The best brand placements in sports - and how to choose the right one for your business

Reading time: 4 minutes

Sport is such an attractive market for brands to advertise, but they will want to know they are getting the appropriate exposure.

This can be achieved by having really clear placements – football team front of shirt sponsor for example – or in more intelligent ways that are actually reflective of the brand itself.

Of course the sports industry is fairly large and wide ranging, so how can brands select the correct sport and placement for them? We look at some of the placements out there.

Formula 1

Simply by looking at a Formula 1 car, you can see the whole range of brand placements, with each team having around 10 different sponsors on their car.

So, despite the fantastic viewership figures F1 gets (445 million viewers in 2021), as well as appearances in a certain Netflix series, it is easy for brands to get lost and hard for them to stand out.

Brands can therefore look to more creative ways of partnering with an F1 team, and one that has been seen a lot over the years is official watch partners having placements on the drivers’ gloves.

You may think the gloves are hardly seen, but one of the close up cameras in the car shows the drivers hands on the steering wheel – bringing the watch placement into full view.

Also many of the other placements in F1 are just a logo, whereas with watch brands they can actually show off a particular watch itself. The Mercedes F1 team is currently partnered with IWC Schaffhausen, which has a logo placement on the car, as well as showing off a watch on the driver’s glove.


Sponsorship patches are a new thing in the NBA, only starting for the 2017-18 season. And even still the patches are small, just 2½ x 2½ inches on the front left of the jersey, they still pack a punch.

Therefore any brand that wants to spend the money needs to be creative with their marketing to make it worthwhile. Enter Bibigo, who have appeared on the LA Lakers patch since 2021. The South Korean food line secured a reported $100 million five-year deal for the placement, and they saw it as a significant step to growing their brand globally.

To celebrate the partnership, the Lakers commissioned artists from Seoul and Los Angeles to produce murals in the respective locations.

As well as the jersey patch, the Bibigo logo can also be seen courtside at the Arena, with Bibigo the Official Game Day Snack partner of the LA Lakers. Bibigo now has eight restaurants in US, all in California, with the brand also selling products in supermarkets across the US.

Learn more about the LA Lakers & Bibigo partnership.


Being a relatively “new” sport on brands’ radars, esports has now existed at a high level for over a decade now, and has one of the most receptive audiences out of any sport.

KitKat has perhaps been the most successful brand in the space, partnering with the League of Legends EMEA Championship (LEC) since 2020.

KitKat recognised a great opportunity to sponsor the “breaks” during matches, providing a non-intrusive way of reaching the esports and gaming audience. The Nestle brand has been so well received by viewers that it has branched out from the LEC by also teaming up with Sony for the launch of the PlayStation 5.

After Red Bull, KitKat is the second most well-known sponsor in the LEC, with more than two third of viewers likely to buy a KitKat in the future.

Breaking into the gaming industry can be difficult, but if done in the right way, it can be highly rewarding.

Find out more about opportunities in the LEC here.

European Football

Usually, football clubs will have the same sponsor for all their kits, but Borussia Dortmund do it slightly different, with chemicals business Evonik sponsoring BVB’s third kit.

Evonik has been Borussia Dortmund since the 2006-07 season, with both companies hailing from the Ruhr region in Germany. Evonik was a new brand in 2006, following a restructure from German conglomerate RA, and it needed to get its presence out there – so no better place than partnering with the biggest club in region and at that time six-time Bundesliga champions Borussia Dortmund.

Fast forward a decade, and brand awareness in Germany had risen from 29% to 65%, with Jürgen Klopp’s Dortmund side lifting back-to-back Bundesliga titles in 2011 and 2012 with Evonik as the main sponsor, as well as reaching the Champions League final in 2013.

Although Evonik has moved from the primary sponsor to third kit, this jersey – also in BVB’s iconic yellow – features in cup and European competition, making it more lucrative as it will be exposed to audiences outside of Germany.

Away from the pitch, Evonik is also the name sponsor of the “BVB Evonik Football Academy”, as the company looks to foster young talent and give back to the local community.

Learn more about Evonik's partnership with Borussia Dortmund.


It can be challenging to stand out when it comes to advertising in professional golf, but the key aspect that global cybersecurity firm Fortinet has found is providing multiple layers to their partnerships. This ensures that the brand is seen regularly and in different sorts of ways in world golf.

The brand is the title partner of two global tournaments – The Fortinet Championship in Napa, California on the PGA Tour and the Fortinet Australian PGA Championship in Brisbane, Queensland, a co-sanctioned event with the DP World Tour and the Australian PGA.

Additionally Fortinet is a sponsor of over 25 tournaments globally, as well having two PGA Tour ambassadors, six-time PGA Tour tournament winner Max Homa and four-time professional winner David Lipsky. Fortinet has three LPGA Tour ambassadors in Andrea Lee, Alison Lee and Rose Zhang.

Fortinet also supports a number of grassroots initiatives in golf, with the proceeds from the Fortinet Championships donated to local organisations focused on helping the local community, women and veterans and increasing access to STEM education, including cybersecurity training

These partnerships aim to elevate Fortinet's brand through association, broadcast integration and onsite branding.

Fortinet looks to engage with customers globally hosting seminars, workshops and education sessions onsite at sponsored tournaments, as well as to integrate Fortinet technology into the golf infrastructure to showcase technology solutions in a live and unique environment.

Learn more about Fortinet in world golf here.

Finding the perfect sport and positioning for your business in the broad realm of sports sponsorship can be a strategic challenge.

From Formula One to the NBA, esports to European football, each sport provides unique potential for creative partnerships that attract the attention of audiences all around the world.

Brands are finding unique methods to stand out and have a lasting effect, whether it's placing watch labels on F1 drivers' gloves or sponsoring the breaks during esports tournaments. By embracing these opportunities and thinking outside the box, brands can develop meaningful connections with fans and consumers and eventually increase brand exposure and growth.

Subscribe to the SPORTFIVE newsletter to learn more about the numerous sponsorship opportunities available and how you can take your brand to the next level in the exciting world of sports.

Beyond the Match
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