Power Brokers: Sports Leagues & Next-Gen Athletes

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Sports business is booming in the digital era with big money pouring into partnership deals, content access, and athlete endorsements (professional and NIL “Name, Image, Likeness” deals). The most recent example saw the NFL’s Sunday Ticket US rights move to Google/YouTube starting in 2023 for $14 billion, which comes on the heels of this season’s streaming deal with Amazon for Thursday Night Football. This is just the beginning.

Using data from E-Score Brand and E-Score Celebrity, we evaluate and track sports league/athlete equity and illustrate the powerful media potential they bring to consumers.

The Big 4 vs. Sports League Category Average

*Among P 13-54
*E-Score Brand data from June 2022 to November 2022
*To qualify, minimum sample size of n=75+ who are aware of each brand
  • The NFLNBA, and MLB exceed the sports league category average for critical KPIs such as awareness, affinity, competitive standing, and consumer halo effect.
  • The NHL has strong brand recognition that has only been boosted by the availability of games via streaming on ESPN+ and Yahoo. Will these additional viewing avenues help the league boost affinity and improve perceptions among general consumers?
  • Two niche sports brands, Bellator MMA and F1, show growth potential with affinity scores that exceed the average, although building awareness is the major roadblock for both brands.
    • F1 has built some momentum in the U.S. thanks to the Netflix series Formula 1: Drive to Survive, the announced 2023 third American race set for Las Vegas, and a Brad Pitt-Lewis Hamilton F1 film in development at Apple. 
    • Bellator MMA has carved out a dedicated fan base thanks to unique showcase events such as the one that took place on New Year’s Eve, which pitted top fighters from Bellator against top fighters from a rival promotion Rizin. These fan-friendly events offer a fun alternative to the sport’s current leader the UFC.

Partnership Value: NFL x Microsoft

The partnership between the NFL and Microsoft is a recipe that makes sense as seen by how the two category leaders complement each other so well among 18-54 sports viewers. 

Brand Alignment: Both brands complement each other well, exceeding their respective averages across 11 positive attributes and brand connection statements.

*Both brands exceed the average for each metric by 5+ percentage points

NFL Boost: The NFL offers a competitive advantage, strong consumer connection, and strong trial interest in new offerings – all of which would benefit Microsoft (average or below average for all three metrics).

Microsoft Boost: Implementing Microsoft’s tech throughout the league via Surface devices, apps, servers, etc. has proven beneficial to the league’s shift to a digital future.

*Among P 18-54 with interest in sports programs
*E-Score Brand data is from November 2022
*Brand connection statements = Top 2 Box agreement (Agree Strongly/Somewhat)

Tracking Next-Gen Athletes

July 2021 marked a huge change for the NCAA with all student-athletes being allowed to monetize their NIL (name, image, likeness) . NIL brand sponsorship or media deals for athletes jumped 102% in 2022 and will continue to increase going forward**. 

With E-Score Celebrity, we can help you build a profile on these emerging stars and monitor their trajectory over time as they build their name recognition. The following is a list of some emerging athletes 21 and under (amateur and professional) that we are currently tracking who are widely expected to make an impact in the years to come.

*Among P 13+
*Data for athletes listed above is from December 2022
**SOURCE: https://www.sportspromedia.com/news/sports-sponsorship-2022-mlb-nfl-nil-alex-morgan-rayquan-smith-sponsorunited/
***SOURCE: https://www.si.com/college/texas/football/longhorns-arch-manning-nil-money-cash-value-earnings-commitment-steve-sarkisian 
  • Alabama’s star quarterback, Bryce Young, is slated to be a top 10 pick in the 2023 NFL draft. The 2021 Heisman Trophy winner was quick to cash in with NIL deals that include Celsius Drink, Beats by Dre, Nissan, and Dr. Pepper to name a few.
  • Arch Manning (nephew of Peyton and Eli) isn’t even in college yet, but he’s already being dubbed the face of NIL thanks to his football royalty bloodlines, top high school quarterback ranking, and committing to play for a football blue blood program in the Texas Longhorns. This commitment boosted his potential NIL value to $3.4 million***.

As the sports business continues to defy gravity, athlete endorsements and media partnerships are becoming more relevant in the diversification of sports leagues and their products. Using E-Score Brand and E-Score Celebrity, you can use our data to continue analyzing how various athletes are benefitting from this new direction.

The E-Score Platform

Our E-Score Platform gives you TrendsEndorsement ScoresSocial Media BuzzNPSFan Scores, and much more based on the product or products. When E-Score products are paired, advertisers, brands and the creative community own a powerful interface allowing them fine tune their content and campaigns.

How do our clients use the E-Score Platform?

Your suite platform includes the E-Score products below which are designed to work harmoniously to provide the answers marketing, network and advertising executives rely on.

Depending on your specific needs, you can simply purchase a single E-Score, license an individual product, or gain access to the suite options below: 

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