Based on 97 partnerships studied since 2018 including naming rights or entitlements for buildings (N = 35; recall = 87%), jerseys/helmets (N = 38, recall = 66%), and training centers (N = 24, recall = 59%). Those recall percentages for entitlements compare to an average of 40% recall across nearly 700 partnerships without these entitlements.

Using the scientific method to infer the entitlement effects, the chart shows that as fans are reached by more partnership assets, the more those fans prefer the partner’s brand.

Preference scores range from zero to 100. A representative sample of a team’s fan base answers questions about a category (e.g, wireless: AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile) separately from identifying the sponsor among those in the category.


Properties sell brands the rights to communicate with fans using the team’s IP in marketing campaigns, media (TV, radio, digital, social) and on-premise (venue, concourse, clubs, and everything in-bowl and in-camera view). The chart allows us to infer that among the fans reached by these assets, brand preference for the partner increases while preferences for their primary competitors generally remain flat among all fans.

Among fans reached by any one of these assets, brand preference for the partner increases 45.8% compared to fans who are unaware of the partnership (0 = no recall). Among fans reached by any two of these communication channels, fans’ preference for the partner’s brand increases by 57.1%. Among fans influenced by any three of the partner’s assets, preference increases 71.2%. The best scenario is multichannel scenario among fans influenced by four or more partnership assets, where brand preference nearly doubles (+ 94.7%) compared to fans not reached at all.

The Key to Entitlements

The primary benefit of entitlements is much higher partnership recall. When fans link the team/brand in their minds, team passion transfers to the brand. But the real key is that over half of fans are reached with multiple channels of communication. That compares with only one-quarter reached with multiple channels among non-title deals.

In other words, title deals reach twice as many fans with multiple channels. Basic psychology research confirms what we all know: People remember things better when the same messages are repeated from a variety of visual, audio and experiential inputs.

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