Nielsen has existed for nearly a century, and is widely regarded as one of the most respected names in data and market measurement, especially in TV and media audience and related areas. In a recent Nielsen report, ‘Fans are changing games’, the publicly traded firm predicts that by 2026 the sports sponsorship pocketbook for blockchain and crypto firms will reach north of $ 5B.
Let’s take a look at Nielsen’s takeaways and other key observations around crypto and blockchain firms.
Nielsen Sports Report: An Overview
The report is divided into four sections: consumer and behavioral change, their impact on sponsorship models, their impact on sports media and content distribution, and key steps for brand and sports rights holders.
Over-the-top (OTT) distribution (say Netflix, DAZN, Amazon Prime, etc.) and its social acceptance is the first callout from reports in the vicinity of consumer change. Relative to the general population, Z consumers are more likely to be multi-tasking while watching the game, and fans are increasingly leaning towards social media platforms such as Instagram, TikTok and Twitch for sporting content. The report also found that sports sponsorships are much higher on the scale of trusted advertising, with more reliance on these sponsorships than regular TV commercials, online video commercials and social media commercials. In addition, OTT distribution has helped make sports a “must-see” TV – although many linear television outlets have kept their sports output a favorite.
How are these social changes changing the way sports sponsorships come to life? Nielsen sees a clear link between visible sponsorship messaging and purchasing behavior, and now crypto firms are rapidly entering the space:
From the massive growth over the past two years in the “Crypto / Blockchain / NFT” category, Nielsen sponsorship projects strong performance to sustain costs. The firm’s 2026 forecast includes a single digit percentage increase for traditional sports sponsorship segments such as the automotive, retail and energy sectors. Nielsen projects double-digit growth for the “IT software / hardware” segment, and a huge. 778% increase The blockchain section mentioned above.
Somewhat surprising (but at the same time, not surprising) is Nielsen’s discovery that both the awareness and interest in crypto tokens is being led by sports fans and sports fans over the general public. This is partly due to the many vocal opponents of NFT and Crypto in the gaming and sports space. Even so, owning one is still beyond the reach of the average person, so we should not be too surprised to find that this audience leads in both awareness and interest. Last year was a record-breaking year for the Sports Sponsorship Deal, and we’ve seen FTX, Coinbase and many other crypto-first firms involved.
Another growth lever of blockchain technology in sports is what Nielsen describes as “the unbundling of women’s sports” – the idea of a sponsorship package in women’s sports is dedicated and will no longer be integrated with men’s sports. This will lead to more targeted marketing and sponsorship opportunities – a prime example being the choice of Crypto.com and Voyager to tighten agreements with the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) in recent months. Nielsen rightly points out that the viewership of the Women’s Super League is about 6 times higher than the average UK audience from two years ago to last year বৃদ্ধি the increase in women’s sports is real, and crypto firms will continue to be associated with fans as these leagues grow.
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Chiliz (CHZ) is one of the industry leaders in fan tokens, which stand to be well-positioned in the sports fan engagement landscape - but it remains to be seen the true potential of fan tokens, and if Chiliz can hit the spot. | Source: CHZ-USD on TradingView.com
How will the cost of sports sponsorship in crypto reach $ 5B by 2026? Nielsen believes that legitimacy and fan engagement will be the two main pillars to ensure success. Analysts see the team and the league’s perseverance as paramount, emphasizing that “in the long run, it will be vital for companies to properly examine sponsors and not impede revenue.” Last year, we noticed that some clubs failed to exercise due diligence on potential crypto partners, which – despite not being exclusive to crypto – legitimized the space due to the amount of spam and scams going through the crypto.
Similar threads are true when we talk about the busyness of athletes We’ve seen brands like FTX sign on premier athletes like Steff Curry and Tom Brady, and Cash App’s crypto program also used Odell Beckham Jr.’s choices last year. Athletes, however, have a microscope on them – and are largely sensitive to the sheer amount of talent and baggage left behind. Nielsen sees that athletes are “more likely to be able to make humane connections with fans than leagues, teams and venues” – so it is best that athletes continue to sign up with legitimate initiatives.
After all, more fragmented distribution, more ways to engage with sports, and other emerging trends are bound to be compatible with crypto – it’s only a matter of time before we find a better, more fan-friendly way to integrate things like fan tokens. Market in a way that is responsible and fan-first. Only time will tell how well crypto companies perform.
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Featured image from Pexels, Charts from TradingView.com The writer of this content is not associated or affiliated with any of the parties mentioned in this article. This is not financial advice.