Top League Partners Getting Most Value Two Months into 2020

Hundreds of brands have their hand in sponsoring different NBA athletes, teams, and the league. With all of the value the world of sports sponsorship has to offer, the ability to quantify that value is becoming increasingly important. Here is a look into the top brands being promoted by the NBA, the teams, or the players through the first two months of 2020. 

From a sports marketer’s perspective, the most relevant metric to consider is the value being generated for your brand. Adjusted Ad Value measures the promotion value for your brand generated from branded posts by partners, including athletes, teams, and the NBA. To little surprise, NBA jersey sponsor Nike is dominating early in the year with $143 million in brand value received in the first 2 months. That value was more than double State Farm’s $58 million with 99% of Nike’s value coming from logo exposure as opposed to text promotions (posts that include @Nike or #justdoit or other branded tags). Nearly every highlight created exposure for Nike as their Swoosh is on every jersey in the league.

State Farm received the second most value so far this year by being one of the NBA’s primary partners. State Farm sponsored the NBA’s Rising Stars game which drove a tremendous amount of social media engagement. The insurance brand was also featured as the principal sponsor of the State Farm All-Star Saturday Night 2020, which included the Dunk Contest. 


Gatorade managed to rank 3rd in total value with nearly $36 million, despite having fewer properties posting about them and fewer total branded posts than brands such as Spalding, Nike, or State Farm. Though Gatorade is not in the top 10 beverage brands in terms of brand followers with only 8.4M, the posts about Gatorade by NBA players, teams, and the league drove 90M engagements. As the official sports drink of the league, the brand is featured prominently around the benches, giving the Bolt additional exposure beyond simple advertisements.


As the official timekeeper of the NBA, Tissot gains a lot of brand exposure as well as value by being represented under all NBA shot clocks. Logo exposure accounts for 81% of Tissot’s $16.7M of AAV generated, placing the brand 6th in AAV among all brands promoted across the NBA so far this year.The high logo quality in posts such as this one are extremely valuable. 


Beyond endemic sponsors, the finance industry has multiple brands heavily invested in the NBA, the teams, and players. All of the top 5 brands in the financial segment have received nearly $2 Million or more through the first 2 months of the year. Chase ($2.7M), TD Bank ($2.5M), and Wells Fargo ($2.4M) rank 1-3, respectively. These brands each have their name on an arena within the NBA. Chase Center is home to the Golden State Warriors, the TD Garden hosts the Boston Celtics, and the Philadelphia 76ers play in the Wells Fargo Center.


Two other brands gained high AAV through their naming rights on stadiums as Staples dominated the retail segment with nearly $10 Million in AAV while retail giant Target received $1.1M. Staples has had their name on one of the most recognizable arenas in the world, the home to the Los Angeles Lakers and LA Clippers, for over 20 years. The court visibility in the countless Lakers and Clippers highlights help drive value for the brand.


Additional Metrics To Watch

Total Maximum Ad Value (MAV) determines how much value these branded posts could have driven. Capitalizing on as much MAV as possible is a key determinant of how well these brands are being promoted. KIA Motors appeared in the top 5 brand in terms of Max Ad Value and, impressively, realized nearly half (46%) of that MAV as Adjusted Ad Value (or actual brand value). Compare that to Spalding or Tissot, both of which only realized less than ⅓ the potential brand value generated by partners due to the partners not promoting the brand in the best way. Similar to Gatorade, KIA’s most valuable posts came from the NBA themselves. KIA’s logo is what drove them the most value as it appeared multiple times in high volume posts such as the NBA all-star game promotion 

While follower numbers are valuable, the amount of posts about these brands on social media is also hugely important. Nike was the brand that received the most posts about it with over 22k posts promoting the sports apparel giant, nearly 3x that of State Farm, the leading competitor. Nike had 203 different athletes, teams, and leagues promoting the Swoosh while State Farm only had 73. Another brand competing in total brand posts is Spalding, the official ball supplier of the NBA, with 4,679 branded posts from 110 different athletes and teams promoting the brand. These three brands convincingly had the most branded posts about them in the first 2 months of the year. With the most posts and properties promoting them, Nike, State Farm, and Spalding ranked 1, 2, and 3 in total interactions as well. One interesting brand in the top 15 was Wish with over 34 million interactions despite only having 19 athletes and teams promoting the global e-commerce platform. This shows the value Wish has in partners such as the Lakers. 

The role of sponsorship is monumentous in generating value for a brand. Brands are able to gain exposure, awareness, and value from the athletes, teams, and leagues they choose to sponsor. That value continues to grow as the world of sponsorship evolves. The NBA understands that value and enables many brands to take advantage of it. Some of the most valuable posts were by the NBA itself promoting some of its biggest partners. This is a perfect example of what works in brand promotion. These are all valuable pieces of information that help outline what the year of 2020 has to offer for sports sponsorship. 

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