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.

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.

The Research Edge: Naming Rights & Music

Navigate Research - Wednesday, February 15, 2017
Introducing "The Research Edge: Naming Rights & Music” – the first in a series of one-page white papers Navigate will be releasing throughout the year to share industry trends and recommendations based on our research. 

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.

Sponsorship and Sustainability in Sports

Navigate Research - Thursday, December 03, 2015

Written by: Jordan Bloem

With world leaders convening in Paris this week for climate discussions, the issue of sustainability is once again center stage in the news – and many players in world of sports have embraced their role in environmental responsibility. Teams and leagues throughout professional and collegiate sports have invested heavily in initiatives that are not only environmentally responsible but also provide valuable sponsorship opportunities for the right partners. The examples below show properties and brands that have led the way in “green” sponsorship in sports.

The HEAT Group Achieve LEED Gold Certification for AmericanAirlines Arena


AmericanAirlines Arena is proud to be LEED certified.

Earlier this year the U.S. Green Building Council awarded AmericanAirlines Arena with a LEED Gold certification, the first ever LEED Gold certification awarded by USGBC for a sports and entertainment facility. LEED certification has saved money for The HEAT Group from an efficiency standpoint and has also provided a valuable new sponsorship asset.

The LEED Gold certification builds on The HEAT Group’s original LEED certification achieved in 2009, which at the time attracted key partners including Home Depot and Waste Management, who combined to invest $1 million in sponsorship of HEAT’s sustainability work during the first year of LEED certification. Since that time Pepsi, Levy Restaurants and Pritchard Sports and Entertainment Group have also joined as sponsors of HEAT’s sustainability efforts.

Waste Management Phoenix Open Diverts 100% of Waste from Landfills

Recycling and compost bins at the Waste Management Phoenix Open.

The PGA TOUR’s most highly attended event is also its greenest. The Waste Management Phoenix Open, affectionately known as the “Greenest Show on Grass,” diverted 100% of tournament waste from landfills for the third consecutive year in 2015. With over half a million attendees, this is no small feat.

Waste Management has intelligently used the platform as title sponsor of the Phoenix Open to demonstrate its green capabilities, providing waste, recycling, and portable restroom services. In this way a brand that many would consider in no way related to sports has become endemic to one of the most popular sporting events in Phoenix each year and synonymous with sustainability.

Eat Local at MLB Stadiums

In 2011, Luke Yoder, the director of field operations at Petco Park, planted an assortment of vegetables in a garden at the ballpark. Those crops eventually made their way into food items sold at the stadium and began a trend of MLB teams planting their own gardens, including Coors Field in Denver, AT&T Park in San Francisco, and most recently Fenway Park in Boston.

Fenway Farms, presented by Stop & Shop, Dole, Sage Fruit, and Aramark.

These farms have provided healthy local produce for ballpark food and have also yielded sponsorship opportunities, particularly for food brands that now have a more organic (pun intended) way to connect with baseball fans. For example, “Fenway Farms,” which will grow an estimated 4,000 lbs of produce annually, is presented by Stop & Shop, Dole, Sage Fruit, and Aramark.

A New Opportunity in Sponsorship

As properties continue to increase their green initiatives, creative opportunities for sponsors will continue to grow. Brands traditionally align with properties to improve their perception among fans, however with a growth in sponsorship of green initiatives brands can now also reach environmentally conscious spectators that might be less interested in the game on the field but dragged to a game by friends or family.

It will be fascinating to watch as green sponsorships continue to grow more prevalent, not to mention beneficial for the future of a healthy planet.