Sports Marketing & Sponsorship Spenders: Q2 2021

May 13, 2021

On a recent episode of the Win More podcast on OOH advertising, host John Zaldonis made the case that sports sponsorship spending is going to surge this summer. As more Americans are vaccinated and events start up again, brands partnering with sports teams will have a serious advantage in the out-of-home category. In fact, I attended my first baseball game in almost two years last weekend, and while it was very odd to sit in a packed stadium, the joy in the crowd was undeniable.

60+ Sponsorship Spenders Planning in Q2 2021

Download the list of brands investing in sports sponsorship in Q2 2021

As the companies from our downloadable list work to identify sports teams to partner with, it’s just as important for the teams to ensure that the brands reaching out align with their audience. Sponsorship, media and agency pros, keep reading to research four of the top brands from our selection of 60 plus. By acquiring data on their spending patterns, other marketing channels they invest heavily in, target audience, and agency relationships, you might uncover powerful sports sponsorship opportunities you would have otherwise never considered.

1)  Guess?

The clothing retailer is focused primarily on localized advertising and on collaborating with local artists and celebrities. From a sponsorship perspective, I’m as surprised as you that the fashion brand is in the sports game, but per sports relationship data in Winmo, the company has a partnership with the Los Angeles football club (that’s soccer, for you Americans).

Guess?’s ad spend is dropping, but its digital business has accelerated more than expected as execs strive to make the company relevant to Gen-Z and millennials. It’s also focused on solidifying relationships with existing customers. The company’s estimated full-year 2020 spend nearly doubled to $2M from that of $1.1M in 2019. This drop in spending matches the shifts mentioned in the company’s earnings call.

  • Sports and sponsorship readers: If its Los Angeles football club relationship is an indication, there’s opportunity for additional sports marketing exposure.
  • Media Sellers: Stand out with localized ad space around Guess?’s retail locations. Per Kantar data, Guess? also invests in print and OOH media. The company has also started showing moderate interest in search marketing recently.
  • Agency and martech readers: There are no major signals that Guess? will conduct any agency reviews soon, so seek more immediate opportunities elsewhere for the time being. The company’s roster currently includes Mediassociates (media) and Havas Media Group NY (digital).

2)  Sleep Number

The mattress company began 2021 with demand increasing by 30% in Q1 compared to Q1 2020 and increased sales by 20% to $568M. The company is revising its marketing strategy by cutting back on national TV ads to make room in the budget for higher ROI and more targeted digital ads. Part of this process included bringing digital media buying in-house. It even ran a digital campaign in March to promote upgrades to its 360 smart beds.

  • Sports and sponsorship teams: According to sponsorship relationships in Winmo, Sleep Number has been involved with properties including the Kansas City Chiefs and National Football League, signaling an openness to sports marketing opportunities.
  • Media sellers: Sleep Number mainly targets Gen-X and millennials through digital display and national TV ads. It has been moving away from a massive TV ad budget and adding dollars to digital channels. Additionally, the company is incorporating more social media ads. Sellers should contact this company offering relevant ad space. Magellan reports Sleep Number placed over 1.5K podcast ads over the last year.
  • Agency and martech readers: Sleep Number brought digital media buying in-house recently, but still works with Horizon Media (media) and Tunheim Partners (PR). Reach out to see if there are any opportunities.

3)  Capital One

The bank holding company, which boasts a few sports marketing relationships (details below), has been increasing digital spend so far this year after a 2020 decline. It is also increasing national TV spend for its credit card business and should continue spending at this level for the foreseeable future. Capital One spent around $50M on digital display ads YTD, a 48% increase from $25.4M spent in this channel during the same time period of 2020. Full-year spend fell 35% from $134M in 2019 to $87.2M in 2020.

  • Sponsorship sellers: According to our sports partnership data, Capital One is active in a few markets, with relationships including the Washington Wizards, Washington Capitals and The New Orleans Pelicans.
  • Media sellers: Spend most likely declined in 2020 due to cost-saving measures amid the pandemic. It seems to primarily target Gen-X and millennial men through national TV and digital display ads and also invests in OOH, print, radio, and local broadcast TV ads, per Kantar. Sellers should reach out to secure some of these extra ad dollars. Magellan reports Capital One placed about 5.3K podcast ads over the last year.
  • Agency and martech readers: Look for work elsewhere as there are no signs of an upcoming review. Capital One works with GSD&M (creative AOR), Horizon Media (media buying and planning), T3 (social), Taylor (PR), and Authentic (digital).

4)  Dell

The computer technology company increased ad spend last year and appears to be on track to surpass 2020 spend in 2021. Dell is likely attempting to capitalize on consumers upgrading technology while they are working from home. According to iSpot, Dell spent around $9M on national TV ads YTD, a 37% increase from $6M spent during the same time period of 2020. Full-year spend jumped 17% from $40M in 2019 to $50M in 2020.

Magellan reports Dell placed about 800 podcast ads over the last year.

  • Sellers: Dell primarily targets Gen-Z and millennial men through digital display and national TV ads. It also invests in OOH, print, radio, and local broadcast TV ads, per Kantar. The company has been adding funds to its marketing budget since 2019 and looks like it will continue in 2021. Sellers should get in touch with this company to secure some of these extra ad dollars.
  • Agency and martech readers: Dell currently works with MediaCom (media AOR) and VMLY&R (creative AOR). There are no signs pointing towards a review any time soon.

Download the complete list of brands investing in sports sponsorship in Q2 2021

60+ Sponsorship Spenders Planning in Q2 2021


If you liked this blog post, check out:

  1. How to Implement Winmo’s New OTT Insights
  2. Is Cryptocurrency the Next Big Sports Sponsor?
  3. 5 Traits Corporate Sponsors Look For in Partners

Economic recovery is in full swing, which means budgets are back, baby. Subscribe to the Winmo blog to receive actionable insights you can use now.

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