NFL Draft Prospects Top Brand Affinities

With the NFL Draft this week, we wanted to do a deep dive on the audiences of the NFL’s top draft picks to better understand what unique affinities exist between individual players and brands. These insights are created based on evaluating the top followed brands, by each player’s individual followers. This can help in understanding if there are particular brands who are likely to be more aligned to certain players’ audiences, allowing corporate partnership teams to create more authentic campaigns resulting in higher performing sponsorships.

Here are the insights we discovered when reviewing some of the NFL’s 2018 top draft pick’s audiences.

Josh Allen

In the food and beverage category, Kentucky’s Josh Allen differed from other picks with a unique affinity with the bourbon whiskey brand Maker’s Mark. He also had a higher affinity for Toyota in the automobile category, that we hadn’t seen with other players.

Ed Oliver

In the Automotive category, Houston’s Ed Oliver differed from other picks with a unique affinity with towards luxury car brand Lamborghini.

TJ Hockenson

In the consumer electronics category, Iowa’s TJ Hockenson differed from other picks with a unique affinity with towards Fitbit. The star QB also had a higher affinity for Jimmy Johns in the food and beverage category. Finally, he also saw a unique affinity for GMC and GM in the automobile category, that we hadn’t seen with other players.

Andre Dillard

In the consumer electronics category, Washington State’s Andre Dillard had an audience which aligned with Burger King, in the food & beverage category. In the Automobile category, his audience had a unique affinity towards Porsche, and finally a greater affinity towards Bose in the consumer electronics category.


We also discovered a trend in students that attended universities in the southern United States. Whataburger stood out in the food & beverage category for players from schools in the south. We noticed this with Quinnen Williams (Alabama), Ed Oliver (Houston), Devin White (LSU), Montez Sweat (Mississippi State), and Kyler Murray (Oklahoma) when reviewing the top brands followed by their Twitter followings. We also saw an increase in the likelihood of having Chick-Fil-A rank in these players audiences as well. Both show the effect of regionality on a player’s audience.

Effect on Brands

In this case, these insights highlight regional trends, as followers are likely to follow brands which they encounter or have in their communities. By understanding which brands have this existing regional proximity to a player, they can ensure that the accounts that they reach not only have some existing awareness of the brand but also accessibility to the brand, helping increase the likelihood of achieving certain KPI’s like sales and foot traffic. Regionality is only one of many different ways that audiences can be analyzed to help a brand identify the right partners for a sponsorship campaign.


Audience insights can also help agencies form smarter partnerships for the players they represent. When leveraging player’s audiences along with player true personal preferences, sponsorships have been proven to resonate better with fans and increase the effects that the campaign may have on the audience it’s intended for. Whether increasing awareness, swaying purchase decisions, or even just generating brand love, authentic campaigns often have a much greater ability to attract the attention of an audience’s following, and potentially convert a higher percentage on a campaigns KPI’s. By using audience insights to identify brands with higher affinity in an audience it’s possible to understand the likelihood a brand deal will over-index and resonate better due to a players background.

Team Use Cases

We’ve helped teams utilize this in several ways from finding which athletes would perform best against certain target audiences and even to drive the creative direction for sponsored content video series. If you’d like more information on data-driven creative, feel free to reach out and we’d be happy to help.

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