Sponsorships and Endorsements going digital

Mean Joe Green, before he tossed his game-worn jersey to a kid, iconically sipped (well, chugged) on an ice cold Coke. This was in 1979 and not a single one of us has forgotten.

Brands have been fortunate throughout the years to attach their marketing to a single athlete with high returns. Think about Nike associating themselves with Jordan, or Adidas with Messi. Can you find a sideline in America without an orange Gatorade cooler? Athletes in all sports pose for photos, show off their new gear and even endorse their own shoe lines.

But what about teams?

Most people can associate brands with a team based on the arena or stadium naming rights. Busch Stadium, HP Pavilion, Great American Ballpark…we could do this all day.

Some teams have incorporated sponsors directly into their logo. The LA Kings included McDonald’s golden arches into their silver and black scheme during their 2012-13 season:


Just like the iconic Mean Joe Green Coke ad, new marketing trends are attempting to create lasting images associate with sports teams and players. Digital Sports Voice has been monitoring new market trends in social media, and assigns value to individual teams and players. For instance, if you are a company attempting to advertise with a NFL team, how do you know what team is the right one for you? Which team will reach the most fans? Which team will improve your key demographics? Or key markets?

It is hard to answer all of those questions. That is why I have developed a ranking system that measures actual team digital worth, which you can see here. Just like television or radio ratings, social media should have assigned values to ads and sponsorships.

Here are some of the best digital sponsored content from the past month:


Chicago Bears running back Matt Forte tweeted to his 200,000+ followers about how nice his new Tempur-Pedic bed was. Forte is not the only Bears player to tweet about their bed. Cornerback Charles Tillman has repeatedly mentioned sleeping on his Tempur-Pedic bed during training camp. @TempurPedic only has a little over 1,000 followers, and typically receives under 10 retweets and favorites per tweet. This was a smart move to team up with the Chicago Bears to expand their reach – and finally get engaged consumers.

Endorse 2

Rickie Fowler and Puma have become synonymous. When Fowler first appeared on the PGA Tour it was his flashy wardrobe that made headlines. Puma and Fowler tweeted out a photo of his 4-day tournament wardrobe for an upcoming tournament.  This is smart because photo content typically receives high engagement, and it’s a nice excuse to show off their golf clothing line.

Sponsor Post

The Dallas Stars, as many professional teams are, have begun to incorporate sponsors into their digital content. This is the most important lesson in sports marketing when it comes to digital media: include sponsors into team-related content. Teams have been posting interviews, photos and fan contests for the past 5 years with no return. Now they are able to sell sponsorships for this content. Interviews, photos and team news are the most engaging elements for a team. This content is easily promoted and can be sold to a sponsor based on the high amount of traffic to a site or page. As a post gains more shares and viral visits, so does the sponsor’s name and direct link to their page – a win-win situation for the team and sponsor.