in-app virtual summer camp that launched July 5th, offering food deals and exclusive virtual concerts every Sunday through the month. While Kid Cudi trails Kendrick Lamar and Future by number of social media followers (16.1 million), he leads across all engagement metrics–total (607,224), per brand (303,612), and per post (101,204)--with an engagement rate of 2.7%.

With 38.1 million followers on social media (Facebook, Instagram & Twitter), Future has built an impressive sponsorship stable, including Hugo Boss and Samsung (a joint #BeYourOwnBoss partnership with both brands in early 2022), Porsche, and Bethesda Softworks. Future remixed the theme song for Bethesda Softworks’ PS5 game “Deathloop” (released last September), which was promoted on Twitter.

Hot on Future’s heels with 37.4 million followers is Kendrick Lamar, who featured in Pepsi’s SuperBowl halftime show commercial, “The Call,” along with Eminem, Snoop Dogg, and Dr. Dre, among other artists. Notably, despite his 11.5 million Instagram followers, Lamar has only 5 posts on the channel, none of which include brands.

The Cybersecurity category is making moves, with over 140 active brands buying sponsorship or media across all property types in 2022. Major Pro Sports in the U.S. look like a prime prospective target, as only 19 brands currently have sponsorship deals within the five leagues.

And given that the number of active brands in the category has more than doubled over the last two years, IT Security’s momentum shows no signs of stopping. With more than 10 new sponsorship deals each in 2022, Acronis, NordVPN, ExpressVPN, Kaspersky, and Raytheon Technologies top the list of the fastest-growing brands.

Twitter and Instagram lead the list of the five emerging assets utilized most in partnerships by Cybersecurity brands. More than 30 properties leverage their social media following on the two social channels, tagging the brands in their posts as part of their deals.

Overall, Cybersecurity utilizes social media in over 140 deals, topping more than 1,300 posts.

Total engagement across all branded posts within the category tops 3 million, while the top four social posts with the most engagement are by Formula 1 teams on Instagram–not surprising, given the red-hot sport’s explosive growth in popularity. CrowdStrike and the Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team engage Instagram users the most, with over 250,000 likes on Instagram.

The top 5 most searched brands within the category by sponsorship executives on the SponsorUnited platform over the last 12 months:

  1. Acronis
  2. Ring
  3. NordVPN
  4. ReliaQuest
  5. CrowdStrike

What better season than summer for frozen treats? The industry is also feeling those warm-weather vibes: of the more than 60 brands overall buying sponsorship or media during the last year in the QSR - Ice Cream & Yogurt category, the top 3 brands ranked by sponsorship or media deals are Dairy Queen (200+), Kona Ice (50+), and Tropical Smoothie Cafe (35+).

Minor League Baseball is a huge target market for these three brands. Kona Ice leads with 46% of all its deals within MiLB, followed by Dairy Queen at 35%, and Tropical Smoothie Cafe at 11% within the league.

Dairy Queen became the Official Treat & Burger of Major League Baseball this season. The perennial fan favorite has had projected signage in the lower bowl, as well as multiple tags by MLB social media profiles across platforms. When someone hits a Grand Slam during the season Dairy Queen will be tagged on social media by the MLB as they are the sponsor of all Grand Slams this year.

Baseball is big business for Dairy Queen: 62% of its deals are within the baseball industry, across the MLB and its athletes, the MiLB, collegiate baseball, and independent baseball leagues.

Meanwhile, Kona Ice has a vendor relationship within 49% of its overall deals. The brand’s penchant for targeting amateur sports is clear: 34% of Kona’s total deals are within the Power 5 Collegiate conferences or MiLB. The NFL, where Kona is a vendor for five teams, ranks second, with 9% of its total deals. While headquartered in Kentucky, the brand’s top market by number of deals is Indianapolis, where Kona’s vendor relationship with five properties includes the Indiana Pacers.

Rounding out the top 3, Tropical Smoothie Cafe takes aim at collegiate sports, with 32% of all deals within the category, and Division 1 bowl games/tournaments their prime prospects. Since 2019, Tropical Smoothie has been an exclusive title sponsor of the Frisco Bowl, a Division 1 college football game in Frisco, Texas, which was renamed the Tropical Smoothie Cafe Frisco Bowl.

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 concludes 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 .

LifeBrand–a social media detection and monitoring software developer–took the top spot last month, rocketing up the list from #16 in May. Over 40% of its sponsorships are in its home market of Philadelphia, including deals with three of the city’s pro sports teams–the Eagles (largest deal by share of assets), Phillies, and 76ers. On May 31st, the tech startup welcomed Los Angeles running back Austin Ekeler as its newest brand ambassador and equity stakeholder–a nod to the company’s strategy to make inroads on the West Coast.

Meanwhile, #2-ranked VeChain, in its inaugural partnership, became the UFC’s first-ever Official Layer 1 blockchain partner. The deal grants the company an unprecedented level of integration into key UFC assets, and brand visibility with some 900 million households in 175 countries that receive UFC’s TV broadcasts.

On June 13th, better-for-you cereal maker Magic Spoon–third on the list–announced an $85 million Series B funding round, as three of its products moved to Target store shelves. Nearly 50% of its partnerships are with podcasts, including the Joe Rogan Experience and Pod Save America.

Also notable: #8-ranked Caterpillar, the world’s leading manufacturer of construction and mining equipment, signed a multiyear global deal with the NHL last month, becoming the league’s Official Heavy Equipment and Industrial Power sponsor, starting with the 2022-23 regular season. The company also inked a multiyear sponsorship deal with Major League Soccer (MLS) in May.

And speaking of the NHL, Gatorade–which landed in SponsorUnited’s top 30 for the first time this year–announced the end of its 16-year sponsorship with the league last month, as it shifts strategy with a big push into name, image, likeness (NIL) deals with college athletes and women’s sports. One-armed basketball phenom, Hansel Enmanuel, announced his new NIL deal with the sports drink maker on June 16th.

2022 Brand Power Rankings

Partnering with influencers on leading social media platforms has become a strategic way for brands to build equity and reach completely new audiences. As Cara Stucker, SponsorUnited’s senior manager of endorsements, explains, “The thing about influencer marketing is, all brands can do it. Working with influencers allows brands extreme flexibility–whatever the budget, target audience, campaign length or type of media, influencers will make it happen.”

UPDATE: Earlier today, news broke of a new partnership with Khaby Lame. Binance has signed Lame as their newest brand ambassador to grow the Binance ecosystem leveraging the power of Lame's social media. Binance announced the partnership via their Twitter, Instagram and Facebook accounts.

Here’s the list of top influencers (by number of followers) tracked in the SponsorUnited database, and their top three brand deals across all social media channels.

TikTok:

1. Khaby Lame - 144.4MHugo Boss, Amazon Prime Student, Disney

2. Charli D’Amelio - 142.8MStep, Morphe, Takis

3. Bella Poarch - 90.3MCash App, Moncler, HyperX

4. Addison Rae - 88.1MITEM Beauty, American Eagle Outfitters, Vital Proteins

5. Zach King - 68.8MCredit Karma, Amazon, Google (Alphabet)

Instagram:

1. Khaby Lame - 78.4M

2. Larissa Machado (Anitta) - 62.7M

adidas, Samsung, Sol de Janeiro

3. Whindersson Nunes - 58.5MSubway

4. Huda Kattan - 50.6MASOS, Sephora, Harrod’s

5. Lele Pons - 49MAdore Me, PUBG

Twitter:

1. Whindersson Nunes - 25.4M

2. Ruben ‘El Rubius’ Doblas - 19.3MMAmazon Prime Student, Paco Rabanne, Drift Gaming

3. AuronPlay (Raul Alvarez) - 15.9MFanta, LG Electronics, Amazon Prime Video

4. Cameron Dallas - 14.8MboohooMan, Ralph Lauren, Crypto Demonz

5. Felipe Neto - 14.5MN/A

Facebook:

1. Noel Arevalo - 74.7MInno Supps, Fashion Nova

2. Alexandra Mary Hirschi (Supercar Blondie) - 47MVinFast, Driver Ape Racing Club, Xbox

3. Dhar Mann- 28MN/A

4. Kayla Itsines - 28Msweat, iFit, P.E. Nation

5. Luisito Comunica - 23MRey Palomo, Gran Malo, Deigo CDMX

*The nine categories considered when pulling data: beauty/fashion, fitness, food/travel, kids/family, pet, reality tv, tech/science, esports, and other social media influencers.

The Spirits (Vodka) category has 80+ brands buying sponsorships or media across all property types.

Ranked by total sponsorships, brand leaders in this category include Tito's Handmade Vodka, Smirnoff, and New Amsterdam Vodka.

Spirits Category Report

We highlight the sponsorship and media portfolio of GameDay Vodka. The spirit brand has a significant presence in both the National Football League and Power 5 Schools & Conferences.

GameDay Vodka Brand Spotlight

MLB Greenlights CBD

June 28, 2022

Given Major League Baseball’s landmark announcement last week that teams can now sell CBD sponsorships, the already buzzy category will soon be top of mind for many in pro sports. With more than 160 CBD brands buying sponsorship or media, MLB executives can expect an influx of calls from those vying for the coveted distinction of becoming the official CBD partner of an MLB team.

Time will tell if MLB players will also dive into CBD, following athletes like NFL star Dalvin Cook–who endorses CBD brand Medterra–and PGA golfers Bubba Watson and Patrick Reed, who both have deals with CBD sponsorship leader cbdMD.

Another sign of the CBD industry’s burgeoning momentum? Two CBD brands–cbdMD and Charlotte’s Web–made the top 50 in SponsorUnited’s June most-searched list.

Here’s a snapshot of current trends across properties where CBD partnerships are legal.

The current CBD industry leaders in terms of total sponsorship deals:

  1. cbdMD
  1. 3Chi
  1. Beam Organics
  1. Charlotte’s Web
  1. Select
  1. Pure Spectrum
  1. Trulieve
  1. Cannadips
  1. Mendi
  1. Love Hemp

The most popular assets bought by CBD brands are social media posts, property entitlements, digital content, outdoor signage, and event content/activations. Emerging marketing assets include Instagram posts, official sponsor/use of marks, logo displayed on websites, static billboards, and talent endorsements.

Social media is a leading activation for CBD brands–as evidenced by their top-five most engaged posts with the following properties:

  1. Jon Jones X Just CBD | Engagement: 186,479
  1. Kamaru Usman X Love Hemp | Engagement: 176,802
  1. Kamaru Usman X Love Hemp | Engagement: 159,361
  1. Charles Oliveira X AthletiCBD | Engagement: 128,363
  1. Ultimate Fighting Club (UFC) X Love Hemp | Engagement: 123,344

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)

June Is Pride Month

June 23, 2022

Brands are creating activations to highlight their support of the LGBTQI+ community during pride month. Check out some of the brands that have activated in a big way.

Procter & Gamble (P&G)Orlando HealthThe Pride Center of MarylandAdobeParamount+Pennsylvania LotteryIndependence Blue CrossHornitos TequilaCity FurnitureCapital OneTD BankAthlete AllyCintronPublixPayPalESPN PlusAlly FinancialadidasVisit Washington CountyVerify This

Some of the most interesting and unique activations this year have been with the use of digital assets. During Coachella, Absolut created a three-floor installation in the Metaverse. ​​On floor three, attendees could explore the rainbow-themed Pride room, where wearables were given to those who posted about their experience on their own social media.

Earlier this month Bud Light was a presenting sponsor of Pride Night in a game at Minute Maid Park where the Houston Astros played the New York Mets. The Seattle Sounders partnered with Starbucks to promote Pride awareness throughout the month of June via their social media channels.

One could say that Cricket Wireless and Snickers own the WWE sponsorship landscape. Both brands are integrated into WWE pay-per-view broadcasts. Superstar wrestlers also appear in the brand's commercials. Cricket leverages Charlotte Flair, The Miz and Kofi Kingston and Snickers commercials feature Alpha Academy.

What assets will be featured during this weekend's WWE Hell in a Cell?

Snickers is the presenting sponsor of the four major WWE PPV events- Royal Rumble, Wrestlemania, Summer Slam, and Survivor Series. On top of being the presenting sponsor, Snickers has TV-visible signage which includes digital ads near the ring and fixed ads on the announcers table.

Cricket Wireless sponsors the PPV kickoff prior to the main events. Cricket is also the presenting sponsor of the Cricket Fan Zone which is right outside of the events space for fans to interact. In the venue, Cricket Wireless has the press conference banner, TV-visible signage, interior signage and signage across the concourse.

The WWE owns the endorsement opportunities for all WWE wrestlers which means the WWE manages all deals. Cricket Wireless has deals with 10 wrestlers and leverages their social as well as their personas in their commercials. Becky Lynch & Bianca Belair, both wrestling in this weekends Hell In A Cell, have mutliple social posts with Cricket. Utilizing the wrestlers social following, the brand has a total engagement of over 240K across these wrestlers totalling over 40 posts.

New brands are taking over the sponsorship scene this summer. During May, 9 of the top 10 most searched brands on the SponsorUnited platform made the list for the first time this year. Pink Energy jumped to the #1 spot after announcing a unique partnership with NFL prospect Aidan Hutchinson before the NFL Draft.

Pink Energy’s partnership with Hutchison was aimed around the growth of future athletes, as the company pledged a $15,000 scholarship award, called The Aidan Hutchinson Walk-On Scholarship, to a deserving walk-on at Hutchinson's alma mater for the upcoming football season. 35% of Pink Energy’s partnership deals are in the Detroit market, including a team deal with the Detroit Lions, where Aidan Hutchinson happened to be drafted.

UK based Fintech brand WhaleFin ranked #3 last month, after announcing a partnership with EPL Chelsea F.C. As the club’s first digital asset partner, WhaleFin will become the club’s Official Sleeve Partner and will showcase their logo across the kit of both the men’s and women’s teams at the start of the 2022/23 season.

Cryptocurrency brands continued to shine amongst all other categories in May. Of the top 100 brands searched, Crypto brands were searched 2X more than any other category. Eight Crypto brands landed in the top 30.

NBA X Hennessy

June 2, 2022

The NBA and Hennessy, the leagues first Global Spirits Partner, partnered to unveil two one-of-kind basketball courts in May 2022. One court located in the front of the National Chang Kai Shek Memorial Hall in Taiwan, and a floating basketball court located off the coast of Sydney, Australia.

Download the SponsorUnited NBA 2021-22 Marketing & Partnerships Annual Report for more insights.

NBA X Hennessy

Our client partners asked, and we listened: last spring, we released updated features and top of the line enhancements throughout our platform.

The optimized platform now gives our partners access to new social data (including TikTok metrics), in-depth, redesigned brand and property profiles, powerful comparison reports and deal management tools, along with a slew of other benefits.

The update included the following enhancements:

Comparison reports

Compare any brand, category, property, league, person, or social platform against one another to see how well they engage audiences.

TikTok metrics

Track influencers, athletes, teams, and media companies on social media’s buzziest platform to discover emerging trends, new content, and potential partners.

Social rank & growth metrics

Access real-time growth trends for influencers, athletes, and celebrities, as well as social platform performance, to unearth the most marketable talent and tactics.

Deal analysis

Learn where companies are investing across platforms, properties, and top markets to better grasp your own investment opportunities, and filter to compare deal portfolios of potential partners and competitors.

Comprehensive deal structure breakout

Review the structure and complete details of deals to craft the ultimate partnership.

Open opportunities

Instantly identify top partnership prospects based on your specific needs and criteria. A simplified way to pinpoint the whitespace.

Keyword search for trending terms and phrases

Keep up with relevant deals, creative, and themes–with the ability to search by any word–and be inspired by trending terms in real-time.

A turnkey system for activity and contact management

Seamlessly track any company and manage your sales pipeline, export activity, and contacts through Deal Tracker.

The Financial category is made up of many sectors and the Banking sub-category makes up nearly 35% of the financial brands buying sponsorship / media. On average, digital media and social media make up the majority of the assets within Banking brand deals, 38% and 36% respectively. PNC Bank, Citibank & Capital One are the top three brands in terms of their number of sponsorship deals.

So which markets are Banking brands most likely to target and why?

There are over 70 Banking deals in the New York market which puts the Empire State in first place. Provident Bank, Investors Bank & Chase are the top three brands in this market. 40 brands make up the over 70 deals with 15 of the 40 having multiple deals in the market.

The next two on the list are Boston & Philadelphia where each have over 60 deals ranking #2 & #3 respectively. In Boston, TD Bank is the top brand with five deals, Digital Federal Credit Union ties Bank of America for 2nd, each with three deals. Although based in Toronto, Canada, TD Bank has multiple deals in all of the top three markets.

Within these top three markets there are a few brands that standout given their vast venue naming rights deals across Major Pro Sports. Citibank has a deal with the New York Mets venue which adorns the name Citi Field. Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia is home to the Phillies and the TD Garden in Boston is where the Celtics & Bruins play.

For the last 12 years, Turkish Airlines has been the exclusive title sponsor for the EuroLeague’s competition. While the exclusive title sponsor spot is taken, other brands like adidas, BKT, Spalding and 7days carry a large presence all over Europe during the games. For some brands, a partnership just for the Final Four is enough. Technogym and Acibadem have deals only at the season’s end and provide technical equipment and services to the teams.

The EuroLeague has been deemed the most important basketball tournament in Europe which includes the best teams throughout Europe. The league, a semi-closed league, consists of 18 teams competing to qualify to the Final Four which leads to being crowned the champions of Europe. This year the final stage is set in Belgrade, Serbia, in the Stark Arena.

The four teams competing for the title are the reigning champion, Anadolu Efes, who are looking to bring the title back to Turkey. The Spanish giants, Real Madrid and Barcelona, who bring the national rivalry to the international sphere. Finally, Olympiacos qualified second in the regular season to make the Final Four.

Off the court, Real Madrid ranks #1 in terms of social media following in the EuroLeague with 18M followers across all platforms, a sizeable lead over FC Barcelona ranked #2 with just over 3.5M. Anadolu Efes and Olympaicos rank #6 and #7 respectively within the EuroLeague.

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.

Family Influencer accounts (4)

A beer brewed in Mexico, Dos Equis stays close to their roots having over 35 sponsorship or media deals just across the border in southwestern United States. Dos Equis' largest deal in terms of the number of sponsorship assets is with the NBA's Phoenix Suns. In this deal, the brand has naming rights to the beer garden inside of the arena, as well as digital signage during games.

However, NCAA earns the spotlight in terms of deals with Dos Equis.

The Mexican beer has partnership deals with five NCAA Bowls and Tourneys including the Rose Bowl and the Playstation Fiesta Bowl. The brand also has deals with over 15 NCAA Schools and Conferences like the NCAA Football Champions, the Georgia Bulldogs, and The Big Ten Conference.

Aside from Official Sponsorship status, Concourse Signage is in almost 40% of all of the brands sponsorship deals. Venue Entitlements is included in 25% of all sponsorship deals like the Cool Zone in partnership with the Texas A&M Aggies.

Even with more than 30 sponsorship deals, the import and domestic beer category has many brands with even more partnerships. Dos Equis falls in the top 15 in the category which is led by Bud Light.

Dos Equis Brand Spotlight

The year of Cryptocurrency continues in the sponsorship world as numerous new deals continue to get signed. Nearly 30% of the top 30 most searched brands on the SponsorUnited platform continued to be from the Crypto category. From the #2805 spot to #1 spot, Coinmotion was in motion last month and in the news recently due to their involvement with Bitcoin donations to Ukraine. With sponsorship execs shining the spotlight on this brand, it will be interesting to see if sponsorship deals follow.

FlexIt Fitness has seen a 361% increase month over month in search data after signing their first Major Pro Sports deal with the Florida Panthers at the end of March. So what was included in the deal?

Designated the Official Virtual Fitness Partner of the Florida Panthers, assets included in the deal are: in-person activations, venue signage, promotion sponsor, entertainment related content with the  “FlexIt Flexcam” as well as having trainers outside the stadium getting the heart rate of fans up with exercises outdoors.

Signing a first-of-its-kind deal within the MLB, Motorola will become the Jersey Patch partner for the San Diego Padres. The deal adds to Motorola's growing list of sponsors having over 25 deals, up over 75% since 2020.

Within the top 100 most searched brands, the Financial category leads the way by a wide margin having 22 brands land on the list. The QSR and Technology categories are tied for 2nd with 9 each.

2022 Brand Power Rankings

With the NFL Draft in Las Vegas, Nevada throughout the weekend, many brands headquartered in the city have been actively buying sponsorship or media. With over 350 total deals in the top 10 alone, there are plenty of possibilities to connect with a brand headquartered in the city. SponsorUnited has compiled a list of the brands most active, which are they?

  • Rockstar Energy Drink
  • WynnBet
  • MGM Resorts International
  • Las Vegas Tourism
  • Allegiant Air
  • Universal Windows Direct
  • Credit One Bank
  • Resorts World Las Vegas
  • Aria Resorts & Casino
  • Caesars Entertainment

Rockstar Energy Drink leads the way with over 70 deals while each brand on the list has over 15. Although headquartered in Las Vegas, the brand seeks partnerships across the United States and even globally with deals in Canada as well as Germany.

Signing one of the largest deals of the group was Allegiant Air, securing Venue Naming Rights for the Las Vegas Raiders when their stadium opened. The stadium is now known as Allegiant Stadium. Along with Naming Rights the brand has over 25 sponsorship assets with the team including Club Naming Rights, App Presenting Sponsor, Entertainment Related Content among many more.

Environmental Causes

April 21, 2022

Over 280 brands across all properties in the last 12 months have signed partnerships with the goal of supporting environmental causes. Not surprisingly, the Construction & Industrial and Utilities categories are the top two supporting this cause respectively.

Which other brands support the cause and how are they doing so?

adidas leads the way with over 15 deals supporting Environmental Causes while Coca-Cola has the second most deals with a total over ten deals. Coke has partnered with properties in more than five different leagues supporting this initiative. Within these partnerships, Coca-Cola can be seen on the video board or concourse throughout the stadiums urging fans to recycle.

Waste Management, the top brand in the Construction & Industrial category, has over five deals within the NHL & MLB. A partner of the Montreal Canadiens, Waste Management sponsors the “Goal is Green” campaign for the team. The brands’s green initiatives are within four main areas: biodegradation, composting & recycling, energy saving, and transportation.

A few other brands have had notable sustainability partnerships. Constellation Energy & the Chicago Blackhawks teamed up to give the first 10,000 fans in attendance to a game a reusable metal straw. Maple Leaf Foods partnered with the Toronto Raptors for every Raptors block on the court, the team and Maple Leaf Foods will plant 50 trees.

With the GEICO 500 NASCAR Cup Series race taking place this weekend, we take a look at GEICO's sponsorship and media activity outside of the big race.

GEICO has 300+ sponsorship deals across 80+ different leagues/associations.

Geico Brand Spotlight

SalesUniversity

April 20, 2022

Earlier last month, SponsorUnited launched SalesUniversity, a 20-week program designed to pave the way and open doors for the next great generation of sponsorship sellers.

In servicing all sides of the industry, SponsorUnited has seen the need from rights-holders to find better trained entry-level sponsorship sales talent and a need from entry-level sales candidates to gain more in-depth experience, technical training and ultimately, job opportunities.

Because of this, we're thrilled to announce the launch of an elite new program to develop and nurture the next generation of sponsorship sales professionals.

SalesUniversity offers experience, mentorship, networking, technical skills, and role playing with the ultimate goal of unlocking the next wave of sales talent for the sports, esports & entertainment industries.

In this 20-week training program, team members will learn to navigate the complex world of sponsorship selling from best-in-class industry leaders and partners.

We are committed to the growth and success of young sales professionals. If you know anyone interested in getting their foot in the door in sponsorship selling, this program is the perfect fit.

To learn more about the program and how students or young industry professionals can apply, visit SponsorUniversity.com/SalesUniversity or email us at partners@SponsorUnited.com.

As the Cannabis industry grows around the US and across the world, the brands buying sponsorship / media has increased by 132% since 2020. The top brands within the Cannabis category are Beam Organics, cbdMD & 3Chi respectively, while cbdMD, Mendi& CBDMedic are the most searched brands by sponsorship executives on the SponsorUnited platform.

Which CDB brands in ‘22 have been the most active in signing new partnerships?

Apr '22 - Craft 1861 extended their global sports partnership portfolio into motorcycle racing by naming MotoGP its Wellness Partner, as well as announcing a deal with Pramac Racing. The multi-year deal is the first of its kind in Motorsport.

Feb '22 - Spartan partnered with Gameday CBD as their Official CBD Partner for the 2022 race season. The partnership will focus on digital content within their social media platforms, the Spartan website. It will also have in- person interactions such as product sampling at obstacle course racing events.

Jan '22 - 3CHI teamed up with Richard Childress Racing and Tyler Reddick's No. 8 Car for the NASCAR Cup Series team in 2022, the first category-specific team partnership in NASCAR.

Cannabis Category Report

New York International Auto Week begins today with an estimated attendance of over 1M. 25 manufacturers are expected to make appearances during the week across five different car categories- convertibles, coupes, crossovers, electric, and fuel cell. Toyota has the most total deals of all brands attending, followed by Ford Motor Company, Nissan, and Hyundai Motor.

Toyota’s partnership portfolio spans across +120 different property types, including all five Major Pro Sports leagues. Additionally, Toyota also holds Venue Naming Rights for eight different properties like the Houston Rockets (Toyota Center) and FC Dallas (Toyota Stadium) just to name a few. Even with the most partnerships of any auto manufacturer, Toyota continues to trend upwards, partnering with +34% more properties since 2020.

Keep an eye out for Toyota in both the New York International Auto Show and the partnership scene.

Auto Week

Resorts World Las Vegas leverages resort branding and social channels among other assets to partner with a variety of brands across 15+ categories.

Their portfolio includes notable deals with The Coca-Cola Company, Allergan Aesthetics, Therabody, The Wendy's Company, and Wrangler.

Resorts World Las Vegas Property Spotlight (Landscape) (1)
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