While the Bills’ championship sales prospects received some support at last week’s licensing show in Las Vegas, the licensing industry was shooting wide for a Packers-Chiefs Super Bowl, which would have been a replay of the Super Bowl I (AFL–NFL World Championship Game). After the divisional round results, there’s only one clear choice among licensed t-shirt and hat distributors: shoot for the Rams and believe in the power of the local market where the Super will be played. Bowl. There aren’t many Rams fans in Los Angeles yet, but there are definitely more than a month ago. Half of those will be gone if the 49ers beat them for the third time in 10 weeks in the NFC Championship on Sunday.
“My definition of total waste is a boatload of lawyers going over a cliff, with three empty seats” – Former Chiefs owner and Hall of Famer Lamar Hunt, who is credited with the Super Bowl name.
American sports fans are increasingly receptive to messaging and engagement from sports sponsors, according to MKTG’s latest ongoing decoding study.
In an online survey of 24,000 fans in 20 countries on five continents last summer, the study concluded that since 2017, “attitudes and engagement with sponsors have increased significantly in the United States , despite dwindling on-site events during the pandemic. . . Not only has fan sentiment towards sponsors improved over this five-year period, but the number of fans engaging with brands has increased. is also enhanced, with sponsors finding new ways to engage through social and digital channels.”
The paucity of live events due to the pandemic has seen 30% fewer fans engage with sponsors through experiential marketing compared to four years prior. However, fans interacting with sponsors’ cause-related marketing efforts increased by 42% over the same period; while social media efforts took the second biggest leap among sponsors, with engagement growing 28% since 2017’s survey of the year.
Doug Hall, senior vice president/chief consulting officer of MKTG, says young fans’ openness to sponsor efforts was one of the most surprising findings of the survey. For example, 59% of 18-34 year olds in the United States said they were “more likely to purchase products or services from companies that sponsor my favorite sports and entertainment events.” This compares to 54% of all adults.
When asked about their general outlook, 41% of fans worldwide said they had a “somewhat positive” view of the future; 26% were neutral; 15% were somewhat negative; 14% were very positive; while 4% were very negative. Geography is a determining factor here: 50% of North Americans said things would be “back to normal” within six months; 60% of Asians agreed; as well as 69% from the Middle East; 43% from South America; and only 30% of Europeans.
Hall also noted that esports is fertile ground for sponsors. The study found that 55% of esports fans were receptive to sponsor activities, compared to 37% of sports fans. “Early in the life cycle of any emerging sport, fans know that sponsors are critical to the growth and development of any new property, so they’re much more open,” Hall said. “Potential sponsors have to weigh that level of greed against the scope, size and expense of something big, like the NFL.”
Molly Arbogast’s POV Sports Marketing has been chosen as the go-to sports agency for Rothman Orthopedics. The Philadelphia health issue has local sponsorships with the Eagles, Phillies, and 76ers, as well as St. Joseph’s, Villanova, and the Big East Conference in the college ranks (as well as the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association).
Rothman has never used a sports agency before. This is the first healthcare account for POV, which also operates Wawa, Firstrust Bank and the Stroehmann brand of Bimbo Bakeries. POV Director Casey Cardillo will run the account. Rothman, which bills itself as America’s largest private orthopedic practice, said POV “will manage and activate [sponsorships] … across its growing geographic footprint, as well as providing strategic advice in future brand partnerships.”
The NFL has just promoted a trio of executives to its sponsorship group. Heather Brigham, who leads accounts such as Amazon Web Services, Anheuser-Busch InBev and FedEx, moved from director to senior director of partnership management, as did David Cohen, who leads large accounts like Procter & Gamble, Verizon and Visa.
Mike Minnella also rose from senior executive to director of business development.
- Ten brands accounted for nearly all of the $304 million spent on NFL in-game ads across all networks during the regular season, up 74% from last year, notes my colleague John Ourand. DirecTV Stream was the biggest spender. Its $125 million in ad sales is as much as the next five companies in the category. CBS (51%) took the lion’s share of DirecTV Stream’s campaign, with NBC (17%), Fox (16%) and ESPN (16%) splitting the remainder.
- BetMGM CEO Adam Greenblatt predicted the likely slowdown in the runaway promotional spending train, which has sportsbooks suspended for up to $5,000 in refunds on a first bet by a new customer, notes SBJ’s Bill King. “What we’ll see is a path to a streamlined promotional environment,” Greenblatt said. “And that could happen within this year. I think we may have another round of NFL exuberance ahead of us. But certainly over time – maybe I’m old fashioned but capital is rational Money is rational.
- Agency and team sellers are reporting higher levels of activity from brands wanting to enter F1 or current sponsors wanting to add more resources to their offerings, reports SBJ’s Adam Stern. McLaren is a team that has added a long list of US-based sponsors in recent years under CEO Zak Brown, and the team is seeing more momentum than ever in talks with US companies, according to Nick Martin , McLaren Group Director of Partnership Development.
- Thrill One Sports & Entertainment reached a major milestone last week when it announced its first portfolio-wide sponsorship, a landmark two-year deal worth $12-15 million with energy drink maker A SHOC which will align the brand across all Thrill One properties. , including Nitro Circus, Nitro Rallycross and Street League Skateboarding, writes SBJ’s Chris Smith. The deal, which includes a rights fee and $1 million in A SHOC stock, is considered the largest by average annual value in action sports history.
- The Rocket League Championship Series is for the first time allowing any of its participating esports teams to add a sponsor brand to a car sticker that players can purchase, as Zippo has reached an agreement for the brand more light appears on Pittsburgh Knights cars, SBJ’s Trent Murray reports. Zippo will become the first team sponsor to achieve such in-game branding.