Sponsorship Snacks

Week 19

Advanced Sponsorship Insights
5 min readMay 31, 2021
Made by Advanced Sponsorship Insights


Have you ever asked yourself how big the biggest rubber duck in the world is? Here is your answer: 26 by 20 by 32 meters (85 ft × 66 ft × 105 ft). Watch her invade Lake Erie here.

In other rubber duck news, this guy inspired his town by spelling out messages with rubber duckies in his front yard. A MUST watch.

NBA Invests Heavily in African League

Trivia Question: What rapper published an album and signed a contract to become a professional (!) basketball player this month?

a) Drake

b) Eminem?

c) J. Cole

Rapper J. Cole will play for the Rwandan team ‘ Patriots BBC’ in the inaugural season of the Basketball Africa League (Source). The NBA who has increasingly focused on Africa has formed a new entity that is valued at a reportedly US$1 billion (Source). The entity’s task is to grow the basketball presence and accelerate the growth in the African market.

When it comes to sports in Africa, football holds the pole position, with 78% of Africans indicating their interest. Basketball is a clear second, with interest levels around the level of Europe. Swimming, Athletics, and Rugby round up the top five.

Graph by Advanced Sponsorship Insights

Comparing Basketball to the rest, it becomes clear that it has one advantage: Superstar players. The best example is Joel Embiid. The runner-up for this years’ MVP is originally from Cameroon. In total, the 2020/2021 rosters include a record-tying 14 African players (Source). Expect that number to rise.

The NBA already has experience in developing overseas business entities. Since they established their China office a decade ago, NBA China is now worth $5 billion (Source). The signing of J.Cole and the strong network of the NBA will help the NBA Africa league to develop at a fast pace, making it an interesting case for sponsors. We especially expect international companies that have a headquarter in an African country to push for sponsorships since they already possess a geographical fit with the league.

Bonus fact: J.Cole is a Puma athlete. The German sportswear brand has openly stated that they are looking to join the basketball-shoe battle again (Source). J. Cole brings with him a combined social media following of more than 32 million. Puma could use his presence to establish a connection to Basketball in Africa and push to become a strong presence in the African market.

5G Conquers The NBA

Telecommunication company Verizon has installed its 5G network in more than 60 arenas and is the official partner of 15 NBA franchises. Clubs are preparing for the resurgence of game-day activities. Fans are eager to return to real-life sports events, and the 5G technology empowers clubs to use new technologies.

Together with the NHL, Verizon already experimented with real-time augmented reality (AR)features (click here for an example). Now the NBA wants to join the technology party. And they have a good reason for it.

Around 35% of NBA fans in Europe and North America can be described as ‘Tech Natives’. Tech Natives are fans who are confident using new tech. In addition, 65% of NBA fans are generally interested in technology.

Interestingly, the percentage of ‘early adopters’ is rather low (5%) when comparing NBA fans with e.g., Motorsport or Rugby (8%). Early adopters are those fans that follow the tech news and buy new technology first. However, if new technologies like AR features become mainstream, the NBA has tech-interested fans ready to embrace them.

In the future, fans will become even more comfortable using new technologies at home or during the event. It is up to the clubs/leagues to provide the necessary possibilities. Since they rarely will know to implement new technologies, they will turn to sponsors to help them. We could soon see a record-high of technology companies partnering with sports clubs or leagues.

How Facebook’s New Feature Helps Niche Sports

In the US and Canada alone, we found 123 sports-related associations (Source). Like all other sports organizations in the world, the pandemic has hit them financially. They are looking for additional revenue streams to stay financially sustainable. In comes an unexpected rescuer.

Even though Facebook is not very popular for the younger generations (only 16% of GenZ in Europe state that they use the app daily), it is still popular with older generations. 51% of GenX state that Facebook is their favorite app. Plus, GenZ has not given up on Facebook completely, with one quarter still opening it up once a month (internal Data).

Graph by Advanced Sponsorship Insights

Facebook has expanded its paid online event platform across 44 global markets. The feature allows users and organizations to charge viewers for online events. Sounds negligible at first, but there is a huge potential for small organizations and niche sports.

Here is a practical example of how Facebook can leverage their sports-interested users: A small-scale triathlon event in Miami charged $2,99 per ticket. Viewers had the chance to pay the one-off fee and watch the event online. And they did. Over 18.000 people attended the event. That’s more than the Triathlon usually attracts in person. 70% of those viewers came from outside the US (Source).

While other media companies are focusing on the big leagues, Facebook goes small. Their pay-to-view platform provides immense value for niche sports and small sports organizations. Niche sports often have a small but loyal global fanbase that is eager to consume any related content. Facebook’s new features allows those small organizations to harness the bundeled financial power of their fans.

If they can consistently attract a robust niche audience, they could become attractive partners for sponsors that look for hyper-targeted brand exposure or interactions.

For more expert insights into sponsorship data & analytics visit us on Advanced Sponsorship Insights. Or write us directly