SBJ/February 28 - March 6, 2011/Research and Ratings

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  • Gatorade steady, Coors slips in latest survey

    Two-thirds of avid NFL fans can correctly identify Gatorade as the league’s official sports drink, according to the results of a recent survey completed for SportsBusiness Journal by Turnkey Sports & Entertainment, as that relationship maintained its status as one of the more recognized corporate partnerships in sports.

    Gatorade’s awareness levels among avid fans has fluctuated significantly in similar surveys of MLB, NBA, NHL, MLS, NASCAR and PGA Tour fans. Alternative beverages such as Red Bull and Monster have increased their presence in the sports space, and Gatorade underwent a highly visible and roundly chided rebranding effort in early 2009. However, there has been almost no variance among avid NFL fans in correctly identifying Gatorade as the league’s official sports/energy drink over the past three seasons.

    Gatorade has been an NFL partner since 1983.

    A category where change has been seen is wireless service. Verizon signed on in early 2010 as the NFL’s official sponsor in that category, with a reported four-year deal valued at $720 million.

    According to the survey results, among avid NFL fans, 24.8 percent correctly identified Verizon as the league’s official wireless service sponsor, up from 20.6 percent in last year’s survey. Meanwhile, Sprint, which had been the league’s category sponsor since 2005 before Verizon, saw its awareness level cut in half: from 19.2 percent of avid fans to 10.6 percent.

    Food brands were well-recognized by fans, whether they were official category sponsors or not. Papa John’s, which signed on as the NFL’s official pizza in June, was the clear leader among both avid (33.8 percent) and casual (31.5 percent) NFL fans in being identified correctly for its role with the league. Subway similarly scored well among avid fans in the quick-service restaurant category even though it isn’t an official league sponsor. It did, however, feature NFL players, including rookie of the year Ndamukong Suh, in heavy ad efforts through the season.

    In the beverage categories, Pepsi, a league partner since 2002, saw its third straight season of awareness increases among both avid and casual fans, and its 10.5 percentage point increase among avid fans is the biggest increase among all brands measured. Coors had seen its casual-fan recognition score double from 2009 to 2010, while Anheuser-Busch had slipped 15 percentage points during the same period. This year, however, Coors saw its overall numbers decline approximately 6 percentage points following the announcement that it was out and A-B was in as the league’s beer partner after the 2010 season. A-B’s numbers saw an increase of that same margin over the same time period.

    Results in the auto category were mixed. Automakers had significantly reduced spending with the NFL during the economic downturn, but spending started to make its way back this past season. While not singling out any specific manufacturer, Kanter Media in a report last month noted that a record nine auto brands from six different parent companies advertised during NFL programming during this year’s postseason.

    » Is it important to you to be aware of which companies are official sponsors of the NFL?


    2011

    2010

    2009

    2011

    2010

    2009

    Yes

    29.3%

    48.7%

    43.3%

    35.5%

    32.7%

    28.7%

    No

    70.7%

    51.4%

    56.7%

    64.5%

    67.4%

    71.3%


    » Are you more or less likely to regularly consume a product/service if that product/service is an official sponsor of the NFL?


    2011

    2010

    2009

    2011

    2010

    2009

    More likely

    27.3%

    40.2%

    39.8%

    25.9%

    27.6%

    30.0%

    Unaffected or less likely

    72.7%

    59.8%

    60.2%

    74.1%

    72.4%

    70.0%


    » Are you more or less likely to recommend a product/service to a friend or family member if that product/service is an official sponsor of the NFL?


    2011

    2010

    2009

    2011

    2010

    2009

    More likely

    27.8%

    37.4%

    46.5%

    24.4%

    29.6%

    33.2%

    Unaffected or less likely

    72.2%

    62.6%

    53.5%

    75.6%

    70.4%

    66.8%


    » Are you more or less likely to consciously support a company by purchasing its products/services if the company is an official sponsor of the NFL?


    2011

    2010

    2009

    2011

    2010

    2009

    More likely

    30.3%

    43.5%

    NA

    23.4%

    29.1%

    NA

    Unaffected or less likely

    69.7%

    55.7%

    NA

    76.7%

    70.8%

    NA

    NA: Not applicable; question was not asked in annual survey.




    Methodology


    For this project, Turnkey Sports & Entertainment, through its Turnkey Intelligence operation, conducted a national consumer research survey among a sample of 400 members of the Greenfield Online Omnibus panel who were at least 18 years old.

    The survey was conducted Jan. 20-27, a period that led into this year’s Super Bowl and is similar to the timetable for the comparable 2010 study. The 2009 survey was conducted May 5-21, on the heels of the NFL draft.

    Respondents were screened and analyzed based on their avidity levels. Fans categorized as “avid” were those who responded “4” or “5” to the question “How big a fan are you of the NFL?”, claimed to “look up news, scores and standings several times a week or more often,” “watch/listen/attend at least 10 games per season” and “have a favorite team.” Fans categorized as “casual” responded “3” to the same initial question, then claimed to “look up news, scores and standings several times a month or more often,” “watch/listen/attend at least 3 games per season” and “have a favorite team.”

    The percentage responses listed have been rounded. The margin of error for each survey is +/- 4 percent.



    How often do you seek out NFL news, scores, standings, etc.?   

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    Which of the following is an official sponsor of the NFL?

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