Navigate Research

Industry Insights

As the industry leader in evaluating and measuring marketing investments, Navigate has a wealth of knowledge in the sponsorship and marketing space. This blog shares our knowledge and insights on current events in the sports business, marketing and sponsorship worlds.

Raptors receive Team Sponsorship Activation of Year Award

Navigate Research - Tuesday, July 28, 2015
Image from bambina.com

The Raptors received the Team Sponsorship Activation of the Year Award at the NBA Summer Meetings last week in Las Vegas. The NBA invited each team in the league to submit its best activations from the 2014-2015 season. From there, a collective group of team presidents and league executives voted for the best activation that met the following criteria:

  • Measurable results
  • Creativity
  • The use of integrated channels
  • Fan engagement

The Toronto Raptors took the cake with their Swiffer sponsorship activation.

 The “Swiffer Certified for the Raptors Hardwood” program encouraged fans to purchase $15 worth of Swiffer products. As a result, fans received a piece of the Raptors court from the team’s 1995-96 inaugural season. Through this activation, fans took home memorabilia unique to the team’s history while Swiffer swept in some profit.

 Accompanying the Raptors Hardwood program was the:

  • Swiffer "Man Clean" movement, designed with efforts to erase the negative stigma about men.
  • Swiffer "Man Clean" Crew that cleaned the court during timeouts of Raptors home games.
  • "Swiffer Upgrade to the Hardwood" in-arena experience that rewarded two lucky fans with the chance to sit courtside at a home game.
  • "Swiffer Hardwood Matchup" that featured the marquee matchup of the night between a Raptors player and a player from the opposing team, while including key stats. 

Michael Jordan's High School Gets a Makeover

Navigate Research - Tuesday, June 30, 2015
30 years ago marks the birth of one of the most revolutionary brands in basketball history: Nike and Michael Jordan’s “Air Jordan.” One of the defining elements of Jordan’s celebrated success story is the fact that he got cut from his Varsity basketball team his sophomore year in high school. But Jordan is the farthest thing from bitter, as he just gave his Emsley A. Laney High School gym an immaculate makeover. This renovation includes a new floor with the Jumpman logo at center court, state-of-the-art lights, and fresh trophy cases that pay tribute to the Jordan Brand’s 30 successful years. The gym unveiled itself at the Fred Lynch Invitational basketball tournament, where high school participants received the hottestJordan gear including the latest Air Jordan XX9s, Jordan Super.Fly 3s, and Jordan Super.Fly 3 POs


Photo from sneakernews.com

King vs. Common Man – Faces of the NBA Finals

Navigate Research - Monday, June 15, 2015

Written by Andrew Fishkin

LeBron James and Stephen Curry couldn’t be more different. As the two most prominent faces in today’s game, the 2015 Finals matchup is perfect for the NBA. LeBron and Steph provide entertainment on the court and huge marketability off, both in very different ways. Who would your company choose to endorse? Which endorsement would provide the greater ROI?

While aligning your brand with a successful athlete can be an effective marketing strategy, endorsement deals need to strike the right balance between an athlete’s performance and his or her image. Marketers want their athletes to perform at high levels and to represent ideals that fit with their brand attributes. Brands should base choices for what an athlete endorses on comprehensive and sound marketing research, not bias or personal preference. Who does your target audience relate to? This could encompass a variety of people, from athletes to movie stars to politicians. Do they have the power to move product? If an athlete is associated with too many things, their word may not be respected enough to influence purchasing behavior. Brands aren’t worried about that with these two. Not yet at least.

On the court, LeBron James’ 6 foot 8 inch muscular stature is in stark contrast to Steph’s 6 foot 3 inch wirey body type. They’ve both mastered how to use their respective frames to reach the pinnacle of NBA superstardom. LeBron has the ability to drive through defenders (and dunk on them) or pull-up for 3 while Steph uses his ball handling ability and quickness to hit “open” shots or go around defenders. Both proving to be effective and virtually unguardable.

The LeBron brand is global, his King-like mantra transcends sport, and his appeal crosses all demographics. LeBron stars in a Beats By Dre headphones commercial titled, "You Deserve The Best," with James wearing a pair of gold Beats By Dre Solo 2 wireless headphones dressed in a tailored suit. This spot perfectly portrays how LeBron chooses to use his halo effect.

Steph’s humility and authenticity have led to different, yet high levels of appreciation and respect from fans of all ages. Taking his flourishing marketing prowess in stride is paradoxically what's made him desired by so many companies seeking a spokesman. From the homemade YouTube videos to his 2-yeard old daughter, Riley, taking over press conferences, it's an authenticity that can't be faked. Next on the list should be to spoof his nice-guy image, much as Broncos QB Peyton Manning has done with appearances on "SNL" and in ESPN ads. We like funny people and that would really bring the common man persona full circle.

It will be interesting to see if Steph can match LeBron’s marketing prowess, regardless of the 2015 Finals outcome.

Sponsorship Activation - 2.17.15

Navigate Research - Tuesday, February 17, 2015
The 2015 NBA All-Star game brought together a variety of different brands for activations surrounding All-Star Weekend. Sponsors of the different events included Nike, Kia, Gatorade, State Farm, Cîroc among others. 

Let’s take a look at a few of this past weekend’s activations.   



State Farm: The Insurance agency played off of its already popular “Born to Assist” campaign by deploying more than 100 “All-Star Assist Ambassadors" around all of New York’s transit hubs and at both Madison Square Garden and the Barclay’s Center, where all of the events took place. The brand ambassadors handed Metrocard holders and served as walking information kiosks for visiting NBA fans. 

American Express: American Express sponsored a pair of concerts featuring Fall Out Boy, who performed on the Thursday leading up to the weekend and Jon Bon Jovi, who performed on Friday. Both concerts were held at the Hammerstein Ballroom. Footage from the performances aired nationally during TNT’s exclusive broadcast of the 2015 All-Star Game. 

Foot Locker: Foot Locker teamed up with Nike to create a 5,100-square-foot House of Hoops, which acted as a shoe exhibit and offered unique in-store shoe and Nike apparel customization. The stand-alone pop up shop showcased a variety of different Nike products from the Basketball, Sportswear and Jordan Brands.