The biggest sponsors in sport

Sponsorship operates across all areas of sport from the mega deals that athletes like Cristiano Ronaldo and Roger Federer sign, to huge team endorsement deals down to local team deals.  There are a few brands of there that pump billions into sport every year.

The overall global sports sponsorship market is estimated to be valued at over $60 billion per year,  but getting accurate figures as to what individual companies are spending is hard.  What we do know is that the beverage, auto, sport apparel and telecommunications companies are the biggest industry sponsors in sport.


Nike are by far the world’s biggest sports brand so when it comes to individual athlete sponsorship deals, they are king.  Their list of clients is full of GOATS – Cristiano Ronaldo the world’s most popular athlete, Tiger Woods – The worlds greatest golfer, NBA legend – Le Bron James and they used to have Roger Federer before he signed with Uniqlo. Nike have the top athletes across many sports and spend billions per year on athletes, teams, leagues and college athletic sponsorship programs.   Exact numbers are impossible to get but some example of expenditure are – the contract with the NFL is rumoured to be around $220 million per year and Spanish soccer club FC Barcelona receive up to €150 million  per year from the apparel maker.

The biggest athlete sponsorship deals in sport


Pepsi is the name that holds the number 1 position on this list in North America for sports sponsorship. The drinks company has a mammoth deal with the NBA and NFL and is also a big sponsor of the NHL in North America, and sponsor cricket globally.   It’s estimated that Pepsi spent over $1 billion every year on sports sponsorship.  Outside North America PepsiCo also extended its limited partnership with UEFA Champions League and Europa League in 2018 for the next three years.

The 10 biggest sports brands in the world


The global sports brand is also the official ball carrier for the last two World Cup seasons. Adidas sponsor a variety of different sports such as tennis, golf, cricket, rugby, baseball and hockey.  In the world of international football, they have some of the biggest team sponsorship deals, with teams such as Spain, Germany, Argentina, Russia, Mexico, Japan, Denmark, and Greece. The company also sponsors club football teams such as Real Madrid, AC Milan, and FC Bayern Munich.


Rolex are another giant in sports sponsorship, they tend to be very industry specific and spend vast amounts of money across tennis, golf and sailing and formula 1.  The company sponsor both the events and individual athletes, especially in golf and tennis.

Coca Cola

The Pepsi arch rival spent an incredible $5.8 billion on global advertising and marketing in 2018!  They have been the world sponsor of Olympic games for more than 90 years and according to WARC, Olympic partners Coca-Cola and Procter & Gamble would have spent $1.95 billion worldwide on the 2020 Olympics, while domestic sponsors like Canon, Asahi and Fujitsu will spend $3.33 billion,

Sponsorship in eSports

Coca Cola also sponsorships lot’s of other international events such as the FIFA World Cup and the ICC Cricket World Cup.

The Others

Emirates are another big spender, they spend 100’s of millions annually on sports sponsorships, European football clubs are the biggest receivers of this, including Arsenal, AC Milan and Real Madrid.  They are also very active across tennis, rugby, motorsport and  horse racing

The above are the global sponsors but in the USA the picture is quite different, most of the global sport sponsorship spend is concentrated in North America with brands like the big banks, AT&T, Ford, Toyota, Verizon and General Motors all in the top 10 list

The biggest TV rights deals in sport



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