Calling Our Shot: Predicting the Future of Referral Gaming


By Lyndon Campbell, Senior Vice President of Sports and Brands at MarketCast

This article is sponsored by MarketCast.

This year, sponsors will spend over $ 20 billion with sports leagues in North America and over $ 60 billion globally. The appeal to brands that sponsor live sports is simple: it remains one of the few categories of entertainment that can still get huge fan bases to “date view”, while still offering flexible options. and creative to integrate their branding and messaging into the game itself.

Unfortunately for the mega-brand sponsors, the methods of measuring sponsorship effectiveness innovate at a slower pace than I do by running 40 meters. The most accepted form of sponsorship metric today is media assessment, which uses a range of content recognition technologies to analyze how long a brand’s logo is displayed onscreen to determine its fair market value. While measuring logo impressions gives an indication of the value of a sponsorship, it doesn’t tell sponsors whether their investments impact bottom lines or even improve brand awareness.

As CMOs and brand marketers face increasing pressure to justify their sponsorship investments, the need for measurement transformation has never been more critical. Here are our five predictions for the future of sports sponsorship measurement and research:

  1. It’s over for logo counters

For many sponsorship measurement companies today, the days of relying solely on counting logo impressions and calling it a marketing outcome are gone. Brand marketers need real results to justify their multi-season sports sponsorship investment decisions, which means they need to be grounded in increasing sales and more. difficult business results. Going forward, we anticipate that logo tracking tools will remain important data signals to help measure the impact of sponsorship rather than as a single source of truth.

  1. Sponsors and leagues will understand – and demand – increase measures

Digital advertising has ushered in new attribution methods to link audience targeting to sales ROI. The same innovations should be available to sponsors to determine if their investments are successful season after season. Many sponsors are already waiting for them. And it’s not just the sponsors who will want to measure results: we anticipate North America’s top sports leagues will adopt results-based measurement to understand how their exclusive assets, from side signage and jersey patches to official partnerships, conduct business for their sponsoring clients.

  1. Fan segmentation becomes critical

Not all sports fans are weighted the same from a marketing standpoint. Some devote every waking hour to their favorite players and teams; they are obsessed with the initial formations and share and evangelize their passion with anyone who is willing to listen to them. Others expire as the losses pile up, scrolling only through the highlights, and picking the key moments to watch each season. Understanding fan segments and how they engage differently with sports and sponsorship content will be essential for planning, launching and measuring sports sponsorship campaigns in the future.

  1. The reputation of the brand remains vital, but is combined with the behaviors

While new sponsorship measurement innovations will be based on business results, brand health metrics remain of critical importance. The holy grail of sponsorship measurement brings together the right balance of two types of data: behavioral data on consumer outcomes and research on brand reputation and health, all from one source. This combination will help marketers understand how referrals drive fan affinity, consideration, intent, and behaviors.

  1. Live sports will keep a strong pulse

Live sports will remain the last bastion of date viewing on any form of media. While ratings have plummeted in 2020 for a wide range of reasons, we are seeing a return of large fan bases for the 2021-22 season, both locally and across all viewing platforms. Coupled with bidding wars for sports distribution rights, live sports remain a powerful force in the content world. This is great news for rights holders and sponsors who spend billions every year.

The sponsorship measurement revolution is here, and it will be televised, broadcast and shared. But like any revolution, it will not come quickly or easily. Many traders and rights holders will be reluctant to immediately adopt new methods of measuring referrals, but those who do will have more information than ever about the success of their investments. Play.


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