Snapshot: All things NBA Sponsorship

SponsorPulse Staff
  • May 10, 2023
  • SponsorPulse Staff
McDonald's, Verizon, AT&T & FanDuel are all partners of the NBA. Find out which brand made the most impact among NBA fans in the US in our '22 season report.
The NBA is a bonafide cultural institution. With over 112MM Americans engaged in the last year alone, its reach is unparalleled. With such a tall following, the NBA has earned its powerful SponsorPulse opportunity ranking (#4 of 529 properties in the US, but who’s counting?)

Who sponsors the NBA?

The league attracts brand partners across various industries looking to capitalize on the signal boost that an NBA partnership can provide. To understand sponsorship performance, we conducted a sponsorship impact study including Mcdonald's, DoorDash, Verizon, AT&T, Mountain Dew, Clorox, Kia, FanDuel, Red Bull and Michelob Ultra. 

In this article, we shed light on the fan demographics behind the league’s top three brand partnerships, and provide intel on what unexplored categories are currently waiting to be capitalized on.

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The NBA’s Top Sponsors, Ranked


Aided Sponsor Awareness: 67%

McDonald’s goes all out when it comes to its player endorsements with some of the biggest names in the NBA. This year, they’ve partnered up with teams including the Toronto Raptors and Phoenix Suns. Despite being replaced by Taco Bell as an official league sponsor back in 2009, the golden arches are still top of mind among NBA fans, among which 67% called out McDonald’s in our aided awareness study. 

With that, McDonald’s also scored a 42% net increase in favorability among NBA-engaged fans. They’re turning that reach into tangible brand impact. 


Aided Sponsor Awareness: 67%

AT&T brings a futuristic approach to its partnership with the NBA as the official 5G Innovation partner. The telco is reimagining the way that fans experience sports through experiential activations and at-home technologies. According to our data, AT&T is reaching its target audience, as 69% of US consumers that are thinking about switching telco providers also engage with the NBA.

The innovation is paying off. Among NBA-engaged fans, 67% recalled that AT&T was a brand sponsor in our aided awareness study, and what’s more 35% reported feeling more favorable toward the brand as a result. They’re banking that increase in favorability leads to AT&T being the telco of choice as consumers consider new options. 


Aided Sponsor Awareness: 53%

FanDuel is killing it. The co-official sports betting partner of the league has expanded marketing, content and digital rights, to boot. With 79% of FanDuel users engaging with the NBA, the match is close to perfection. In fact, 55% of people who have placed a sports bet, on any platform, report that they are excited about the NBA.

So how’s the deal paying off? Pretty well, we’d say. Although FanDuel didn’t score as high in aided sponsor awareness compared to other partners, it topped our list of brand sponsors with the greatest increase in purchase consideration among engaged NBA fans with a net increase of 35%. Talk about driving impact in a highly competitive and fragmented sport betting category. 

Untapped Sponsorship Categories in the NBA

While the NBA has an impressive portfolio of brand partners, there’s immense opportunity for additional brand categories to connect with the league via sponsorship. Our data suggests that sponsorship gaps exist for categories such as:

Non-Alcoholic Beer

The burgeoning non-alcoholic beer industry has ballooned in recent years. 2022 saw the market grow to $22B, and 72% of individuals who purchased it have engaged with the NBA in the last year. 

Electric Vehicles

With 75% of electric vehicle drivers engaging with the NBA, an official electric vehicle brand partner could be in the cards in upcoming years.

The Metaverse

Courtside seats from the comfort of your home? It’s not far-fetched! In fact, 75% of those who have visited the futuristic digital space are watching the NBA—carving plenty of opportunity for the league to innovate in unprecedented ways.

Dating Apps

Once used in secret by hopeless romantics looking for love, recent years have seen dating apps embraced wholeheartedly by the public. Among app users, 66% are tuning into the NBA with 54% doing so weekly. Talk about Love & Basketball!

Slam Dunk your Strategy with SponsorPulse

Want to see how other NBA sponsors stack up across aided awareness, favorability and purchase consideration categories? Download a free preview of the NBA Sponsorship Impact Report, which compares the performance of top sponsors including Mcdonald's, Verizon, FanDuel, DoorDash and more. 

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