SBJ/July 17-23, 2017/Research and Ratings

Hockey’s partners put up historic stats

NHL sponsors scored a hat trick in the league’s 11th annual Sponsor Loyalty study, fielded recently for SportsBusiness Journal by Turnkey Sports & Entertainment.

Goal No. 1: For the second year in a row, NHL fans knew who the league’s official partners were in all 10 of the categories measured.

Goal No. 2: The official partner in each category enjoyed its highest overall recognition level in the history of the league’s survey.

And goal No. 3: 47 percent of the 400 fans surveyed correctly identified Gatorade as the league’s official sports drink, the highest recognition rate any NHL partner has ever received.

Gatorade’s recognition rate as a sponsor, 47 percent, was the best ever for an NHL partner.

Photo by: GETTY IMAGES


Gatorade has been a league sponsor since 2006, and the surge in its recognition level coincided with a season that saw the brand increase its advertising presence during hockey telecasts. Gatorade spent $4 million advertising during NHL telecasts last season, according to data from iSpot.tv, up 150 percent compared with the 2015-16 season. Its activation included a spot called “Patrick Kane’s Smooth Finish” featuring the Chicago Blackhawks star, which debuted in April and ran 2,451 times during the playoffs.

The PepsiCo brand also continued to benefit from its 13-year relationship with Pittsburgh Penguins star Sidney Crosby, whom Gatorade signed when he was 16 years old. Crosby gave the brand significant exposure when he participated in the All-Star Game’s ancillary festivities for the first time since 2007, including the Gatorade NHL Skills Challenge Relay. He also helped guide the Penguins to their second straight Stanley Cup championship.
Gatorade replaced Bridgestone as the league’s most recognized brand.

The isotonic wasn’t the only brand under the PepsiCo umbrella to fare well in the study: 40 percent of fans also knew Pepsi was the league’s official soda. That rate is nearly double what it was following the 2006-07 season, which not only was Pepsi’s first season as a league sponsor but also when we fielded our first Sponsor Loyalty study.

Since then, Pepsi’s hockey deal has become as recognized as its NFL partnership, which dates to 2002 (see chart).
Like Gatorade, Honda saw a big jump in awareness levels during a season when the brand significantly increased its ad spending.

Thirty-one percent of fans knew that Honda is the league’s exclusive automotive sponsor. That recognition level is double what the carmaker received in the survey fielded after the 2008-09 regular season, Honda’s first as a sponsor.

Honda has seen a big jump in awareness levels since increasing its ad spending.
Photo by: GETTY IMAGES


Last season, Honda spent $27.3 million to advertise during NHL programming, 60 percent more than it spent during the 2015-16 season. Hockey represented 10 percent of the brand’s total TV ad spend last season, versus 7.5 percent during the same eight-month span a year earlier. The company title-sponsored the All-Star Game for the third year in a row and presented a 2017 Ridgeline truck to Philadelphia’s Wayne Simmonds, the game’s MVP. In conjunction with the game, Honda also put its name on the Honda Four Line Challenge, a new Skills Competition event.

Additionally, the Honda Center, home of the Anaheim Ducks, hosted nine nationally televised playoff games, compared with just four postseason games in 2016.

Keeping Its Fizz

Pepsi's deal with the NHL has become one of the soda maker's most recognized partnerships

League (partner since) 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017
MLB (1997-2016) 29.1% 25.7% 28.7% 28.0% 37.5% 39.8% 31.7% 27.8% 32.5% 43.5%
NFL (since 2002) 28.4% 34.8% 26.7% 31.1% 37.5% 34.5% 34.6% 36.9% 33.5% 38.8% 39.1%
NHL (since 2006) 20.5% 20.8% 21.7% 18.9% 25.8% 23.7% 22.2% 24.8% 18.5% 24.0% 39.5%

Note: Surveys are conducted during each property's postseason. Therefore, the 2017 MLB Sponsor Loyalty survey will be fielded in October. Pepsi ended its MLB deal after the 2016 season.


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

The 2017 survey was conducted May 18-23, a period that coincided with the NHL conference finals. The 2015 and 2016 surveys were fielded during similar points in those postseasons.

Respondents were analyzed based on their avidity levels. “Avid” fans are those who responded “4” or “5” to the question “How big a fan are you of the NHL?” and 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.”

When asked to identify official sponsors, respondents selected from a field of brands that was provided to them for each business sector. Only the top-scoring companies and brands are listed in the results published here. The percentage responses listed have been rounded. The margin of error for the surveys is +/- 4 percent.

Turnkey Intelligence performs research for more than 70 North American major league teams, league offices and brands. More than one-third of the NHL’s teams are among Turnkey’s clients.


What Brands Do NHL Fans Consider Buying?

To Read: 72 percent of NHL fans said they would be more likely to consider buying the NHL's official beer sponsor if they knew which brand had that designation. The rate decreased to 26 percent when considering only those NHL fans who did not know that Coors Light holds that partnership distinction as one of the brands of NHL sponsor Molson Coors Brewing Co.

CATEGORY (NHL SPONSOR) AMONG ALL NHL FANS AMONG NHL FANS WHO DID NOT CORRECTLY IDENTIFY THE SPONSOR DIFFERENCE
Beer (Coors Light*) 72% 26% +46 pct. points
Tire (Bridgestone) 80% 41% +39 pct. points
Rental car (Enterprise) 76% 40% +36 pct. points
Credit card (Discover**) 55% 23% +32 pct. points
Sports/energy drink (Gatorade) 86% 56% +30 pct. points
Quick-service restaurant (McDonald's) 86% 56% +30 pct. points
Automotive (Honda) 63% 33% +30 pct. points
Soft drink (Pepsi) 78% 49% +29 pct. points
Insurance (Geico) 67% 38% +29 pct. points
Hotel (Westin^) 40% 21% +19 pct. points

What Brands Do Fans Think Are NHL Sponsors?

To read: 55 percent of NHL fans said they think Gatorade should be an NHL sponsor, compared with 20 percent who think Powerade should have an NHL deal. Those numbers became 66 percent and 18 percent, respectively, when considering only those NHL fans who correctly knew that Gatorade is the NHL's official sponsor in the isotonic beverage category.

  AMONG ALL NHL FANS AMONG NHL FANS WHO CORRECTLY IDENTIFIED THE SPONSOR
NHL SPONSOR/COMPETITOR RESPONSE RATES DIFFERENCE RESPONSE RATES DIFFERENCE
Gatorade/Powerade 55% / 20%  +35 pct. points 66% / 18% +46 pct. points
McDonald's/Wendy's 63% / 33% +30 pct. points 78% / 31% +39 pct. points
Geico/Allstate 42% / 26%  +16 pct. points 60% / 26% +36 pct. points
Bridgestone/Michelin 38% / 36%  +2 pct. points 58% / 27% +32 pct. points
Enterprise/Hertz 29% / 22%  +7 pct. points 46% / 17% +30 pct. points
Honda/Ford 38% / 42% -4 pct. points 55% / 35% +30 pct. points
Westin^/Wyndham 13% / 11%  +2 pct. points 40% / 20% +30 pct. points
Discover/Visa** 25% / 62% -37 pct. points 40% / 55% +29 pct. points
Coors*/Bud Light 26% / 33% -7 pct. points 53% / 40% +29 pct. points
Pepsi/Coca-Cola 51% / 66% -15 pct. points 66% / 65% +19 pct. points

Notes: Fans could select both the official sponsor and the competitor if they chose to do so. The one specific competing company listed was selected by Turnkey for consideration in the survey file.
* As part of the NHL's Molson Coors partnership, Coors Light and Molson Canadian are both considered official beers of the NHL in North America, but Molson was not part of this survey.
** Discover holds the category rights in the United States; Visa holds the rights in Canada.
^ Westin is one of the brands of NHL partner Starwood Hotels & Resorts.

 

Impact on Sampling and Support

Are you more or less likely to consider trying a product/service if that product/service is an official sponsor of the NHL?

  Avid Casual
  2017 2016 2015 2017 2016 2015
More likely 66.8% 47.7% 51.5% 65.7% 39.8% 34.0%
Unaffected or less likely 33.2% 52.2% 48.5% 34.3% 60.2% 66.0%

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 NHL?

  Avid Casual
  2017 2016 2015 2017 2016 2015
More likely 69.3% 48.7% 54.0% 64.7% 35.8% 35.0%
Unaffected or less likely 30.6% 51.2% 46.0% 35.3% 64.2% 65.0%

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 NHL?

  Avid Casual
  2017 2016 2015 2017 2016 2015
More likely 69.8% 44.2% 54.5% 62.6% 29.8% 34.0%
Unaffected or less likely 30.1% 55.8% 45.5% 37.3% 70.2% 66.0%

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

  Avid Casual
SPORTS/ENERGY DRINK
  2017 2016 2015 2017 2016 2015
Gatorade* 41.2% 28.6% 30.0% 52.2% 22.9% 18.5%
Red Bull 17.1% 11.1% 8.5% 10.0% 10.9% 11.5%
Powerade 5.0% 11.1% 9.0% 7.5% 8.0% 4.0%
Monster 6.0% 2.0% 4.5% 2.5% 7.0% 8.0%
Amp Energy* 4.5% 3.0% 5.0% 1.5% 2.5% 4.0%
I'm not sure 24.6% 41.2% 36.5% 24.9% 46.8% 49.0%
  Avid Casual
SOFT DRINK
  2017 2016 2015 2017 2016 2015
Pepsi* 38.7% 28.1% 19.5% 40.3% 19.9% 17.5%
Coca-Cola 27.1% 17.6% 19.5% 22.4% 15.4% 19.5%
Mountain Dew 4.0% 3.0% 4.5% 3.5% 6.5% 3.5%
Dr Pepper 1.0% 3.5% 3.5% 3.0% 3.0% 4.0%
I'm not sure 25.6% 42.7% 38.0% 25.9% 50.7% 46.5%
  Avid Casual
TIRE
  2017 2016 2015 2017 2016 2015
Bridgestone* 36.2% 34.2% 28.5% 34.8% 22.9% 18.0%
Goodyear 15.6% 8.0% 11.5% 14.9% 9.0% 12.5%
Firestone 11.6% 7.0% 11.5% 11.4% 7.0% 6.0%
Michelin 9.0% 3.0% 6.0% 6.5% 7.5% 8.0%
I'm not sure 22.6% 42.2% 37.5% 27.9% 49.3% 48.5%
  Avid Casual
INSURANCE
  2017 2016 2015 2017 2016 2015
Geico* 32.7% 33.2% 28.5% 32.8% 19.9% 22.0%
Allstate 10.6% 4.5% 6.0% 7.5% 7.5% 6.5%
Progressive 9.0% 6.0% 9.5% 4.5% 6.0% 5.5%
State Farm 8.0% 5.5% 7.0% 5.0% 5.5% 6.5%
Liberty Mutual 7.5% 2.5% 4.5% 5.5% 1.5% 4.0%
I'm not sure 26.1% 42.2% 36.0% 38.8% 56.7% 51.0%
  Avid Casual
CREDIT CARD
  2017 2016 2015 2017 2016 2015
Visa* 32.2% 19.6% 26.0% 32.3% 17.9% 18.0%
Discover* 18.6% 19.6% 14.5% 13.9% 10.9% 11.0%
MasterCard 16.6% 12.1% 11.5% 15.4% 10.0% 12.0%
American Express 12.6% 8.0% 10.5% 10.0% 7.5% 11.0%
I'm not sure 18.1% 39.2% 33.0% 26.9% 50.2% 46.0%
  Avid Casual
QUICK-SERVICE RESTAURANT
  2017 2016 2015 2017 2016 2015
McDonald's* 28.6% 32.2% 28.5% 32.8% 20.9% 19.5%
Subway 10.6% 8.0% 8.5% 9.0% 7.5% 12.0%
Burger King 10.1% 3.0% 3.5% 7.5% 4.0% 5.0%
Taco Bell 6.5% 3.5% 4.5% 4.0% 2.0% 5.0%
KFC 4.5% 3.5% 5.0% 4.0% 2.5% 3.5%
I'm not sure 31.7% 43.2% 40.5% 38.3% 54.7% 50.0%
  Avid Casual
AUTOMOBILE
  2017 2016 2015 2017 2016 2015
Honda* 27.6% 23.1% 22.0% 33.8% 12.9% 14.0%
Toyota 14.6% 10.6% 8.0% 12.9% 9.0% 9.5%
Ford 13.6% 5.5% 13.5% 7.5% 6.0% 8.0%
Chevrolet 9.5% 9.5% 10.0% 9.0% 10.0% 8.0%
I'm not sure 21.1% 39.2% 36.0% 24.4% 53.2% 50.5%
  Avid Casual
RENTAL CAR
  2017 2016 2015 2017 2016 2015
Enterprise* 31.7% NA NA 28.9% NA NA
Hertz 14.1% NA NA 12.9% NA NA
National 11.6% NA NA 7.0% NA NA
Budget 6.0% NA NA 3.5% NA NA
I'm not sure 27.1% NA NA 39.3% NA NA
  Avid Casual
BEER
  2017 2016 2015 2017 2016 2015
Coors Light* 21.6% 20.6% 27.0% 20.9% 19.4% 12.5%
Bud Light 20.6% 20.6% 15.5% 19.4% 15.9% 17.0%
Corona 10.1% 3.0% 6.5% 7.0% 1.5% 4.0%
Miller Lite 8.5% 5.5% 6.5% 8.5% 5.5% 5.0%
Labatt 8.0% 6.5% 6.5% 7.0% 5.0% 6.0%
I'm not sure 20.6% 34.7% 31.0% 27.9% 45.3% 46.0%
  Avid Casual
HOTEL
  2017 2016 2015 2017 2016 2015
Sheraton* 12.1% 10.1% 14.5% 19.9% 5.5% 10.0%
Hilton 18.6% 9.0% 3.0% 12.4% 5.5% 5.0%
Marriott 15.1% 8.0% 9.5% 12.4% 8.0% 7.5%
Holiday Inn 4.0% 3.0% 9.0% 7.0% 6.5% 7.0%
Best Western 4.5% 2.0% 4.0% 4.0% 3.0% 8.0%
I'm not sure 35.2% 62.8% 49.0% 41.3% 66.2% 54.5%


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