NFL sponsors Nike, Pepsi dominate nontraditional media exposure during Super Bowl

Key Points
  • NFL sponsors Nike, Pepsi and Bose scored highly in a key business metric during the 2022 Super Bowl, according to an early version of in-game media valuations seen by CNBC.
  • The brands' logos were among those that scored millions of dollars in media exposure during Super Bowl 56, according to the data.
  • Software company Hive has measured the last four Super Bowls and provided CNBC a copy of its report hours after the game.

In this article

Von Miller #40 of the Los Angeles Rams holds up the Vince Lombardi Trophy after Super Bowl LVI at SoFi Stadium on February 13, 2022 in Inglewood, California. The Los Angeles Rams defeated the Cincinnati Bengals 23-20.
Rob Carr | Getty Images

The Los Angeles Rams won their second Super Bowl in franchise history, beating the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday. But NFL sponsors Nike, Pepsi and Bose also came out on top, according to an early version of in-game media valuations seen by CNBC.

These brands' logos were among those that scored millions of dollars in media exposure during Super Bowl 56, according to data compiled by San Francisco-based software company Hive in collaboration with sports consultancy firm Elevate.

Sponsor brands received $170 million of in-game exposure, according to the report, up slightly from $169 million during the 2021 Super Bowl. The 2020 game generated $143 million.

Hive said brands received more than 75 minutes of on-screen time during Super Bowl 56. That's down from 104 minutes in 2021, in part due to the lifting of pandemic restrictions for this year's game.

This is the fourth consecutive year the software company has used its artificial intelligence platform to track media sponsorships during the big game. With in-content exposure gaining traction among sports leagues looking to drive revenue, the company-developed Mensio software provides brand-exposure data beyond traditional commercials for live sporting events.

"Nielsen has been the currency for [measuring] traditional commercials," Hive president Dan Calpin told CNBC. "We see ourselves as the gold standard for measuring in-content brand exposure for which there is no currency today."

Los Angeles Rams' Cooper Kupp scores a touchdown.
Mike Segar | Reuters

Increasing in-game value

Hive's 2022 report combined visual and verbal exposures throughout Super Bowl 56. Nike scored 46 minutes of on-screen time, while Bose, one of the National Football League's top sideline sponsors, had its brand logo appear for eight minutes

Pepsi had double exposure with its brands, according to Hive's data. The beverage maker sponsored the halftime show — perhaps for the last time — featuring iconic hip-hop stars Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg. Hive estimated Pepsi's combined brands, including Gatorade, were on the screen for roughly nine minutes and its brand was mentioned a game-high 11 times.

(L-R) Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg perform during the Pepsi Super Bowl LVI Halftime Show at SoFi Stadium on February 13, 2022 in Inglewood, California.
Kevin C. Cox | Getty Images

Toyota, Verizon, and New Era followed with a combined three minutes (one minute each) of in-game exposure. And SoFi, which agreed to a $625 million naming rights deal with the Rams, had roughly one minute of in-game exposure that Hive valued at $3.5 million.

"There is so much focus and watercooler conversation on the commercials, but when you step back, the most exposed brands might not have aired a commercial, and people were exposed to them in some cases for several minutes during the game," Calpin said.

That means people are making positive associations with Nike, Gatorade, SoFi and Pepsi, even though they are not buying traditional commercials, he added.

Mensio, which was developed in 2018, records every second of televised content; it also tracks logo exposure in postgame highlights and social media videos. To establish valuation, Calpin said Hive uses metrics like duration, and the quality and size of a brand's logo on the screen in its calculations.

Throughout the 2022 Super Bowl, Hive detected company logos on jerseys, bottles, coolers, towels, tablets, carts, headphones and in-stadium/arena signage. Calpin said every 150 seconds of average in-game exposure is equivalent to the value of a 30-second commercial.

NBC charged roughly $6.5 million for Super Bowl 56 commercials, and some brands paid a record-high $7 million for a 30-second ad. Game revenue is expected to surpass the $545 million total that ViacomCBS generated last year.

"Those commercial ratings only tell part of the story," Calpin said. "They measure the viewership of traditional ads — 15 and 30 seconds — but ignore the brands that were exposed within the content itself."

A changing landscape

Hive provided its Super Bowl data to Elevate to verify valuation estimations. Elevate is run by San Francisco 49ers president Al Guido.

Thomas Bernstein, executive vice president of insights at Elevate, said Hive's data helps companies get a better "return on objectives and their return on investment" and "turn data into insights, into sales and partnerships."

Hive is valued at $2 billion, according to PitchBook. Some of its revenue comes from licensing software to companies including Disney, Walmart, and top NFL sponsor Anheuser-Busch. Hive also has agreements with media-measurement companies Comscore and Octagon, and advertising firm Interpublic Group of Companies, known as IPG.

With Nielsen's No. 1 TV-measurement status in jeopardy, Calpin said Hive wants to be the industry-accepted leader when it comes to "in-content" measurement.

The National Basketball Association introduced the nontraditional advertising jersey patch program in 2017. That asset shows a company's logo on NBA uniforms during games. The league also is at the beginning stages of its virtual floor ads, displayed on the court throughout NBA games.

Similarly, Major League Baseball also plans to leverage virtual ads throughout games, and the National Hockey League has launched its helmet and jersey patch assets. Tech companies like Apple are also leveraging in-content exposure. For example, Apple features its products in entertainment shows, including "Ted Lasso," which streams on Apple TV+.

"As video viewership continues to shift to no- or low-ad platforms like Netflix and HBO Max, the relative importance on branded content will continue to increase," Calpin said.

Viewership metrics for the 2022 Super Bowl should be available this week, and that'll provide additional media value around the game. PredictHQ, a demand-intelligence company, projected the game would reach 117 million viewers, which would be a record high.

Disclosure: NBCUniversal is the parent company of CNBC.

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