BLOG | by Victor Gras

The Last Dance hit screens last month. With a big upside for the Bulls and brands.

Last week we took a look at which US teams were creating the most Buzz during lockdown. And while the Bucs ran out winners overall, there were also some big climbers – with the Chicago Bulls being the biggest in the top ten.

With the NBA out of action for a while now, the Bulls’ improvement can be put down to the release of ESPN/Netflix’s The Last Dance, the documentary focusing on Michael Jordan’s career in Chicago.

So we thought we’d take a closer look at how the series looks to be affecting the Bulls’ metrics.

In the chart below, you can see two of the 16 metrics we track on the Bulls (and every other major league team) every day – Buzz and Word of Mouth.

The first episode aired on 19 April – and you can see how, until that point, these metrics were pretty stable. But since that date, there has been notable volatility, leading to the rankings movement we referred to earlier. Both Buzz (a net score – have you heard anything positive/negative about the Bulls?) and Word of Mouth (have you spoken about the Bulls to people in the last two weeks?) have shot up. Obviously as The Last Dance hit screens, it generated plenty of chatter about the team – both in the media and amongst the public.

But the Bulls are far from the only interested party in the documentary. The ESPN show also has three sponsors – Reece’s Peanut Butter Cups, Facebook and State Farm – and we thought it would also be interesting to see how perceptions of their brands responded – if at all. So here’s one example – State Farm.

Among regular viewers of ESPN, Buzz around the insurer reached its highest levels since the 2019/20 NBA season began, providing the brand with a healthy initial return from its deal, which is beginning to look like a very shrewd bit of business.

The Last Dance shows the power of other content forms in helping to sustain a conversation about a sport but also how other kids of sports coverage can provide valuable platforms for brands. And in the absence of action on the court, its release couldn’t have been better timed.

BLOG | by Victor Gras

Head of Client Services

Joining YouGov Sport in March 2018, Victor brings seven years of global sports sponsorship expertise. In his last role, he led Nielsen’s Market Intelligence activity across all US verticals, working with brands, rights holders and agency clients. He also worked previously with the New York Road Runners, where he helped TCS launch the title partnership of the NYC Marathon, as well as with the ASO, optimizing sponsorship strategies for the Tour de France and the Paris Marathon.