Read all Dr. Kirk Wakefield's work here.

Oct 19, 2021

A Freshly Take on Football Sponsorships: Focus on Progress and People

The shifting consumer landscape coming out of the pandemic finds CMOs focused on measurable progress to demonstrate how their brands fit with emerging lifestyles. Freshly's partnership with the Baltimore Ravens capitalizes on lifestyle trends, serving as a template for teams and brands.

Jul 23, 2021

Why Brands Love Sports: Fans Are Innovative, Progressive, Social, Upscale And Diverse

Brands like AdventHealth and Bud Light love Tampa Bay Lightning fans for the same reasons sponsors love home team fans everywhere: It pays off. Research from YouGov shows fans are more likely to be innovative & progressive, socially outgoing, and upscale & diverse than the general population.


Jul 14, 2021

Why Do Sponsors Love Sports Fans? Start With An Openness To Gambling, Sharing Opinions And Buying From Ads

Fans who watch most or almost all of their favorite team’s games are just different from everyone else. And in a very good way for brands who market through sports, as this nationwide study shows.


Jul 7, 2021

Why Home Team Fans Are So Valuable To Sponsors

With over $68 billion invested in sponsorships last year and the signing of record NBA (estimated to be $75 billion) and NFL ($110 billion) media deals, has the world gone mad? Or are sports fans really worth more to advertisers?


Apr 26, 2021

The Kentucky Derby Makes The Fastest Two Minutes In Sports A Year-Round Party

The Kentucky Derby turned the fastest two minutes in sports into a year-round party with strategic implications for sports marketers everywhere. The Derby's partnership marketing stands out in four ways.


Apr 5, 2021

Major League Baseball At Odds With Itself And Its Fans

Results from a weekend poll of Americans shows Major League Baseball’s decision to relocate the All-Star game from Atlanta places itself at odds with both its fans and itself.

Mar 26, 2021

Pandemic Propels Sports Sponsorships To Outperform Expectations

With over 177,000 fans studied in 2019-20, sponsors of 32 professional sports properties reached more fans in 2020 (than 2019) through digital and social media, commercial messages on TV and radio, (virtual) community events, and in-camera view gameday assets provided by teams.


Jan 7, 2021

Are All Fans Equal? A League Guide To Who Thrives In 2021

With an optimistic outlook for fans return to the stands sometime in 2021, which leagues do its fans think are heading in the right direction? A national poll (N=2,6442) compares fans of the NBA, NHL, NFL, MLB and MLS to find out.


Aug 28, 2020

Escape From 2020: A Case To Separate Sports And Politics For More Fans And Higher Ratings

With an election year upon us and an overload of dreary news, are sports fans turned off when they can’t escape from politics, protests and pandemic news? A national poll of sports fans makes the case for a separation of sports and politics.


Jul 27, 2020

Poll: NFL Fans Prefer Players Stand, But OK With Kneeling

When, where and how we kneel means different things to different people. What do NFL fans think about players kneeling during the national anthem? An NFL fan poll shows fans want players to stand, but can stand it if they don't.


Jul 20, 2020

Shift In Consumer Spending Brings New Sports Sponsorship Opportunities

We first look where consumers are spending money, then we look at where they’ve been spending their time, and then we follow the money—noting which relevant stock prices have soared over the past quarter.

Jul 9, 2020

Sponsors Take Heart: Sports Teams Will Reach Fans With Or Without Attendance

Teams and brands are concerned about sponsorship value if fans cannot attend games. But data shows it doesn’t mean teams won't reach them. In fact, the numbers show brands may catch more fans on different channels.


Jun 23, 2020

Return On Generosity (ROG): New Metrics For A New Generation Of Sports Fans

The bad news of 2020 brings good news: We now live in a time where investing in change for social advancement makes good moral and financial sense. Why? Because Americans value generous, purpose-driven brands. Brand category leaders can amplify positive impact with sports partnerships.


Jun 16, 2020

10 Ways Brand Partnerships Can Promote Sustainability In The Post-COVID Sports Industry

In the new fanscape, brands have a huge opportunity to make a difference. Here are 10 ways brands can partner with sports teams to make changes for good.


May 26, 2020

Thanks To Coronavirus, Expect Ratings For Live Sports Broadcasts To Set Records

The coronavirus stopped live sports, but it’s also pumping up excitement from pent-up demand for sports like never before. The latest national poll shows 90% of fans are excited for sports to return and about the same plan to watch as much or more than before.


May 19, 2020

Can Fans Recall NFL, NBA And MLB Sponsors? Data Show Brands May Want To Reconsider Strategy

Without live sports, do fans recall who sponsors what? Is the impact of a league deal worth the investment over team-by-team deals? A national poll shows which brands and leagues fare the best.


Apr 17, 2020

Take Me Out To The Ballgame: National Poll Says Fans Are Ready To Go

When live play resumes with fans in attendance for sporting events, will they want to sit by others they don't know? A national poll says yes, with MLS, PGA, NASCAR and NCAA fans leading the way.


Apr 11, 2020

Wrestlemania, XFL, And How Fan Passion Multiplies Everything

The XFL didn’t have enough time to fan the flames of passion to convert the curious to the committed. A look at what Americans would be willing to substitute for live sports and how the Net Fan Score (NFS) separates fans from flakes.


Apr 6, 2020

The New Fanscape: When Stadiums And Arenas Reopen, What Must We Do Differently?

What must be done differently once play resumes to deal with the new fanscape? This is where crisis meets ingenuity. Matt O'Neil jump-starts the conversation with ten tips for venues.


Apr 2, 2020

What Athletic Departments And NFL Teams Need To Know Now About Football Fans

With another 30 days at home, we update how fans are feeling now and provide five insights on how NCAA Athletic Departments and NFL teams can best reach fans during the pandemic.


Apr 1, 2020

Evidence From The Internet: How The Pandemic Sparks Sports Fans On Twitter

The United States dominated Twitter with 40% of all pandemic-related posts over the past week. Why? Users tweet at least 2X more about COVID-19 if they're sports fans.

Mar 22, 2020

Which Sport Fans Are The Best At Flattening The Curve?

The coronavirus is the nastiest curve fans have ever seen. Are fans fighting back by flattening it? Which leagues' fans are doing the most?

Mar 13, 2020

How Are Sports Fans Taking The Coronavirus Cancellations?

With the NBA, the NHL, MLS and the NCAA shuttering operations because of the coronavirus outbreak, what’s a sports fan to do? Will fan passion sustain, wax or wane? A national panel of fans weighed in.


Apr 3, 2019

Why The AAF Was Doomed To Fail

Some were optimistic the AAF would survive, maybe even thrive, as it filled the void NFL fans feel after the Super Bowl. Others laid odds that in-game betting would draw interest. Still others thought the people involved would make the difference. The league never had a chance. Here's why.


Mar 26, 2019

What If Pro Sports Operated Like Other Businesses? 7 Ideas Teams Could Use Now

If airlines can put electrical sockets and screens on the back of seats, why can't pro sports? If auto makers can put heated seats in my car, why don't outdoor stadiums? With that logic, here are seven tips for pro sports to make life better for fans.


Feb 2, 2019

MLB Stars Are So Easy To Overlook, JCPenney Misses Adrian Beltre In Its Own Ad

How can a future Major League Baseball Hall of Famer like Adrian Beltre randomly appear in a slice-of-life commercial from JCPenney without anyone noticing? Is there more to the story?

Jan 2, 2019

Why You Might Get In Cheap To The 2019 National Championship Game

Ticket prices escalate when teams with big followings in big media markets play in places people want to go. What isn't as obvious is why some games--like the 2019 Alabama vs Clemson match-up--don't draw top dollar. Could planners selecting Levi's Stadium in 2015 have foreseen this coming?


Jan 2, 2019

Five Ticket Trends To Watch In Sports & Entertainment In 2019

Inventory is sister to innovation in ticket pricing and practices. Look for more creative pricing from MLB, NBA, NHL and MLS teams as they adapt to five major shifts in consumer preferences for buying and consuming experiences.