Nielsen Sports, a global leader in sponsorship analytics and fan intelligence, has released “Fans are Changing the Game,” its 2022 Global Sports Marketing Report.
Report reveals new behaviors fans have adopted during the pandemic to connect with the sports and teams they follow, whether through increased social media activity, betting, co-watching, or more . The report describes how Nielsen predicts that “Fandom” in 2022 will impact sports sponsorship models, content distribution, the rise of crypto, esports and women’s sports.
To download the full report, go HERE.
This new report will help contextualize the value of sports partnerships, helping brands and sports properties predict the future value of media assets and the return on investment of marketing investments.
Some of the key findings from the Nielsen Sports report detail how a fan’s viewing experience has changed. With the growth of connected devices, 40.7% of sports fans worldwide are now streaming live sports through digital platforms. This, in turn, has led to the increase in over-the-top (OTT) media rights, which includes a 19% jump for Europe’s top football leagues over the past two years at local level, and an increase 31% forecast for ATP Tour men’s tennis until 2023.
Demand for content overall remains high with non-event broadcasts, such as highlights, recap videos, etc., almost as high as the event itself. Nielsen estimates that 39.4% of global fans will watch non-live content related to a live sporting event. Additionally, sports viewing has become a multi-screen experience, with 47% of people watching sports interacting with other live content simultaneously, a 5% increase over last year.
Nielsen estimates there has been a 146% year-on-year increase in unbundled sponsorship investment in women’s sports (UEFA, FIFA, World Rugby) compared to a 27% increase in 2020. With more women’s sports on TV, there are now more sponsorship opportunities specific to women’s sports, which means many brands are effectively reaching consumers previously unreached through sponsorships in men’s sports.
“Based on our work as a data-driven company and interviewing thousands of fans, it’s clear that sports fans are demanding new types of content driven by innovative distribution platforms. This, in turn, impacts how rightsholders and brands should approach audience engagement and sponsorship outcomes. With the growing sophistication of sponsorship, measuring effectiveness at every stage is now expected by brands. Predicting return on investment and increased sales will be key to keeping sports rights holders relevant and securing brands’ marketing budgets in the future. »
Other key trends identified in the Nielsen Sports 2022 report:
- Sports sponsorship grew 107% in 2021, and through an analysis of 100 sponsorships across seven markets across 20 industries, Nielsen found that sports sponsorships led to an average 10% increase in purchase intent among the base of fans. Overall, Nielsen’s 2021 Advertising Trust Study showed that 81% of respondents around the world completely or somewhat trust brand sponsorships at sporting events.
- Blockchain companies investing in sports sponsorship are expected to reach $5 billion by 2026. This represents a projected 778% increase in sports sponsorship from the crypto, blockchain and NFT brand category.
- Athletes showed a higher potential to connect with fans, with 26% of passionate sports fans who use social media for sports news saying athletes are a great way to connect with brands and sponsors.
- There were 2,254 publicly announced esports sponsorship deals globally in 2021, up from 1,785 in 2020, making it one of the fastest growing segments of the global entertainment industry. Over the past year, the female esports fanbase has grown by 19%, while the male fanbase has grown by 12%.
“As the traditional and digital worlds merge, the sponsorship lifecycle is now expanding, creating additional and more comprehensive monetization opportunities,” Nazzari said. “It will become vital for brands to take advantage of new technologies and use digital platforms to develop fan engagement strategies that previously did not exist in linear broadcasting. The fan is now the catalyst for huge changes.
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