Study Shows Women’s Sport Sponsorships Expanded 20 Percent In 2022
Thursday, October 20, 2022
by: SGB

Section: Member News

Study Shows Women’s Sport Sponsorships Expanded 20 Percent In 2022

Photo courtesy Alex Morgan/Getty

Sponsorship deals across women’s sports increased 20 percent year-over-year in 2022, according to a study by SponsorUnited. Nike and Adidas were the top brand partners for both professional and collegiate sports.

SponsorUnited’s study covered major U.S. sports, including LPGA, NWSL, WNBA, WTA, top European soccer leagues, Women’s Super League and Liga F, and Big Bash League, AFL, NRL Telstra Premiership, Netball Superleague, Suncorp Super Netball and World Netball.

The study found 3,500 brands bought 5,650 sponsorships or media across 14 professional women’s leagues and collegiate NIL athletes. It also found that 1,110 brands purchased 2,185 sponsorships or media across individual professional and collegiate female athletes.

Finance brands, already the most active sponsorship category among women’s sports, upped their sponsorships by 30 percent, followed by apparel, accessories and media to round out the Top 3 brand verticals.

Among activewear brands, Nike sponsorships with the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA), NWSL, Women’s Big Bash League (Cricket), Netball and the LPGA, and more than 60 female athletes. Nike also sponsors five collegiate athletes and has partnerships with 68 colleges.

Adidas trails Nike as the second top brand partner for professional and collegiate sports.

Among players, Alex Morgan of the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL), shown lead photo, was the most endorsed female athlete of the year, scoring 27 brand deals in 2022, over Ali Krieger, Serena Williams and Naomi Osaka, the top three most-endorsed female athletes in 2021. Morgan is also endorsed by Coca-Cola, Google, Chipotle, Michelob Ultra, and AT&T, among others.

Among leagues, the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA), with 940 brand deals in 2022, saw a 30 percent increase in contracts from the previous year and an 18 percent increase in new brand partnerships. Notable partnerships include Coca-Cola, Rolex and Epson. The LPGA held a 17-deal lead over the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA), which had 923 deals in 2022, followed by the National Women’s Soccer League, which had 496 deals.

“While Women’s sports have always faced a variety of disparities in the industry, their ability to win over audiences and drive an exceptionally high level of engagement for brands is undeniable,” said Bob Lynch, CEO and founder, SponsorUnited. “In recent years, attendance, viewership and social engagement for women’s sports and athletes have spiked, leading to long-overdue financial backing through investments and sponsorships that are visibly paying off and should only continue to accelerate.”

Photo courtesy Alex Morgan/Getty

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