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Uncovering The Value of Brands Sponsoring NFL Stadiums

Jon Schwartz  Follow

The National Football League’s new “League Year” officially kicked off in March—players traded, options exercised and unrestricted free agents testing the open market. And while this month’s NFL Draft in Detroit is drawing much of the attention, this time of year also marks the “unofficial” start of the critical planning season for corporations invested in sponsorships with the League, its clubs and stadiums across the nation. 

The world’s most impactful brands are in the midst of developing their NFL activations for the 2024 season, making plans to renew existing sponsorships and making decisions on investing in new ones. There are lots of opinions and hot takes about these decisions. But like the best marketing and branding, the right answer is a blend of hard data and emotional connections. 

Sponsoring an NFL stadium, for example, is a substantial and complex decision as most of the agreements are 10-plus years in duration. Sponsors entertaining new partnerships or renewal discussions with these facilities have much to consider, including the degree to which a stadium can provide a lift to their respective brand. 

At Prosek, we recently conducted an analysis—more details on its methodology below—about the impact that traditional earned media surrounding NFL stadium entitlement sponsorships can have on brand sentiment, i.e., the positive, negative, or neutral tonality of the news coverage that includes mentions of the stadium(s). 

Some of the findings even surprised us:

Stadium entitlement sponsorships are effective in driving brand affinity, but brands must activate them aggressively and consistently: Nearly half (48.3 percent) of the 29 NFL stadiums with entitlement sponsors provided a positive net sentiment lift to their respective sponsor’s brand in traditional online news coverage. The Top 5 are:

  1. State Farm Stadium
  2. Allegiant Stadium
  3. Lumen Field
  4. U.S. Bank Stadium
  5. NRG Stadium

Traditional earned media sentiment toward a stadium entitlement sponsor has little to do with its respective NFL team’s on-field performance: Only two NFL teams that play in the stadiums that provided the highest positive net sentiment lift to their respective entitlement sponsor finished the 2023 season in the Top 10 in the final NFL standings:

  • Baltimore Ravens
  • Detroit Lions

The best performing stadium entitlement sponsorships are not limited to the largest cities: Only two of the NFL stadiums providing the most positive net sentiment lift to their respective entitlement sponsor are in the Top 10 U.S. media markets:

  • SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles (No. 2 DMA)
  • NRG Stadium in Houston (No. 6 DMA)

Hometown brands are among the top-performing stadium sponsors: The Top 5 NFL stadiums (with entitlement sponsors) that have the highest net positive sentiment feature brands that are based in the same city as the stadium they sponsor:

  1. GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium (Kansas City)
  2. NRG Stadium (Houston)
  3. Raymond James Stadium (Tampa/St. Petersburg)
  4. Lucas Oil Stadium (Indianapolis)
  5. AT&T Stadium (Dallas)

Iconic stadiums without an entitlement sponsor performed inconsistently: The three NFL stadiums without an entitlement sponsor varied in terms of positive net sentiment:

  • Browns Stadium (4th)
  • Lambeau Field (17th)
  • Soldier Field (25th)

The sectors receiving the most positive net sentiment lift from their respective stadium entitlement sponsorship, ranked in order, are:

  1. Energy
  2. Telecommunications and Technology
  3. Automotive
  4. Insurance and Retirement
  5. Shipping

Now, what to do with these insights? Here are five ways brand marketers and sports property owners can maximize NFL stadium entitlement sponsorships:

  1. Leverage earned media to tell your business story. By using strategic communications to drive storytelling and awareness about how and why your brand is investing in a stadium entitlement sponsorship, you can drive commerce, enhance the fan experience and leave a positive indelible mark on the community.
  2. Create and pursue opportunities for executives to serve as thought leaders on sports sponsorship, branding and fan engagement. These contributions credibly position the brand as a thought leader and deepen its relationship with the media, fans and other key stakeholders.
  3. Curate bespoke brand-stadium partnership content. Content such as blog posts, videos and infographics can be shared on team, stadium, and sponsor brand owned and operated channels such as websites, social media and email newsletters to engage fans. It can also drive key calls-to-action such as sponsor activation and community impact initiatives.
  4. Establish a custom traditional earned media sponsorship scorecard to track brand impact. Monitor your performance against the broader league and use the scorecard to help build and drive communications strategy.  
  5. Integrate stadium sponsorship into broader marketing communications campaigns. Consistent messaging across platforms spanning multiple traditional media channels, including print, broadcast and outdoor advertising reinforces brand recall and extends its reach to diverse audience segments.

To learn more about this report and/or how Prosek Partners can help build and execute communications strategies that maximize your brand’s sports sponsorships, contact us at

Methodology: This proprietary report is a collaboration between the firm’s relatively new sports business and data analytics practices and showcases Prosek’s consultancy capabilities in these spaces for sports properties, brands, and sponsors.

The report provides an overview of the performance of the NFL’s 30 stadiums over a one-year period (January 1, 2023, to December 31, 2023) in traditional earned media. 

The stadium sponsors were ranked using a weighted score considering volume, engagement, and net sentiment. Comparisons were made between stadium coverage, brand coverage, and the coverage of the host team. 

Prosek crafted a set of queries to capture relevant mentions of all entitlement stadium sponsor brands across the U.S., supplemented by additional queries tailored to filter coverage for specific stadiums or teams.

While it should be noted that no platform can capture all existing coverage and some of the used metrics are subject to change, the firm utilized its industry-leading partner tools for the report – which uses a Boolean structure to focus on original news stories in English and originating from the U.S. 

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