Published on December 13, 2022 by June Mathews  
MarshalSmith datalab
Marshal Smith ’22, a current M.B.A. student, assisted with the project.
When the Denver Broncos partnership marketing team wanted to understand how much the inclusion of the team’s official logo and brand marks influence fans’ actions when receiving a digital advertisement from one of their partners, they reached out to none other than Samford University’s Center for Sports Analytics.
Through the center, Samford faculty and students have completed several sports business analytics projects for prestigious sport teams, leagues and brands, but this project set a new milestone. “This was a first of its kind study in a real-world setting, which produced valuable new knowledge about sports marketing and sports partnerships,” said Darin White, the center's executive director.
The Broncos requested help developing a thought leadership study focused on the effectiveness of digital partner advertising using the Broncos’ intellectual property. Specifically, the study sought to identify digital key performance metrics to establish audience and creative standards and to develop the most effective digital marketing strategies through advanced audience targeting.
Other partners in the study included Samford sports marketing advisory board member Tigris Sponsorship & Marketing, and Conoco/Phillips 66 and Marketing 360. The Broncos and participating brand partner Conoco donated everything needed to conduct the study, and the Center for Sports Analytics, with the help of Tigris, developed the guidelines to ensure that the findings would be academically valid. Marketing 360 executed the study sending the digital ads to thousands of Denver Broncos fans.
“To empirically demonstrate the power of the Broncos brand, Samford and Marketing 360 developed five campaigns using both the Conoco and Broncos' brand marks, interchanging them based on the amount of Broncos' content in each ad. We were able to prove that the Broncos' mark can significantly increase lift within the performance metrics of link clicks, conversions, post engagement and video views,” White said.“ Jerry Kelly, chief marketing officer of Marketing 360, was particularly helpful in executing the study and developing the final presentation. To assure that the data collected was reliable and valid, a complex process was executed to guarantee each experimental group within the study only received one of the five ads. This was important for the academic validity of our findings. Jerry produced a creative solution which was a big part of the study’s success.”
Not only does the study develop new knowledge and insights around the area of sponsorship marketing, but it will also help Samford educate the next generation of sports industry executives and assist brands and teams in forming effective partnerships. “It’s really cool that Samford students were involved in the development of this new knowledge, which will allow sports properties and brands to more effectively leverage those partnership going forward,” White said.
This story is included as a feature in the fall 2022 issue of Seasons magazine. Enjoy the complete issue here.
Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Samford enrolls 5,791 students from 49 states, Puerto Rico and 16 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.