The madness of March is over, but the NCAA basketball tournament rolls on with the Final 4 set to play on Saturday evening. SponsorHub, a company that tracks the marketability of teams and athletes, did so for this year’s college basketball players in near real-time.
SponsorHub uses its own measurement platform to determine the marketability of certain players, and they gave me a sneak peek of how it works. I’m not privy to all the information, but the company measures the amount and type of emotion each player elicits from viewers via social media. It measures emotions from both ends of the spectrum -- from enjoyment and excitement to disappointment and fear.
Before we go any further, let’s get the obvious point out of the way. Yes, it’s more or less pointless to track -- in real-time -- the marketability of NCAA basketball players while they are still in college. But this is about potential future sponsorships, and many of these players figure to be in the NBA, some in the not-so-far future.
One SponsorHub representative reckons this type of information is “helpful to teams for whom the new players could provide some positive (or negative) impact on overall team sponsorship value.” They added that it “could impact, to some degree, draft-day decisions.”
If we are to take SponsorHub’s word for it, the marketability of certain players can change drastically in a short period of time. Such is life when fandom is a factor. Heck, you could argue it's the only factor.
For example, heading into the Elite 8, Creighton’s Doug McDermott connected to the largest audience. After the games last weekend, Kanas’ Andrew Wiggins did. For what it’s worth, Wiggins has since declared for the NBA draft.
Player-brand partnerships are typically longer-term ordeals -- or at least longer than three weeks -- but even that is starting to change a bit. Take a look at the Olympics, for example. Some companies were using athletes at the height of their marketability to plug their brand. Granted, we see that every two years at the Olympics, but could we start to see it with events that aren’t quite so large?
It’s possible. Also during this year’s Olympics we saw athletes plug brands through Twitter, proving there are avenues other than big-budget TV commercials through which brands are comfortable displaying their sponsorships.
With companies like SponsorHub capable of tracking the value of athletes in near real-time, we could see a lot
more one night stands between brands and athletes as they live out their 15 minutes of fame.
Note: After writing this piece, I learned that the first potential victim of this fad could be none other than President Barack Obama. I'll let Ron Burgandy take it from here:
"Basketball" image from Shutterstock.