College Sports Teams Have The Most Powerful IP in Team Sports


Conference re-alignment. Name, Image, and Likeness. Blockbuster media rights deals. These are a few of the topics buzzing around the college football world during a time in which the future of the sport seems to shift on a daily basis. While elements of the game may change, excitement builds this time of year as fans have a renewed sense of optimism about their favorite teams.

On-going research by Futures Sport + Entertainment reveals that the intellectual property (IP) of college sports teams is the most powerful team IP in the US sports marketing landscape.

The following analysis examines advocacy for college sports teams versus advocacy for teams across the major leagues using Futures’ custom market research tool – surveying 2,000 sports fans on a monthly basis throughout the year.

Team Advocacy: College Sports Vs. Major League Sports Teams

From Eugene to Coral Gables and everywhere in between, College Football fans are uniquely different – but what makes these fans different than other sports fans?

The passion and advocacy that they have for their favorite teams.

Demographic composition of college sports fans serves as a starting point to understand how these fans tick. We can use advocacy (Net Promoter Score - NPS) of college football teams benchmarked to major US sports leagues and teams to get a better idea of how likely these fans are to be advocates for their favorite teams.

Using Net Promoter Score (NPS) as a measure of advocacy and brand health we can look at the relative strength of the intellectual property (IP) for college sports teams versus major league teams.


By calculating NPS by team across leagues, we can conclude College Football fans have higher levels of advocacy toward their favorite team compared to fans of major sports leagues.

The Net Promoter score looks at the relative composition of advocates versus detractors within a team’s fanbase. Advocates are defined as top-two box on a ten-point scale, whereas detractors are bottom-six box. In the case of College Sports teams their net promotor score (advocates minus detractors) is 48% which is significantly higher than the NPS scores that we see for teams within any of the major leagues.

This research indicates that with higher levels of advocacy, college team IP is more likely to impact how fans feel about sponsoring brands and will be more likely to change fan purchase behavior than the IP of teams across the four major leagues.