The NFL has long been a revenue-generating powerhouse. Now, the sporting juggernaut has reached yet another milestone: NFL sponsorship revenue rose over 4 percent during the 2022 season, reaching a record $1.88 billion.
This dramatic jump in revenue is thanks to a number of changes in how the league, teams, and brands are working together—including new sponsorship strategies and tools that help them get the most out of their investments.
We'll explore just how the NFL sponsorship landscape has evolved, take a look into some of the innovative approaches brands are using to maximize their sponsorship partnerships, and examine how brands are leveraging powerful platforms to effectively measure their ROI.
The Evolution of NFL Sponsorships
Few things slip by the close watch of passionate NFL fans, but it’s likely that many didn’t notice just how much the NFL sponsorship landscape has evolved over the years.
Although they likely slipped under the eyes of fans, these changes were deliberate, strategic moves that have slowly shifted how brands interact with teams and their players. Two of the most prominent include:
- A national approach: A move from a team-centric approach to one that has expanded to offer a national and international reach.
- Multi-platform engagement: Brands are no longer limited to game day visibility, but also have a presence across various online platforms and social media, enabling them to engage with a global audience in between matchups.
This evolution has only made NFL sponsorship more highly competitive, allowing the NFL and its teams to offer a wide array of sponsorship types—from official soft drink sponsors to event partners.
5 Ways Brands Are Leveraging NFL Sponsorships in New Ways
This evolution in NFL sponsorship has led to some new marketing programs and brand approaches, including:
1. Embracing Individual Players
In addition to team sponsorships, brands are now focusing on individual player endorsements. This approach enhances brand visibility, driving engagement with both fans and consumers. It also fosters authenticity and trust with fans, allowing for more targeted marketing, diverse messaging, and a stronger emotional connection.
2. Aligning Brand Values with Team Values
As fans and consumers expect more from the brands they support, sponsors are ensuring that the values and personalities of the teams they partner with align with their own. This alignment fosters a deeper connection between brands and their target audience.
3. Integrating Logos into Team Branding
Brands are increasingly integrating their logos with team branding, creating strong mental associations on and off the field. This approach helps establish a distinct identity, foster recognition, and connect with fans and consumers. It also creates visual associations that set brands apart and make them memorable while enhancing the fan experience.
4. Delivering Targeted Ads
In leveraging NFL partnerships, brands are also delivering personalized and targeted advertisements to consumers. This enhances the consumer experience and increases the effectiveness of advertising campaigns by allowing for more personalization, driving conversions and building long-term brand loyalty.
5. Empowering Fan-Driven Content Creation
Finally, brands are more actively involving fans in the sponsorship process by encouraging them to create and share content related to the NFL and the sponsored brand. User-generated content campaigns, challenges, and contests showcase fan creativity and passion for the sport. This not only enhances brand reach but also builds authenticity and emotional connections, creating a community of brand advocates.
How a Sponsorship Analysis Platform Can Drive These Partnerships
To optimize this broader portfolio of NFL and team sponsorship engagements, brands are increasingly turning toward sponsorship analysis platforms to help monitor and track the ROI of their marketing.
One leading platform, Relo Metrics, provides near real-time data-driven insights and analytics to help both teams and brands make tactical and strategic decisions on where, when, and how to integrate branding and messaging across a range of platforms. The insights derived from Relo Metrics help brands understand the effectiveness of their partnerships, track engagement, and identify what works and what needs adjustment on a day-to-day basis.
Bringing It All Together
Today, you can find NFL fans around the world engaging with their favorite teams across a wide range of platforms. That means brands need a proven way to stay ahead of the game, maximize their investments, and tap into the data they need to deliver targeted, impactful content that reaches the right audience with the right message.
This is exactly what Relo Metrics is designed to deliver. We’re excited for you to see just how our platform can help your brand make data-driven decisions and improve its sponsorship strategies.
Want to see Relo’s platform in action? Then we encourage you to check out how Relo Metrics helped Stanley Black & Decker save $1.3 million in sponsorship value in our case study: