Trending Now: Sponsorship Trends that are here to Stay in 2023

SponsorPulse Staff
  • February 2, 2023
  • SponsorPulse Staff
Sponsorship trends 2023
New year, same trends? That’s right. The past few years have seen palpable growth across a variety of sports sponsorship sectors, and we don’t predict a shift anytime soon.

3 Sports Sponsorship Trends that are here to Stay

NIL Deals Rolling in

After the inaugural year of name, image, and likeness garnered $917M for the industry, it’s safe to say that NIL is here to stay. The endorsement of emerging athletes enables brands to form fundamental bonds with talent early on in their careers, encouraging a sustainable symbiotic relationship that endures over time.

NIL athletes are fresh on the scene, inspiring fans to feel like they’re a part of their rise to stardom. Interestingly, our data suggests that many top NIL athletes hold higher interest ratings than their established counterparts. 

When asked, 31% of consumers said they expected their interest in NIL quarterback Quinn Ewers to grow. Compare that to the G.O.A.T Tom Brady, at 10%, and you’ll understand the industry’s enthusiastic embrace of NIL. In short: NIL athletes are coming for the crown, and sponsorship marketers are here for it.

Increased Focus on Women's Sports

Give them what they want: Increased sponsorship opportunities in the women’s sports industry!

Passion for women’s sports unites industry and consumer perspectives. With 47% of industry professionals and 40% of consumers gunning for more investment.

Trails were blazed last year. From the NWSL championship becoming the most-watched match in league history, to the WNBA smashing records with their most-watched season since 2006—the growth has been seismic.  

When it comes to the push for support in women’s sports, ESPN understood the assignment. In 2022, the disney-owned sports broadcaster doubled the number of WNBA-focused social media posts across the company’s network of accounts, resulting in 193M video views, a whopping 90% increase over 2021. Our data reflects the surge, with WNBA engagement steadily trending upward over the last 5 years. With this kind of momentum, it’s only up from here. 

Emerging Alternative Sports

Emerging alternative sports are a significant opportunity with consumers. With more than 50% of Americans interested in Pickleball, Cornhole, Disc Golf and Axe Throwing, brands are finally catching up.

Take pickleball, the fastest-growing sport in America. With 4.8 million players, the pickleball mania has been growing with increased fervor since its original uptick during the first year of the pandemic. Last fall, Molson Coors brand Vizzy signed on to become the first official hard seltzer of the Professional Pickleball Association Tour (PPA). 

We predict there’s more where that came from. While only 8% of industry professionals believed that alternative sports were a big growth category for the sponsorship industry, 36% of consumers want to see more sponsorship investment in it. As Hyundai put it when they announced their partnership with the PPA tour last summer, there’s no time like the present to explore the new frontier in sports marketing.

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