This article was produced in association with dataPOWA
How a new sponsorship data and valuation engine could be set to become the industry standard
While it remains to be seen how Cristiano Ronaldo’s €112m ($130m) summer switch from Real Madrid to Juventus will affect the balance of European footballing power on the pitch, CR7’s move has already had a significant impact on the commercial firepower of the two clubs.
According to the newly-launched POWA index from dataPOWA, Ronaldo’s transfer saw a significant shift in the respective values of the two clubs as sponsorship platforms, with Real falling from top place in the index – to be replaced by the United States’ NBA – and Juve shooting up the table to 11th.
So how do we know all this? The impact of Ronaldo’s personal brand magnetism on the sponsorship appeal of a club is just one of the sponsorship subplots identified by dataPOWA chief executive Michael Flynn, using the system he and his team have developed to provide the sponsorship industry with an affordable tool which generates a host of digitally-derived data to guide better decision-making.
Launched in September 2018, by London-based dataPOWA, the POWA index delivers a live dashboard graphically displaying the sponsorship power of sports, clubs, leagues and events based on a massive basket of digital and social media inputs. The result is a detailed sponsorship picture of each listed property highlighting its performance across major social media platforms and websites, and delivering vital data around associated keywords and demographic analysis which identifies not only the age and gender of fans and followers but their locations around the world.
The output is produced by a process which begins with sourcing the data by combing trillions of data points across 60 unique data sets including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, sports media sites, broadcast output and financial information.
The results are then ‘cleaned and categorised’ before being analysed using advanced machine-learning techniques to produce the output streams which are delivered via real-time personalised dashboards that allow users to access, interrogate and compare the information they require.
At the time of writing, the POWA index displays the NBA as the world’s most powerful sponsorship vehicle, ahead of Real Madrid, which is followed by the NFL, Barcelona, Manchester United, the Uefa Champions League and the English Premier League.
While the ranking of top clubs may not come as much of a surprise, it is the breadth of information offered by the POWA index, together with the ability to make comparisons between different types of properties – such as clubs and leagues – which makes it such a valuable tool.
“We call it the Sponsorship Scout,” explained Flynn, who has 30 years’ experience in the sponsorship sector.
“It’s there to provide a first point of reference and the assistance needed by those working in sponsorship to identify the properties which are the best fit to help them reach their objectives at the right price.”
Flynn certainly knows his stuff. As director of sponsorship at the UK brewer Bass, he was responsible for Carling’s award-winning sponsorship of the English Premier League, before moving on to explore and pioneer aspects of digital marketing through companies including Fast Web Media.
Beyond sport he and his team at Fast Web Media were responsible for developing WeatherFIT – technology which enables online traders to sell products tailored to the weather in any part of the UK, allowing them to decide which products to promote – before going on to build and sell a company which developed software that matched second screen advertising to programming on mainstream television.
His love of sport, sponsorship and data is clear and in dataPOWA it appears he has found a way of bringing them all together.
“The use of data in sponsorship has always fascinated me,” he explained.
“It goes back to my days with Bass as director of sponsorship and handling the Carling Premiership.
“It was a fascinating sponsorship and after the initial years of working to make sure we achieved name recognition we switched focus to really getting closer to the fans. That’s when I became aware of the Opta Index which, for the first time, delivered really detailed data about what was happening in a football match and the performance of individual players.
“I was looking for social currency and the Opta scores from each game were becoming part of the conversation around every game. Our deal created the Carling Opta Index and it really broke new ground in the papers, on television…everywhere.”
With dataPOWA he appears to be breaking new ground once again with a product which delivers access to a broad range of essential live data about the sponsorship performance and value of clubs, leagues and sports, graphically presented in personalised dashboards.
“For years a lot of sponsorship has had a ‘hit and hope’ feel to it because the research and data which was available was difficult to access and extremely expensive for all but the wealthiest clubs and properties,” he said.
“We have deliberately made the POWA index really accessible with a price point of £2,500/$3,500 because we want everybody to have access to the same level of information whether they are Manchester United or Macclesfield Town. Multi-user license fees will be based on turnover.
“It is a very different product package from those offered by the major media monitoring and analysis companies.
“Our customers know their own business better than we ever can, so they are the experts…we are just providing a service which puts information at their fingertips and enables them to make comparisons and ask the right questions before making a decision,” he said.
The dataPOWA business model is based on volume of sales and Flynn says customers will be drawn from all sides of the sponsorship equation.
“The information we deliver is central to brands looking to identify the properties which will best deliver the engagement and audiences they need to reach. It allows them to compare the sponsorship performances not only of sports teams but to look at those against events and leagues so that they have all the information they need to make a decision.
“Naturally the agencies which advise brands will be able to use the POWA index to make better-informed recommendations to their clients and I feel the service could drive an improvement in the service offered by agencies which will be able to instantly look at a broader range of properties, helping to guide their in-depth research and strategic thinking. Beyond that, I’m sure the next generation of executives will find intuitive ways to use this tool that we haven’t even considered yet.
“The POWA index also works for properties themselves as it enables them to compare their own performance as a sponsorship platform against their immediate competitors and against a wider range of opportunities. Our data highlights
the areas in which a property is performing well or underperforming and enables them to take action to rectify any issues.
The POWA index additionally offers a bespoke service – delivered by experts who draw upon data generated by the system before applying a series of contextual cross-checks – which delivers an accurate assessment of the monetary market value of any given sponsorship.
“This is where we apply a necessary human element to support the technology and ensure that we deliver the most accurate figure possible,” Flynn explained.
“Together with all the other reference and comparison points delivered by the POWA index, this gives users the ability to negotiate deals more effectively.”
Flynn believes that the POWA index can change the sponsorship industry by making everybody working in it better-informed. It’s low price point puts timely, decision-critical information in the hands of all stakeholders in the sponsorship process, helping reduce the reliance on hunches and educated guesswork which has, to date, been an inevitable part of the process.
“This sort of information has never before been so widely available,” he said.
“We’ve lived in a world where supplying data on which decisions could confidently be made was the preserve of major research companies which charged big fees. That’s no longer the case and the POWA index has been designed to allow every subscriber to do their own effective desk research so that they can confidently focus on the big picture.”