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.


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.

Beyond the Valuation

Navigate Research - Tuesday, February 23, 2016
Written by: Dan Kozlak

Sponsorship valuations have become an increasingly important and valuable tool. The significant growth in sponsorship investment levels corporate partners allocate from their marketing budgets to achieve advertising and business initiatives, as well as the dependence properties place on sponsorship revenue streams to operate at the highest level possible, have necessitated their use.  Valuations serve as a credible source for determining an appropriate price for a partnership, as well as demonstrating the return on investment a partner has received from the exposure generated by properties’ assets.  

By educating both properties and corporate partners about the appropriate value for partnerships, it can help generate an efficient market place where both sides can feel confident executing such partnerships.  However, determining the total fair market value price of a sponsorship is just one advantage valuations provide.  As anyone who has been involved in sponsorship negotiations can attest to, establishing an appropriate price for a partnership is just the initial step.  

There are a few other key components a valuation can satisfy beyond determining a fair price.
In instances where the sponsorship in question is new, dramatically expanded, or does not have a renewing partners, valuations can serve as a prospecting guide.  Establishing a fair market price for a partnership enables properties to focus their efforts towards prospective sponsors that can afford such investments and who have historically purchased sponsorships at a similar level.  Instead of simply targeting all potential corporations, setting a desired price allows properties to save time and resources by exploring only feasible partners.  And if it is unknown whether a potential partners would be willing to make such an investment, providing a broad price range during initial conversations can help prospects determine if they would like to further discuss the opportunity or not.  Establishing this pricing level can help save a great deal of time and resources from a partnership development standpoint.

Demonstrating the overall value of a partnership does help to establish the ultimate price it is sold for.  However, a valuation can serve as an asset package management guide.  Almost all sponsors have specific objectives they would like to fulfill from their sponsorship investments. A valuation of each asset can ensure an agreeable portion of the package’s value is being driven by assets that achieve those objectives.  Based on a sponsor’s desired “key performance indicators” (K.P.I.’s), a sponsor and property can work together to ensure the right mix of assets is utilized to deliver against those metrics.  This comes from a combination of the sponsor sharing these objectives and marketing goals (i.e. driving awareness, differentiation from the competition, building brand affinity, product promotion, etc.) and a property supplying and activating appropriate assets to achieve these goals.  However, this is only possible through a full asset package valuation.

Corporations engage in sponsorships with the ultimate goal of garnering a return on investment to their company’s bottom line.  Valuations provide a more accurate means of measuring their generated return against what the sponsorship has proven to be worth.  Measuring this observed fair market value of an existing sponsorship can help a sponsor to determine whether they should renew existing partnerships, optimize their asset mix, expand their partnership, or step away from a partnership.  Properties can also utilize the assessed fair market value to demonstrate to existing or future partners the return they can expect when partnership with their organization.  No matter which side of the partnership the return is measured on, a valuation will provide the most accurate performance gauge possible.

In negotiations, confidently knowing what a partnership should be worth in the marketplace can be very valuable.  Valuations can aid prospective sponsors by indicating whether the price they are being pitched appropriately aligns with the assets they are being charged. Valuations also aid properties by determining where they can establish pricing at knowing they can confidently walk away from a low-pitching prospect to pursue an offer they know they can command in the market place.  Having this information provides either side with an upper hand during negotiations.  By establishing the fair price of a sponsorship, partners can make appropriate decisions in their best financial interests.

While it is important to understand the best price to place on a given sponsorship, there are many other additional advantages to conducting valuation.  Valuations can assist in prospect targeting, asset package management, accurately gauging return on investment, and negotiation strategies.  Given the increasing amount of cost associated with sponsorships, executing valuations can be well worth their investments.

Navigate Research wins national award for second year in a row

Navigate Research - Tuesday, December 15, 2015
Navigate Research, an industry leader in evaluating and measuring marketing investments in sports and entertainment, announced today that they have won the 2015 National "Best and Brightest Companies to work for®” award from the National Association for Business Resources (NABR). 

Navigate is also a proud winner of the 2015 Chicago’s Best and Brightest Companies to work for, 2014 National Best and Brightest Companies to work for, 2014 Chicago’s Best and Brightest companies to work for, 2015 SportsBusiness Journal Forty Under 40 (AJ Maestas) and Forbes’ 10 Best Organizations to Work For in Sports. 

About Navigate Research
Navigate Research specializes in the evaluation and measurement of marketing investments, primarily in the sports and entertainment industry.  We help our clients determine the value of their partnerships and understand how they're performing.  We work with a variety of brands and agencies, as well as professional teams and leagues.  Some of our clients include ESPN, NFL, Anheuser-Busch, Southwest Airlines, The Los Angeles Lakers, The Ohio State University and The National Rugby League. 

About "Best and Brightest Companies to Work For®"
The "Best and Brightest Companies to Work For®", a program of the National Association for Business Resources is presented annually in several markets: Detroit, Chicago, Atlanta, San Francisco, Milwaukee, Houston, Grand Rapids and Nationally.  

The Evaluation Process included representatives from the Best and Brightest team working with the over 450 companies to identify their strengths and opportunities through an in-depth evaluation.

Participants' practices were bench-marked against other participants in their region and across the nation. This multifaceted approach created a rich assessment that provided opportunities for expert analysis reports, competitive comparisons overall assessment of other factors including Return on Investment.

ASU Sports Business Association Students visit Navigate's Chicago Office

Navigate Research - Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Last week, the Navigate Chicago office welcomed students from Arizona State University's Sports Business Association (W.P. Carey School of Business). 

Thanks for making Navigate a stop during your trip and spending the morning with us!