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March’s Hottest Brands Have Arrived!

April 2, 2024

As March’s end heralds the first signs of spring—while March Madness continues into April, reaching a fever pitch as the Final Four square off this weekend—let’s take a look at the most searched brands by sponsorship executives last month.

Tiger Balm topped our list following the March 6th announcement of its multiyear partnership with the United Soccer League—encompassing the USL Championship, League One, and pre-professional leagues, and underscoring the world’s leading topical pain reliever’s commitment to enhancing player experiences and celebrating athletes’ recovery from injuries. As part of the deal, Tiger Balm will become the presenting partner of the USL's 2024 Comeback Player of the Year Award in both the Championship and League One, honoring players who’ve overcome adversity in the prior season and made a triumphant return to sport in the current one. The analgesic powerhouse will also provide product to teams, and showcase the brand via fan engagement initiatives throughout the season.

With the red-hot NIL industry seeming to expand by the day as news of notable deals continues fast and furious, brands are eagerly leveraging college tournaments’ heightened visibility and viewership to seize the spotlight. Case in point: newly launched organic sports drink maker RECOVER 180, which earned the 5th spot on our list after partnering with Duke guard Jared McCain during March Madness to become his exclusive hydration source. The Sacramento-born sensation and likely ACC Freshman of the Year joins the buzzy brand’s fast-growing stable of all-star athlete endorsers, including the San Francisco 49ers’ Brock Purdy, the LA Clippers’ James Harden, and the Denver Nuggets’ Michael Porter Jr.

Speaking of well-timed link-ups, Gainbridge landed in 11th place on the announcement that it had named Iowa Hawkeyes phenom Caitlin Clark as a brand ambassador in a multiyear sponsorship on March 5th––two days after Clark shattered Pete Maravich’s longstanding record to become the all-time leading scorer in NCAA Division 1 basketball history. 

The Indianapolis-based online insurance platform––which counts tennis legend Billie Jean King and golf great Annika Sörenstam among its other standout spokespeople—is also naming rights partner of the Gainbridge Fieldhouse, home to both the Indiana Pacers and the Indiana Fever, which is widely expected to select Clark as the No. 1 pick in the 2024 WNBA draft on April 16th. Monday night’s rematch of last year’s women’s championship faceoff between Iowa and LSU, in which Clark scored 41 points, drew over 12M viewers (more than last year’s World Series and NBA Finals’ averages)— making it the most-watched college basketball game ever on ESPN platforms. 

Meanwhile, sandwich chain Jersey Mike’s ranked 25th following its 14th annual “Month of Giving” in Marc—raising a record-breaking $25M this year for over 200 local charities nationwide. Jersey Mike's locations accepted donations throughout the month in the lead-up to the company's “Day of Giving” on March 27th, when more than 2,700 restaurants donated 100% of sales to hospitals, youth organizations, food banks, and other worthy causes. Jersey Mike's surpassed the $100M mark with this year’s haul, bringing its total to $113M since “Month of Giving” began in 2011.

Other notable partnership news in March:

  • #2 College Ave Student Loans—Official Student Loan Partner of 3 MLS teams (Chicago Fire, New England Revolution, and Houston Dynamo)
  • #7 SunGod—Official Eyewear Licensee for F1 team, Williams Racing 
  • #16 Delta Air Lines—Extended multi-year partnership with the New York Mets
  • #18 Centripetal—Official Cyber Network Security Partner for the Boston Red Sox
  • #22 Wendy's—Official QSR Breakfast Partner of the New York City FC
  • #29 Nature Made—Official Vitamin of USA Pickleball
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