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As any coach will tell you, the team name on the front of a shirt is more important than the player name on the back. But it is in the name of the sponsor that the money is.
SponsorUnited, a software-as-a-service platform that provides analytics on the sponsorship industry, closed a $35 million Series A funding round on Monday. The good news is that many big advertisers are scaling back their marketing efforts to meet recession-ridden consumer demand.
For the love of the game
In September, advertising spending in the United States fell 5% compared to the same period last year, continuing a four-month decline. Despite the likely harbinger of more economic trouble to come, SponsorUnited managed to land a massive investment from growth firm Spectrum Equity at a valuation “north” of $100 million.
Bob Lynch told TechCrunch that while working as an executive for the Miami Dolphins, he realized the sponsorship industry was complex and lacked transparency. He had questions like “who sponsors whom” and “how much should brands pay sponsors”, but the answers weren’t easy to find. Via SponsorUnited Lynch proposes to create a “Bloomberg terminal of marketing partnerships” which will shed light on the opaque world of sports and entertainment sponsorships.
And with the global sports sponsorship market expected to grow by $45 billion by 2026, demand for SponsorUnited is likely to increase:
- MLB’s 30 teams generated $1.2 billion in sponsorship revenue last season, a 6% increase from 2021, and that’s expected to skyrocket next season. In an update that would have caused George Steinbrenner to drop his calzone, the league will allow advertising on jerseys and helmets starting next year, making athletes look more like NASCAR drivers than ballplayers .
- Coming out of the pandemic, the NBA also relaxed its sponsorship rules, and now teams can sell advertising space on the front of jerseys and basketball hoops, and can have 10 international sponsors, down from the previous three. . For the 2021-22 season, the league saw sponsorship jump 12.5% to $1.65 billion, representing about 20% of overall revenue.
Power play: The sponsors of the World Cup in Qatar would probably prefer a little less transparency. A litany of human rights controversies was not enough to keep most advertisers away from the event or change their marketing strategy. However, Lucozade, the British soda company which sponsors the England football team, has removed its logos from the team’s water bottles for the duration of the tournament. Sip this for a while, Gianni Infantino.