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.

Comparing Sponsorship Impact for Major U.S. Sports Leagues

Navigate Research - Wednesday, January 28, 2015
Written by Matt Balvanz

Blog Series:  Comparing Sponsorship Impact for Major U.S. Sports Leagues
Focus:  Purchase Influence 

Over the next several months, I will be revealing some analytical insights surrounding the effectiveness and impact of sponsorships across the major sports leagues in the US (i.e., NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL and MLS). These insights will focus on metrics such as awareness, consideration, likelihood to recommend, and a handful of others. This post will focus on purchase influence, and the best performing leagues in driving the needle for this metric. 

According to research conducted by Navigate's normative database, the NBA is the best platform for driving purchase influence. So, when asked the question, “How much is your decision to purchase sponsor products influenced, if at all, by knowing who sponsors a certain property," NBA fans respond more positively than any other league’s fans. In fact, roughly 20 percent of fans, on average, indicate that they would be influenced to become customers of the sponsor. In addition, the NBA also performs the best in influencing purchase intent among aware fans (i.e., fans who are aware of the sponsor), at 23 percent.

However, when it comes to driving the biggest lift between fans and non-fans, MLS sponsorships slightly outperform NBA sponsorships. MLS fans are 6.64x more likely to be influenced to purchase sponsor products than non-fans, compared to 6.14x for fans of the NBA. 

Lastly, a different league emerges as the best for driving the biggest lift between aware fans and unaware fans for purchase influence – the NHL. NHL fans who are aware of a sponsorship are 1.75x more likely to be influenced to become a sponsor’s customer than fans who are unaware of the sponsor. 

 So, to quickly summarize the best performers of impacting purchase intent among the major US sports leagues: 
  • NBA – Best at Driving Purchase Influence among Fans and Aware Fans 
  • MLS – Best at Increasing Purchase Influence among Fans 
  • NHL Best at Increasing Purchase Influence among Aware Fans

For more detailed impact metrics across leagues or consultation on how to improve purchase influence for your sponsorships, please contact us at  

Sponsorship Activation Monday - 1.26.15

Navigate Research - Monday, January 26, 2015
Each Monday, we will share some great activation practices throughout the sports and entertainment landscape. This blog will serve as a space to highlight innovative ideas and campaigns. Want to have your idea or campaign featured? Send us a note on Twitter at @Navigate_Res. 

This week we take a look at a safe-driving promotion around the major professional sporting leagues. 

Leagues and brands are always looking for ways to tie a good cause to their name. One brand who’s been doing it the longest is Anheuser-Busch with its Good Sport Program. 

Since 1986, Anheuser-Busch has been implementing its Good Sport Program which is an in-stadium fan-focused responsible driving promotion. The program was initially created to assist team owners, facility managers, event promoters and wholesalers in promoting safe driving. Anheuser-Busch and the Good Sport program is in partnership with nearly 100 teams across the 5 major professional sporting leagues including a select group of NASCAR tracks. 

Good Sport encourages fans to sign up to be a designated driver for their friends and other fans around the stadium. While this means no alcoholic beverages for those attendees, they do get access to free Pepsi products throughout the game. In addition to the free products, once someone has signed up, their name is automatically entered in a TEAM Collation sweepstakes for a chance to win a variety of prizes. 

The program has been a huge success across the country among every league. The 2014 MLB Playoffs drew nearly 570,000 designated drivers. The top 5 clubs include the St. Louis Cardinals, Milwaukee Brewers, LA Dodgers, San Diego Padres and the Detroit Tigers (click here for the breakdown). 

The Kansas City Chiefs, Buffalo Bills and the Vancouver Canucks are just a few teams among many other professional teams who have teamed up with Anheuser-Busch in support of the Good Sport program. 

Not only are these teams and leagues promoting a good cause, they are also finding ways to engage with their fans and consumers in a unique way.

What to Expect at Super Bowl Central

Navigate Research - Friday, December 05, 2014
Written by Allyson Corbin 

As we near the end of the year, many people are planning holiday trips, traditions and treats. The end of the year also welcomes the middle of the NFL season, and sports fans are planning Super Bowl logistics in between wrapping gifts and holiday parties with the big game less than 2 months away.

The average fan watches the Super Bowl in the comfort of their home or favorite sports bar as tickets are pricey and the location isn’t in every fan’s backyard. Coincidentally, the 2015 Super Bowl will be held in our Navigate-West’s backyard in Phoenix, AZ, returning from the 2008 Super Bowl. The Valley of the Sun is excited to have the pinnacle match-up take place in February at the University of Phoenix Stadium, and the city of Phoenix is doing a lot to prepare for all the fans in town. 

With every major sporting event, a fan experience area is included to generate hype and excitement for the game. Phoenix is creating a major entertainment district in downtown Phoenix, known as “Super Bowl Central,” and organizers promise ‘super-fun’. The fan-fest campus will stretch 12 city blocks, east of the NFL Experience at the Phoenix Convention Center. The entertainment area will create a destination for fans to experience the Super Bowl in a unique and fun way, to include all things media, sponsor and NFL-related. 

The free Super Bowl Central is modeled after the Super Bowl Village in Indianapolis in 2012 and after Super Bowl Boulevard in Times Square in Manhattan in 2014 (New Orleans did not host an outdoor fan experience in 2013). I was in NYC for the 2014 Super Bowl, working for a client who was participating in Super Bowl Boulevard, and I know first-hand how exciting the fan experience area can be. At the Boulevard, more than 1 million visitors created lines that were hours long, and the Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee anticipates a similar turnout due to our 71-degree average high temperatures among other things. 

The Super Bowl entertainment area ranges in all activities targeted to families, adults and fans in between. While walking around Super Bowl Boulevard, I experienced many sponsorship activation elements, including the Toboggan Run slide measuring 60 feet high and 180 feet long, various concert series, free pizza from Papa Johns, ice-skating in Union Square, Verizon’s Twitter hashtag campaign #whosegonnawin lighting up the Empire State Building with the team colors, along with several others.
According to president and CEO of the Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee, Jay Perry, many brands who participated in last year’s Super Bowl Boulevard intend to migrate to Phoenix at Super Bowl Central. Organizers also intend to integrate local culture and food, while showcasing the beautiful weather Phoenix offers at the beginning of the year. I’m looking forward to perusing Super Bowl Central and experiencing all that the host committee has put together.

Sponsorship Activation Monday - 11.24.14

Navigate Research - Monday, November 24, 2014
Each Monday, we will share some great activation practices throughout the sports and entertainment landscape. This blog will serve as a space to highlight innovative ideas and campaigns. Want to have your idea or campaign featured? Send us a note on Twitter at @Navigate_Res.

In efforts to enhance fan experience, the PGA Tour Shriners Hospitals for Children Open added six pools at the TPC Summerlin Golf Course in Las Vegas. The pools were placed at the final three holes of the course and will allow attendees to take a dip while enjoying the action on the course. The pools give the course a “club scene” feel and will attract a younger crowd to the tournament. 

The Shriners Open wanted to create new entertainment options for their fans, while sticking to the ‘day-club’ feel of Las Vegas. Adding these pools will also allow for more sponsorship and engagement opportunities for brands. Two of the six pools are a part of the Zappos Fan Experience – which includes a variety of other interactive games and golf activities. 

Pools and party decks seem to be popping up more and more among the sports world. The Jacksonville Jaguars added pool deck cabanas to its end zone this past summer. Companies and or fans can experience the game poolside on the 100 level for $12,500 – which is all-you-can eat through the third quarter. The Jaguars are hoping that the cabanas will draw larger crowds and high-level business executives to the games. 

Adding pools to stadiums and golf courses is definitely an innovative way to engage with consumers and enhance the fan experience, and they seem to becoming more and more popular. In places such as Las Vegas and Florida where it’s warm almost year-round, adding these features is a smart marketing move because properties there are able to leverage something that is unique to them: the weather.