Brands Continue to Ride the Football Bandwagon

Football continues to be the ‘go-to’ sport for global brands who want to advertise their goods and services to a broader audience.

According to a report by media outlet SportsPro, nine of the top 10 most marketed brands in sport have a strong presence within football.

The study assessed sponsorship value by tracking the social activity of prominent professional athletes, teams and leagues across more than 500,000 accounts.

Two key metrics were examined – potential value and promotion quality – which are multiplied together to determine a discounted Adjusted Ad Value (AAV).

Social and digital posts were monitored for brand promotions for the 12-month period starting on August 1, 2019.

Over 25,000 sports organisations and athletes posted during this period, promoting more than 7,000 brands across popular digital platforms.

Nike, Emirates and adidas were the top three brands to be endorsed, with Red Bull and Santander rounding off the top five.

Football’s dominance from a marketing perspective was further highlighted by the fact that 19 of the top 20 brands on the list are significantly invested in the sport.

Of the top 50 brands on the list, 35 came from four broad industries – apparel & accessories, automotive, beverage and financial.

The importance of football for brands can also be seen by the number of players listed towards the top of the World’s 50 Most Marketable Athletes.

Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are unsurprisingly top of the pile, with Neymar, Mohamed Salah and Paulo Dybala also included in the top 10.

The study showed that 15 of the top 50 are footballers, with five of those currently plying their trade in the Premier League.

The methodology used draws on vast amounts of social media data to generate an Athlete Influencer Score comprising four key data points – relevance, reach, return and resonance.

More than 6,000 athletes from 21 sports were analysed to provide a clear picture of the factors that significantly impact social campaigns and to inform future marketing decisions.

Football’s influence on advertising can also be pinpointed in the rankings for the Most Marketable Properties in the world, with seven of the top 10 either a competition, league or club operating in the sport.

These include the World Cup, Champions League and Premier League, while Real Madrid and Manchester United were amongst the clubs in the top 10.

More than 30,000 people were surveyed each month across 18 of the largest markets worldwide, to determine their behaviours and emotions towards the properties and how they react to the respective sponsors.

Over 250,000 people between the ages of 13 and 64 influenced the list, which saw a total of 185 global sports properties measured.

Seven key metrics were considered – engagement, intensity, momentum, passion, excitement, purchase consideration and favourability.

The World Cup led the way in all but one of the metrics to finish comfortably ahead of the Summer Olympic Games and the NBA.

Football’s biggest tournament added more than $14 billion to the local economy for the 2018 edition in Russia, with the games attracting a worldwide audience of over 3.7bn fans all platforms.

Brands such as adidas, Coca-Cola and Qatar Airways all hold lucrative multi-year deals as World Cup partners and feature in the top 50 Most Marketed Brands in sport.

The women’s version of FIFA’s flagship competition also highlighted football’s worldwide appeal, ranking 13th overall in the 50 Most Marketable Properties.

A record-breaking 1.12bn people tuned in across all platforms for France 2019, demonstrating the global appeal of women’s international football.

However, it remains to be seen whether this success can be replicated at club level in the face of such stiff competition from the men’s game.