Global Football Market Intel Recap: The sponsorship impact of the most engaged sport across social media

Brands looking to engage with fans around the world are well aware of global football’s value. The world’s beloved game accounts for more social followers and engagements than all other sports combined. KORE’s 2022 Global Football Market Intel Recap provides insightful analysis of the sport’s performance as it relates to sponsorship value across social media. Here, we’ll share 2022 highlights from our recent workshops.  

From Leo Messi’s record-breaking year, the strength of women in global football, why the swoosh dominates and how Louis Vuitton stole the show of FIFA 2022 World Cup; read on to learn how these events impacted sponsorship value for brands, leagues, teams and athletes across the most followed sport in the world.  

Part 1: How the Global Football Evaluation Works

In February of 2022, KORE acquired Hookit – a groundbreaking AI-powered sponsorship analytics and valuation platform. This acquisition is revolutionizing the way brands and rights holders manage, measure, and optimize their partnerships. The integration of Hookit’s data and analytics into the Evaluate Social tool (found within KORE’s Portfolio Optimization Platform) provides an unprecedented level of insight into the performance of brands and rights holders partnerships, allowing them to evolve their winners by adjusting strategy on the fly. 

Understand our Evaluation Model.

KORE’s social valuation tool helps brands learn where opportunities are to invest in sport sponsorship, with who and what assets to invest in. It helps sport teams understand how they stack up, and where to optimize their strategy and content for the best ROI for their brand sponsors. While the Evaluate Social formula is more complex, here is a high-level outline of how we quantify sponsorship value to follow along.  

The Adjusted Ad Value (AAV) formula assigns a dollar value to a social post based on how clearly logos or brand mentions are displayed within text, image, or video and how much engagement the post generates.

  • Text-only social listening tools miss significant visual attribution. 
  • Evaluate Social, designed by Hookit, can capture a brand’s social value through: 
    • Quality logo visibility 
    • Audience data and watch-through rates
    • Built-in authentication 
  • These features create a robust data story. We can track the AAV of any content created on social media that displays clear logos, deliberate tags, and keyword mentions. 
How Was the Global Football Social Scene Analyzed?

Our tools analyzed: 

  • Over 9M posts from leagues, clubs, athletes and any content that referenced (via @, # or keyword) them during the 2022.  
  • 455K posts related to the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar from Novemeber 15th – December 20th 

Social media data includes followers, posts, engagement, valuation & audience data. 

Platforms include Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, YouTube, Weibo and VK. 

Part 2: Most Followers Engage with Global Football

Sometimes people follow accounts and then forget about them. Globally, people don’t forget about football. If you aren’t engaging in some way with the sport on social media, then data tells us that more than half of your friends and family could be. Global football has more total followers and engagement than all other sports combined, and 54% of social followers of sport are following some type of global football entity. 

The year of Leo

The world responded to Lionel Messi’s record-breaking year by following and engaging with his posts in a mirrored, record-breaking fashion. The legendary footballer drove more than two billion interactions on Instagram in 2022 with over 35% of them just from the last two months of the year. Only forty players in the world have 38M followers total, which was the amount that Messi acquired between November and December of 2022. Messi’s sponsors received more than $59 million in AAV from his social posts, with his world championship post becoming the most liked post in the history of social media, across the globe.

It’s here, it’s there, it’s everywhere

Across sport, we’re swoosh promoters whether we choose to be or not. It would take a carefully curated photo in a stadium featuring any teams, players or fans where the swoosh isn’t visible. For example, the Nike logo appears on scores of elite soccer teams jersey’s, shoes, and fan’s gear. Any time the team, a player or a fan posts a picture of themselves in their kit, Nike receives sponsorship value due to the Swoosh on the shirt. This value even comes from posts by athletes sponsored by rival apparel brands like adidas or Puma. 

Nike and adidas alone account for 73% of value in the sporting goods & apparel sector. Most recently, Nike earned 35% of the total value ($80.9M) earned by the top 10 brands of 2022’s FIFA World Cup. While the swoosh is everywhere, there is still opportunity for others. A well-designed campaign activation can drive outsized exposure and value seen in our next highlight. 

A luxury state of mind

You know when the ultra-cool person in the room speaks, and everyone leans in to hear? That’s the worldwide equivalent response on social to the Louis Vuitton x Messi x Ronaldo “Victory is a State of Mind” campaign. Both legendary football players posted on the campaign launch day, November 19, 2022. Ronaldo’s post created over $6.1M and Messi’s post created more than $4.3M in AAV for the luxury brand by the end of the tournament. 

With just 232 posts, Louis Vuitton earned 28x and 25x more value per post than the two leading sportswear brands during this year’s biggest global football tournament. This clearly indicates that having more promoters does not always correlate with more value, especially in the case of a luxury state of mind at the helm. 

The female fight

The incredible story of the women’s plight in the world of sports continues to grow across continents. Women’s global football is growing around 2x faster than men’s across social. The female side of the sport is attracting major sponsors like Visa, Barclays, Volkswagen and Stanley Black & Decker, who are earning millions in AAV amongst the big sporting apparel brands on social. 

However, the most viral women’s football post in 2022 was two players who almost started fighting but turned into a helping hand. Posts that show awe-inspiring moves and goals, alongside emotional, heartwarming moments garnered the most engagement. 

If you’re looking to examine your 2023 partnerships with strategic insights & impactful data, then please contact our team. We’re happy to share the full report on Global Football, or one of our other market intel reports.  

With a full report or presentation, you can: 

  • Learn what kind of impact the sport, leagues, events, and athletes have on fan engagement and why that matters 
  • Find inspiration for partnership concepts 
  • See how industry experts and peers are tracking impactful data and insights that help you measure return on objectives (ROO) or even return on investment (ROI) 
  • Leave the session with some strategic and tactical actions you can implement right away

KORE is the global leader in engagement marketing solutions, serving more than 200 professional teams and 850+ sports and entertainment properties worldwide, providing practical tools and services to harness customer data, facilitate sponsorship sales and activation, and create actionable insights.

Partnership Optimization Activation Engagement Starts Here.

Partnership Optimization Activation Engagement Starts Here.

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