Navigate Research

Industry Insights

As the industry leader in evaluating and measuring marketing investments, Navigate has a wealth of knowledge in the sponsorship and marketing space. This blog shares our knowledge and insights on current events in the sports business, marketing and sponsorship worlds.

Impact of Sports Betting & Tech Companies

Navigate Research - Friday, May 18, 2018

The legalization of sports betting is massive news for the sports industry because essentially every party benefits, except maybe Las Vegas. 

  • More people will be interested in watching and attending games for longer, which will increase attendance and TV viewership and the associated revenue streams for teams and media rights holders. 
  • Companies providing sports betting services will be spending marketing and sponsorship dollars to differentiate themselves, which will also flow to teams and media rights holders. 

Those things are obvious. 

What I’m most curious about is how companies like Facebook, Amazon and even Yahoo! take advantage of this shift. 

  • Will Facebook be the go-to place that combines community, exclusive live streaming and sports betting apps all on one screen? 
  • Will Amazon do the same with e-commerce? 
  • Will Yahoo! leverage it’s massive fantasy sports following?
Time will tell, but I’m betting on one of these other technology companies capitalizing potentially even more than the obvious players.  

Matt Balvanz


Navigate Research - Tuesday, March 20, 2018


Navigate Research, a trusted advisor to leading brands and organizations in sports, today announced Jeff Nelson has been named President.  As President, Nelson will lead the company’s operating business across North America.  In addition to operations, Nelson will oversee consulting/client strategy, research, sales, and marketing. He will report to CEO and Founder AJ Maestas.

“I am very excited about the future of Navigate under Jeff's leadership.  During his eight years at Navigate, he has proven to be an invaluable asset to our clients and a key leader to our team,” Maestas said.  “Jeff's leadership experience, combined with his strategic thinking, undoubtedly makes him the right person to guide Navigate's future.”

Nelson joined Navigate in 2010, having started as an analytics intern and subsequently holding the roles of Valuation Analyst, Analytics Manager, Director of Analytics, and Vice President of Client Strategy. Nelson has contributed to the development of Navigate’s research methodologies and led the creation of Navigate’s consulting group.

Nelson’s client experience includes work with leagues (NFL), collegiate conferences (Big 12), universities (University of California, Berkeley), domestic teams (Milwaukee Bucks), international teams (Club América), brands (Anheuser-Busch), and media properties (ESPN).

Nelson holds a Master’s in Sports Administration from Northwestern University and BA from George Washington University. 

“Navigate has always strived to be an indispensable resource for our clients and a uniquely fun place to work,” Nelson said. “These continue to be our core principals and I’m excited to lead the future growth of what it means to work with and for Navigate Research.”



Navigate Research is a trusted advisor to leading brands and organizations in sports and entertainment.  We are experts in applying business intelligence – through research, data, and analytics – to measure and value marketing investments and guide major strategies and decisions. 

Based in Chicago, Navigate helps clients determine the value of their partnerships and understand how they are performing. Navigate has measured the impact and ROI of hundreds of sponsorship deals and has valued billions of dollars in sponsorships on behalf of brands, properties, universities and agencies.

Clients include Anheuser-Busch, Enterprise Holdings, ESPN, Los Angeles Lakers, NFL, Oakland A’s, Red Bull, University of Washington, Visa and more.

 For more information, visit and @Navigate_Res.

Pac-12 Stock Report

Navigate Research - Monday, February 05, 2018
Originally published February 1, 2018 at 11:09 am Updated February 1, 2018 at 10:48 pm
Seattle Times
By Jon Wilner
Bay Area News Group

Pac-12 Stock Report

↑ Rising: Washington recruiting.

Silly us. We thought the Huskies had everything wrapped up in December. Turns out, Chris “No Drama” Petersen isn’t quite finished.
Consider two recent developments:
The first came late last week, when Concord De La Salle’s Tuli Letuligasenoa, one of the top defensive tackle prospects in the west and a USC commit, announced he would visit UW.
The second came Wednesday, when Julius Irvin, a 4-star cornerback from Anaheim, picked the Huskies over USC and Arkansas … err, make that Alabama.
Washington over USC and Alabama.
The Huskies’ 20-player class currently stands No. 2 in the conference and No. 12 in the nation. And it will get even better if Letuligasenoa signs next week.

↑ Rising: Bobby Hurley
The third-year Arizona State coach was awarded a modest contract extension but a hefty salary increase this week. Hurley and the Sun Devils visit the Huskies Thursday at 8 p.m.
Per a detailed report by, Hurley will receive a $700,000 raise in July, pushing his base pay to $2.1 million.
Allow me to provide some context on Hurley’s $2.1 million:
Roy Williams makes $2.09 million.
Yep, the ASU coach who has never won an NCAA tournament game stands to earn more than the North Carolina coach who has won three national titles.
Now, it’s entirely possible that Williams has received a raise since his $2.09 million was reported in the USA Today salary database, and that his base for 2018-19 will exceed Hurley’s.
So let’s heap more context onto the pile. (Figures courtesy of USA Today)
ASU’s Bobby Hurley: $2.1 million - Sweet 16 or better: zero times
Gonzaga’s Mark Few: $1.6 million - Sweet 16 or better: seven times
Xavier’s Chris Mack: $1.4 million - Sweet 16 or better: four times
Miami’s Jim Larranaga: $1.3 million - Sweet 16 or better: three times
Notre Dame’s Mike Brey: $970,00 - Sweet 16 or better: three times

The Hotline doesn’t begrudge Hurley a dime: Make whatever you can make. (Did we mention that he has annual six-figure bumps? No? Well, he has annual six-figure bumps.)
But is it fiscally responsible to pay a coach with no NCAA wins — and no current suitors — like he’s been to the Final Four?
Ultimately, fiscal responsibility is whatever ASU athletic director Ray Anderson and president Michael Crow say it is.
Even if their definition is, well, unique.

↑ Rising: Pac-12 football alumni.
No conference … not the Big Ten, not the ACC, not even the SEC … has more players on the Super Bowl active rosters than the Pac-12.
We won’t list them all, because there are 21, but one note on the topic:
Of all teams, Arizona produced the starting quarterback: Philadelphia’s Nick Foles.
I say that because the Wildcats, over the decades, have produced exactly one modern-era NFL quarterback: That would be Philadelphia’s Nick Foles.
(He was drafted by the former Eagles coach who is also a former Oregon coach and is the current UCLA coach.)
Arizona also claims a non-quarterback of some renown: Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski.
And people call it a basketball school.

↓ Falling: United Airlines Memorial Coliseum
Perhaps it feels and sounds so damn wrong because we’re not used to iconic stadiums being renamed.
The Rose Bowl remains the Rose Bowl.
Yankee Stadium isn’t Bank of America Stadium.
Lambeau Field isn’t Got Milk Field.
If it’s a new facility, that’s one thing.
If it’s a basketball arena, that’s one thing.
But to rename an iconic outdoor venue like the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum?
From a business standpoint, the idea of selling naming rights makes sense.
The deal is worth $69 million over 16 years, which averages out to $4.3 million annually.
The cost of the Coliseum renovation is pegged at $270 million. I don’t know how the debt is structured, but let’s keep it simple and assume $9 million per year for 30 years.
The naming rights will pay almost half the annual debt service.

Could USC have gotten more? On the surface, it might seem that way:
Washington, with an assist from the shrewd negotiators at Navigate Research, sold Husky Stadium naming rights to Alaska Airlines for $41 million over 10 years.
So Washington is collecting $4.1 million annually for the naming rights to a stadium that’s in the 14th largest market and has never hosted a Summer Olympics, while USC is collecting $4.3 million annually for the naming rights to a stadium in the second-largest market that has hosted two Summer Olympics.
That said, the deals are not identical — the Huskies’ agreement with Alaska, for example, includes sponsorship of an Athletic Village on campus — so definitive conclusions are probably unwise.

Unless your conclusion is that United Airlines Memorial Coliseum won’t ever, ever sound right.

101 Best and Brightest Companies to Work for in 2017

Julie Frank - Monday, January 29, 2018
Navigate Research, a trusted advisor to leading brands and organizations in sports and entertainment, announced today that they have won the 2017 National "Best and Brightest Companies to Work For®” award from the National Association for Business Resources (NABR) for the fourth consecutive year.  Navigate also won the National “Best and Brightest Companies to Work For” award in 2014, 2015, and 2016.

Navigate was the only company of its kind to make the “101 Best and Brightest Companies to Work for” list. Navigate was the only company of its kind to make the prestigious list, an honor fit for the hard work and dedication our employees show everyday. 

Navigate is also a proud winner of Chicago’s “Best and Brightest Companies to Work For” (2017, 2016, 2015, 2014).  Other awards include the 2015 SportsBusiness Journal Forty Under 40 (AJ Maestas) and Forbes’ “10 Best Organizations to Work For in Sports”.