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Study: NBA sponsorship revenue hits US$1.4bn for 2022/23

Increase in spend across deals rises 10.5% YoY, according to SponsorUnited.

24 May 2023 Ed Dixon

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  • Sponsorship revenue up by more than US$100m from 2021/22
  • NBA’s sponsorship portfolio climbs 3.5% YoY with 2.4k new brand deals
  • Finance category top in total spending, highest YoY spending growth, and growth in deal volume

National Basketball Association (NBA) sponsorship revenue grew by more than US$100 million year-over-year (YoY) to reach US$1.4 billion in the 2022/23 season, according to SponsorUnited.

The figures from SponsorUnited’s ‘NBA Marketing Partnerships Report’ also revealed that the league’s sponsorship portfolio rose 3.5 per cent YoY with 2,430 new brand deals. Increase in sponsorship spend was up 10.5 per cent on the 2021/22 campaign.

Sponsorship data and advertising services firm SponsorUnited noted high-growth categories such as financial, retail, sports betting, and gambling and lottery accounting for nearly half of the total revenue increase, which drove major revenue gains.

The finance category ranked number one in total spending, highest YoY spending growth, and growth in deal volume.

The study also highlighted NBA athletes’ social media influence, which surpassed other professional sports athletes by nearly 2.5 times the average engagement per deal. Indeed, playoff status measurably impacted NBA social media growth, especially on Instagram, with the report finding that teams that made the playoffs saw a 33 per cent higher increase in followers than those that did not.

When it came to asset usage, YouTube integrated sponsorship saw the highest YoY increase. However, SponsorUnited stated that less than half of NBA teams have capitalised on the Google-owned video platform, describing it as a ‘glaring oversight of a golden growth opportunity’. For context, the NBA’s YouTube channel attracts more than 75 million unique viewers every 90 days, according to the study

Social responsibility formed a key part of sponsorship efforts in 2022/23, with more than 300 brands focusing on social equality, environmental stewardship, community support, and health and empowerment initiatives. These purpose-driven assets increased 25 per cent YoY, which SponsorUnited said reflected the NBA’s growing role as a ‘progressive leader’ in professional sports.

“The NBA continues to excel in attracting brands, evident in the record high sponsorship spend and continuous year-over-year spend increase,” said Bob Lynch, SponsorUnited founder and chief executive.

“Whether it’s well-established partners or emerging categories like sports betting and technology, the NBA and its players’ allure remains unmatched as brands recognise the distinct value this sport and its passionate fanbase offer to their marketing strategies. It is poised for continuous growth.”

SportsPro says…

It has been another stellar season for NBA teams when it comes to sponsorship. Highlights over the last year include the league expanding the International Team Marketing Plan (ITMP), enabling franchises to sign more partnerships outside of the US and Canada in order to tap new revenue sources.

Brands know the extensive exposure they will be getting when aligning with teams. The 2022/23 regular season showed just that, racking up record-breaking engagement across its social and digital platforms, amassing 32 billion views for all NBA and NBA-related social media accounts, up more than ten per cent YoY. There is scope for further growth should teams make better use of YouTube.

The NBA can be regarded as arguably the most tech-savvy sports league in the world, which has seen it up efforts in areas such as augmented reality (AR) to boost fan engagement. Combine that with the NBA positioning itself as a flagbearer for social responsibility in sport and it’s easy to see why brands are so keen to get onboard.

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