The market for corporate sponsorships might be growing, but calculating the financial return for marketers can be difficult, particularly within the world of sports where it’s difficult to track views of brand logos during games on TV and across social media.

Santa Monica digital ad firm GumGum Inc. is trying to fix that problem through a software program, GumGum Sports, launched last month to identify distinct logos and signage within sports broadcasts. The software then assigns the image a media valuation, which varies based on prominence and duration of screen time, allowing marketers and sports franchises to better understand the impact of sponsorships.

“If you look at sponsorships from the perspective of teams, this is where they make the majority of their revenue,” said Ophir Tanz, GumGum’s chief executive. “It’s critical for them to have objective, fact-based, quantitative-backed conversations with their customers. They need to be able to prove value to themselves and their constituents.”

Last year, sponsorship spending globally grew 4.6 percent to $60.1 billion, according to research firm IEG. It is expected to grow 4.5 percent this year to $62.8 billion.

GumGum isn’t first to market with this type of brand-recognition technology, and the company will have to stare down a handful of established competitors to win over customers, including the market’s largest player, Repucom, an Australian firm purchased by Nielsen Holdings in June in a deal that was reportedly valued at more than $100 million.

“It is a crowded space,” said Matt Balvanz, vice president of analytics at Chicago sports research firm Navigate Research. “It’s been dominated by Repucom and Nielsen for so long, and they have a really big market share and low price point.”

Tanz acknowledged the challenge, but pointed to an advantage in his software: a feature that allows it to measure the impact of sponsorships when they appear within videos shared on social media.

The company’s pricing is based on several factors, including how many brands are being analyzed, how many games are included in the scope of work, what a client’s reporting schedule is, and whether the GumGum is providing measurement for TV and social media together, or just one medium.

“Within nine seconds or so, we are able to identify new mentions on social media,” he said. “I think the overarching idea here is fairly straightforward: We are not trying to reinvent the wheel, we are just trying to dramatically improve the quality of it.”


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