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NBA Partners Enjoy Postseason Amplification

Presenting Sponsors Earn $102.9M in Broadcast Brand Value During First Round

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Social Media
May 25, 2022
June 21, 2022
 min read

The NBA Playoffs are a reward for sixteen teams that outperformed their counterparts throughout an 82-game regular season, franchises that laid the foundation for such success, and fans who have invested time, energy, and emotion into their favorite clubs. But the postseason is also a stage on which the league’s best can showcase their abilities for larger audiences on national television broadcasts and increasingly concentrated social media users. However, such a spotlight is not only beneficial to the athletes who delight on a nightly basis. It is shared by NBA partners and team-affiliated brands that gain significant exposure when the games’ importance intensifies. We explored what the brighter lights and heightened fan interest meant for brands during the first round of the 2022 postseason. MVP’s broadcast platform enabled us to gather comprehensive viewership metrics and detect logos present on playoff telecasts to determine accurate value generation. We complemented these findings with a social dive examining engagements, impressions, and values from owned accounts belonging to the NBA, this year’s playoff teams, and various verified media accounts from one day before the playoffs began, April 15, through the day after round one’s conclusion, April 30. Among the key takeaways from the first round was how many fans tuned in to watch, as opening-round games drew an average audience of 2.72 million viewers. NBA partners prospered as a result, collectively earning $102.9M in broadcast brand value throughout the round. But our analysis affirmed not all value generation is equal.

More Viewers Means More Value

The NBA has turned into a nearly year-round sport, including summer league games, preseason matchups, the regular season, and the playoffs. But fan interest is never higher than it is from April to June when the postseason is in full swing. We began the 2021-2022 season with insights regarding viewership habits, and our report following the opening month revealed average viewers on national telecasts numbered 1.7 million. That figure jumped by 60.2% for the opening round of the playoffs, benefiting brands to the tune of millions of dollars’ worth of additional broadcast value. Overall, brands received $139.5M in broadcast value during the two weeks spanning the first round, with NBA sponsors accounting for 73.8% of the total. These figures resulted from combined brand exposure lasting 161 hours and 43 minutes across all games, and the companies with the largest share of brand exposure are among the Association’s top presenting sponsors. Kia Motors led the way in total value generated with $23.29M, but it was followed closely by Google/Google Pixel’s $22.46M. The pair swapped places in terms of exposure duration, with Google/Google Pixel receiving 28 hours and 34 minutes’ worth of exposure thanks to 37 total placements, compared to Kia’s 22 total placements earning 26 hours and 37 minutes of exposure. State Farm earned $20.32M in broadcast value to finish third in our broadcast value rankings, followed by CoinBase and Tissot, with $13.23M and $5.74M, respectively. Brands without NBA partnerships who also reaped the benefits of playoff basketball were led by Fiserv, naming rights partner for the arena the reigning champion Milwaukee Bucks call home, which received $4.05M in broadcast value and placed seventh among all brands.

Establishing the Correct Position

A logo’s mere presence in an arena does not guarantee significant value for its brand, regardless of how widely-viewed an event is. Viewers must be able to see and recognize said logo for it to make an impression. Among the most pivotal factors for generating value are placement and prominence. We used MVP’s AI-powered logo detection software to determine which locations provide the most clarity and longest duration for brands to be seen on playoff broadcasts. Overwhelmingly, the pole pad surpassed all others in terms of total value and total duration. Throughout the first round of the 2022 NBA playoffs, brands displayed on pole pads in the sixteen arenas combined to earn $34.69M in broadcast value thanks to 43 hours and six minutes’ worth of exposure. Goal stanchions were responsible for the second-most total value – $18.85M – followed by graphics integration, courtside LED displays, and floor aprons. Among the top five, graphics integration received the highest average value per second at $248.04. Placement varieties outside of the top five in our value rankings to generate more than $5M in brand value included the shot clock and jerseys, earning $5.56M and $5.53M, respectively.

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Spreading the Floor on Social

In addition to larger audiences watching the action on television, millions also follow the NBA playoffs on social media, creating even more opportunities for brands to thrive and earn value. Our evaluation of NBA- and media-related accounts revealed 24,587 social posts during the first round of the playoffs, resulting in $135.88M in post value. Of that total, brands earned $25.17M because of their presence in text, images, and videos shared across the major platforms. Throughout the two weeks we studied, NBA social content earned 190.68 million engagements and created 6.64 billion impressions, with each metric peaking on April 17, the second day of the postseason. Twitter was responsible for the greatest share of post value, as its $59.14M represented 43.5% of the total. However, Instagram – with only 19.1% as much content as Twitter – finished second with $45.55M in total post value. Its average post value of $14,949 was at least 2.29x higher than all other platforms’ averages. A substantial reason for Instagram’s value success was its 143.63 million engagements – 75.4% of engagements across the four platforms we scanned.

Online Presences Nets Millions

While post value is a critical lens through which to view social content, understanding its brand value is of utmost importance to team and league partners. Brands earn social value through logo prominence in highlights featuring in-game exposure, graphics integration on posts, or even hashtags in copy, among other branding placements. And, although their order shifted, brands that best capitalized on potential broadcast value were once again atop our rankings in social value. Google/Google Pixel topped our list with $6.33M in social brand value generated, nearly doubling State Farm Insurance, whose $3.25M in social brand value was good for second place in the rankings. The only other NBA partner to exceed seven figures in social value during the first round was Kia Motors, which received $2.06M. Nike and CoinBase rounded out the top five, with each brand in our top ten netting north of $200,000 in social brand value.

Heading Into Crunch Time

Maintaining a brand presence in front of potential customers requires a multi-faceted approach. Individuals consume entertainment in a variety of ways – sometimes simultaneously – so it is vital for companies to be visible on broadcast and social media. The NBA’s top sponsors have exhibited an understanding of omnichannel branding, as evidenced by Google/Google Pixel, Kia, and State Farm all finishing among the top three in terms of value rankings on each medium during the playoffs’ first round. With the 2022 NBA Finals on the horizon, branding opportunities for league partners will offer further inflated values on television and online, incentivizing sponsors to enhance their creativity while also building upon successful strategies to date. MVP will continue to monitor omnichannel values throughout the playoffs and provide a comprehensive look at how brands performed following the postseason’s conclusion.

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