Sponsorship, Agencies, Licensing, Personal Endorsement, Multiple sports, Global

The Hookit view: How we ranked the World’s 50 Most Marketed Brands in sport

Roger Breum, head of marketing at Hookit, explains how the AI-powered spontech specialist created an objective study of sponsorship value for SportsPro’s inaugural list of the World’s 50 Most Marketed Brands.

by Roger Breum
The Hookit view: How we ranked the World’s 50 Most Marketed Brands in sport

If the past six months have taught us anything in the world of sponsorship, it is that digital assets and promotion are more important than ever to a successful partnership.

At Hookit, we focus exclusively on measuring the impact of social and digital promotion from the world of sports for our brand partners, helping them make smarter, data-driven sponsorship decisions.

Here, we break down where the data comes from and how it was analysed to arrive at the inaugural ranking of the World’s 50 Most Marketed Brands in sports sponsorship. 

What data was included

For this ranking, all social and digital posts from professional athletes, teams, and leagues between 1st August 2019 and 1st August 2020 were examined for brand promotion. Over 25,000 sports organisations and athletes posted during this period, promoting over 7,000 brands.

Where the data comes from

Hookit has integrations with each of the major social media platforms, including: Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Twitch, Twitter, VK, Weibo, and YouTube.

What data gets brought in?

Our SportGraph tracks every major professional athlete, team and league, including more than 500,000 accounts. Every post from these accounts gets pulled into our database and analysed for brand content. If a brand logo is identified in the image or video, or if a branded hashtag (#JustDoIT, #TeamToyota, etc.), or @mention is included, our computer vision software will identify and categorise that post as a branded post for the brand(s) included.

Note that data is only brought in from public accounts in accordance with each platform’s data integration restrictions.

Getting to sponsorship value

At Hookit, sponsorship value begins with consumer (or fan) engagement. While this can happen through many channels, social and digital media provides the deepest dataset available to measure and calculate the impact of brand promotion through sports partners. 

To get to sponsorship value, we use a simple equation that brings in many factors related to brand promotion.

Potential value x promotion quality = sponsorship value

Let’s break this down in simple terms:

Potential value, aka maximum ad value (MAV)

This metric is a product of social media engagement (likes, comments, shares, and video views) and how much it would have cost a brand to reach that level of engagement through advertising, the cost per engagement (CPE), on that platform. We source actual executed rates from a third party based on what brands and agencies actually spent on social campaigns.

The CPE rates vary by engagement type and platform. Multiplying engagement by the CPEs provides the upper limit of how much value a partner could have generated for a brand if every branded post was a perfect promotion of that brand.

Promotion quality score

Promotion quality is the discounting factor that scores how effectively partners promote your brand. Since partners have control over their content, promotion of your brand is not always perfect - ie. your logo could be small or blurry, sometimes other brands may also be promoted, or an overuse of hashtags and mentions creates clutter. All of these factors are taken into account to score the quality of promotion on a zero to 100 per cent scale. 

Sponsorship value, aka adjusted ad value (AAV)

As shown in the equation above, this 'actual' sponsorship value takes the MAV (potential value) and multiples it by the promotion quality score to arrive at a discounted (AAV). Then, all branded posts by athletes and sports organisations are aggregated to get a cumulative value for sponsorship for each brand tracked.

Notes about the 50MM rankings

Many familiar brands rise to the top of these rankings. We should note that size of investment, sponsorship budget, and return on investment (ROI) are not factored into these rankings. While a brand may receive great value for the budget they spend on sponsorship, most brands on this list spend tens or even hundreds of millions of dollars (or pounds or euros) on partnerships.

That spend is reflected in the volume of return they receive. For example, Nike at number one has more than 11,000 athletes and sports organisations promoting their brand. This includes deliberate as well as incidental promotion, which occurs when only a logo is visible in a post that isn't meant to be a branded post.

For example, Nike is the kit sponsor of FC Barcelona. Any time the team or a player posts a picture featuring an Barca jersey, Nike gets sponsorship value due to the swoosh on the shirt. This value even comes from posts by Lionel Messi, who plays for Barcelona but is perhaps the most famous Adidas-sponsored athlete. The same goes the other way for lifetime Nike athlete Cristiano Ronaldo and the Adidas logo on his Juventus kit.

While we have left most of the insight for the SportsPro team to explore, here are a few notes and trends that we see with these Top 50 Most Marketed Brands:

  • 19 of the top 20 brands are significantly invested in either soccer, motorsports, or both
  • The Top 50 Most Marketed brands received more than US$3 billion in sponsorship value through social promotion. That is 49 per cent of ALL value generated for brands across sports during this time period. 
  • 35 of the top 50 brands came from four broad industries: apparel and accessories; automotive; beverage; and financial.

If you're interested in learning more about why these brands are ranked in this order, which partners contributed most to these rankings, or where your organisation ranks, reach out to us at insights@hookit.com.