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How Artificial Intelligence Is Reshaping Sports Sponsorship

Benjamin Rains
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Welcome to the latest episode of the Full-Court Finance podcast from Zacks Investment Research. On this week’s episode, Ben Rains speaks with GumGum Sports General Manager, Jeff Katz about how artificial intelligence is drastically changing the way we understand sports sponsorships.

GumGum is a computer vision-based artificial intelligence company that uses its proprietary technology to work with advertisers and publishers, including McDonald’s MCD, Disney DIS, Ford F, Target TGT, and many more, to help them place contextually relevant ads wherever their target consumers are most likely to see them. Katz is in charge of GumGum’s Sports division, which aims to help companies and brands understand the real value of sponsorships, from jersey ads to in-arena signage.

GumGum’s AI helps to provide a more overarching view of the value of sports sponsorships by incorporating social media reach of non-owned and operated accounts. Katz and GumGum also hope to enlighten teams, leagues, companies, and everyone else involved about the impact of brand placement across television, desktop, mobile, and maybe most importantly, social media platforms.

GumGum currently tracks the effectiveness of the NBA’s brand placements, where Nike NKE has seen a great return on its investment during the first year of its multi-year rights deal—after taking over from rival Adidas ADDYY. Meanwhile, the NBA also became the first major North American professional sports league to adopt on-jersey advertisements, with Goodyear GT, General Electric GE, Fitbit FIT, and many others all sponsoring teams during the inaugural jersey patch season.   

The conversation flows from the NBA and UEFA Champions League soccer to the NFL and what social media outlets—Facebook FB, Instagram, and Twitter TWTR—provide the best exposure and impact. Katz also spoke about the future of live sports on streaming services such as Amazon’s AMZN Twitch, and how this could change the scope of sponsorships.

Make sure to listen to the whole podcast to learn a lot more about how artificial intelligence is changing the way sports sponsorships are evaluated, and what companies are currently reaping the benefits.

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