Every business no matter how big or small it may be will require some form of sponsorship to meet greater market demand, expand into new territories, develop new products and services and remain viable.
The sponsorships industry is worth multi-billion dollars. However, over the years, it has been tough to keep track of these sponsorships, like who’s sponsoring who, and how much in sponsorship because of the various forms they take — and channels on which those sponsorships take place. Beyond social media posts and websites, physical signage, and even sports team jerseys, millions of dollars are being expended and invested in sponsorship deals. Brands and the recipients of sponsorships lack adequate data to know how much to charge sponsors while sponsors aren’t consistently aware of sponsorship deals currently in place.
To meet the challenges in the sponsorship industry, Bob Lynch, the former VP of corporate partnerships for the Miami Dolphins in 2017 founded SponsorUnited, a software-as-a-service platform that provides analytics data to the industry. SponsorUnited claims to have tracked over a million sponsorships across 250,000 brands, including every U.S.-based major league sports team.
Speaking in an interview, Lynch said “When I joined the Miami Dolphins after a decade in media, I immediately realized there was significant complexity and a lack of transparency and standardization within sponsorships, making it hard for brands and teams to optimally partner. Noticing a similar trend in the NBA and arena events while with the Brooklyn Nets, I realized that if you could democratize access to previously inaccessible sponsorship deal data that the entire industry would want access to it.
Lynch adds that SponsorUnited is serving roughly 2,900 brands and properties, including Fortune 500 firms, talent and brand agencies, and media companies — and investors seem happy with the growth so far.
SponsorUnited Seed Fund
The Stamford, Connecticut–based SponsorUnited recently closed a $35 million Series A funding round led by Spectrum Equity at a post-money valuation “north of” $100 million. Paired with previous investments from Milwaukee Bucks owner Marc Lasry and San Diego Padres co-owner Ron Fowler, the addition brings the startup’s total funds raised to $38.6 million.
Lynch describes SponsorUnited as “the Bloomberg terminal of marketing partnerships.” It’s essentially a search layer on top of a database of sports, esports, music, entertainment, and media sponsorship deals, brands, and properties. SponsorUnited acquires all the data directly without tapping into third-party sources, and it serves it in a way that allows companies to combine it with other data around sponsorship, including internal expenses, return on investment, and engagement.
“The complexity and number of marketing assets and platforms being bought and sold in this industry is rising at an exponential pace,” Lynch said. “Our data provides valuable insights not only to IT but across the C-suite — chief marketing officers, chief revenue officers, chief customer officers and others.”
With the pace of growth we are experiencing in SponsorUnited, we expects to have 100 employees by the end of the year, Lynch added.