How to Measure the ROI Generated from Sports Sponsorships

Brand awareness and sports sponsorships:

Sponsorship is an excellent promotional strategy for Sports Marketing and Sports Sponsorship agencies, as well as for brands, teams, clubs, and individual athletes to implement. Building a brand’s identity and general brand awareness is crucial within the world of Sports Marketing and carries much weight in sponsorship deals and partnerships. In fact, brand strength contributes 60 - 80% to overall sales, which is vital for long-term growth in revenue. It’s no surprise then that sponsorship is growing at around 4% per annum. But it’s not all about brands. Of course sponsorship is a great way for them to amplify their identity, but it is also beneficial for the teams and the athletes to improve on their own brand awareness. To learn more about the many benefits of sports sponsorships, click here.

To figure out how best to measure the ROI from sponsorships, brands need to first understand how to gain exposure. Logo placement on jerseys and in stadiums is a common way to do this, though many brands also sponsor individual athletes who have a substantial following on social media. You will often see these influencers post images and videos of themselves wearing certain sports apparel or using a sports-related product on their social media accounts (see below).

@boomerrphelps and I working on our swings together.... with our matching 9irons #pxg @pxg @pxgxperience

A post shared by Michael Phelps (@mphelps00) on


This type of sponsorship deal is mutually beneficial for the brand and the influencer in terms of return. Not only does the influencer gain substantial revenue from promoting a brand’s product, but the brand will also see a return on investment due to the scale of audience the promotion is reaching. But this is only a fraction of the overarching functionality of sponsorship deals. As the number of sports personalities with a sizable social media following is limited, event sponsorship is an additional way in which brands can generate even more revenue from sport.

Lack of solutions for ROI measurement:

So what happens when brands, teams, and athletes gain revenue from a sponsorship deal? Something that is being discussed increasingly in recent years is the lack of tools available for brands and agencies to measure and track the ROI generated from sponsorships or even to simply determine the value of a sponsorship. In fact, about one third to one half of U.S. companies don’t have a system in place to effectively measure sponsorship ROI. And with sponsorship being estimated to amount to just over $50 billion per annum, it’s more important than ever for brands to be able to quantify their sponsorship investments.

Let’s take a look at the most widely used asset in sport sponsorship and how brands can leverage it for ROI calculation.

Sponsorship and logos:

So what is a brand’s most powerful asset? You guessed it: logos. And when a highly anticipated game is on, spectators are far less likely to change channels, whether they are watching on television, live streaming the game, or viewing clips on social media. The prominent display of logos at any sporting event will increase a brand’s sales by appealing to the hopes of the fans watching, who are naturally drawn to trademarks associated with a particular team or sport. When fans see that their favorite player, who posts frequently on various social media platforms and interacts with followers, is wearing a jersey with a particular brand’s logo, they are more likely to purchase from that brand. Additionally, within stadiums and other sporting venues, logos are located around the stands during the event.

Logos aren’t just visible during the event, however. In John A. Fortunato’s book ‘Sports Sponsorship: Principles and Practices’, he notes that athletes are “interviewed before and after practice, and footage and pictures from practice are often used in media reports, providing another sponsorship opportunity for brand exposure through uniform placement.” In other words, the interview sections before and after a practice or a game provide brands who sponsor the team or players with even more exposure. Now you might be thinking that logos on jerseys are only part of the sponsorship puzzle- and you’d be right. It’s not just about the players’ uniforms, although they provide massive sponsorship opportunities. Logos are also almost always placed on the wall or screen behind the players when they are being interviewed.

So logos are everywhere before, during, and after the majority of prestigious sporting events. And on top of all of that, there is also a lot of social media exposure that comes with large sporting events for brands to be aware of. When fans are watching a game, they often upload images and video clips on social media without using hashtags or tagging brands within the posts.

The solution:

Taking all of this into account, it’s evident that large volumes of images and videos containing logos are being placed all over social media without any way to monitor them- or so it would appear. Of course, it’s great to receive any form of brand exposure online, but if there is no way to monetize, measure, or monitor it, is this type of exposure really worth anything at all? For many years this was the reality for Sports Marketing agencies and Social Media Monitoring companies. But now there is a way to monitor logos accurately and effectively in order to calculate the ROI generated from a brand’s sponsorship.

It can be argued that a logo is the most important asset when it comes to sports sponsorship for a brand. With this in mind, logo detection is probably the best and most logical solution to help brands and Sports Marketing agencies calculate the ROI generated from a sponsorship. With this technology, Sponsorship Monitoring and data analysis become much more effective, accurate, and simple to interpret.

Sponsorship Monitoring and Social Media Monitoring providers need to ensure that they have an image recognition offering that specializes in logo detection in order to accurately track the brand within an image, video, or GIF. This can provide brands with an accurate metric to measure. For example, using a logo detection tool, the Sponsorship Monitoring company can calculate how long a logo appears in a video clip. In the past, this was a manual process which required a number of wasted labor, money, and resources. But with automation, the process becomes not only more effective, but easier and quicker. This also makes calculating the return on investment generated from a sporting event more accurate due to the quantifiability of logo detection for visual mentions. However, it’s important to integrate logo detection technology that is of excellent quality in order for it to be functional on all visual formats and video files. In doing so, brands can monitor visual mentions successfully and at scale, making ROI calculation a whole lot easier!

To learn more about logo detection for Sponsorship Monitoring, why not speak to a member of the LogoGrab team here?