NBA team sponsorship revenue grew more than $100m from last season, reaching a record $1.4 billion in the 2022/23 season, according to SponsorUnited*, the sports and entertainment intelligence platform.

The NBA sponsorship portfolio also rose 3.5 percent year-over-year (YoY) with 2,430 new brand deals, but the increase in spend across deals is more significant, rising 10.5 percent YoY.

This season saw high-growth categories like Financial, Retail, Sports Betting, and Gambling & Lottery account for nearly half the total revenue increase, which drove considerable revenue gains. The Finance category had a banner year in the NBA, ranking #1 in total spend, highest year-over-year spending growth and growth in deal volume.

“The NBA continues to excel in attracting brands, evident in the record high sponsorship spend and continuous year-over-year spend increase,” said Bob Lynch, SponsorUnited founder and CEO. “Whether it’s well-established partners or emerging categories like Sports Betting and Technology, the NBA and its players’ allure remains unmatched as brands recognize the distinct value this sport and its passionate fanbase offer to their marketing strategies. It is poised for continuous growth.”

NBA players outperformed other athletes on social media by nearly 2.5 times the average engagement per deal. Playoff status measurably impacts NBA social media growth, especially on Instagram. Teams that made the playoffs saw a 33 percent higher increase in followers than those that didn’t, demonstrating the influence of on-court success on fan engagement. 

“The game’s best players are just as influential on the court as off the court,” continued Lynch. “As NBA fans interact more and more with their favorite players, brands are presented with an unparalleled opportunity to form deeper connections with their audiences through endorsements.”

Other findings include YouTube integrated sponsorship saw the highest increase in asset usage year-over-year, yet less than half of NBA teams have capitalized on the platform.

In a nod to the growing spotlight on social responsibility and the NBA’s role as a leader in pro sports, more than 300 brands focused their league sponsorship efforts on social equality, environmental stewardship, community support, and health and empowerment initiatives, surging 25 percent.

*SponsorUnited’s 2022/23 NBA Marketing Partnerships Report was based on an analysis of over 4,200 brands, 200 athletes and over 2,900 social posts in the NBA. View the full report here.