Last Week Today: June 28 – July 4, 2021 Sponsorship News
This is part of our "Last Week Today" series that includes a weekly roundup of the past week's most exciting and industry-altering news. Check back on our blog every week for updates! These stories cover sponsorship news for June 28 – July 4, 2021.
NBA Eyes NFL for Sponsorship Crown
Though not yet at the $1.6 billion in annual sponsorship revenue level that the NFL saw this past year, the National Basketball Association is not far behind with revenues around $1.4 billion this past season. Many attribute this increase in sponsorship dollars to the introduction of jerseys as brandable space. Logo jersey patches, now on all but three NBA team jerseys, have increased team sponsorship amounts by over 70% since their introduction 5 years ago. The inflow of cash for the Association should only continue with the media rights renegotiation after the 2025 season.
Mercury Rising on Women Sports Sponsorship Interest
In a move that should spark many others within the Women’s National Basketball Association, the Phoenix Mercury have inked a 15-year deal with Bally’s to be the first betting company to agree to a sponsorship with a women’s sports team. The deal, worth $66 million, is just the tip of the iceberg for betting companies in the sports partnership world. Sports betting, currently, a billion-dollar per year industry is predicting upwards of $19 billion in annual revenue once the United States eventually gets to legal betting in all 50 states. The Mercury may be the first women’s team to sign with a betting partner, but they will not be the last.
The Market Sees Strikes for Bowlero
As the most prominent bowling operator in the United States with over 300 bowling alleys in North America, Bowlero Corporation is finally going public. The reported 70 million people that bowl each year has led to the U.S. bowling market growing by half over the last five years. These numbers, on top of the positive bounce-back of the industry post-pandemic, a recent valuation has Bowlero at around a $2.6 billion valuation. An additional boost to this valuation is sure to be in part because of Bowlero’s purchases of Bowl America and the Professional Bowlers Association over the last few years.
The NIL Era Begins
As of July 1st, the college athletics landscape changed forever with the Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL) ruling going into effect, opening the door for college athletes to make money through individual partnerships with brands. Some initial estimates are that the major college sports could carry this emerging sector of sports partnerships to a value of $1 billion annually. While a lot of the attention has been on how the athletes have handled this announcement, it will also be interesting to see how brands strategize to take advantage of this opportunity. One early adopter is Unilever, which will be committing $5 million annually to college athletes willing to promote Degree deodorant.
Be on the lookout next week for the usual round-up of sponsorship news.