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Nielsen Fanlinks Connects Fans With Brands

4 minute read | November 2018

Johannesburg- November 5, 2018 – Tapping into the value of the South African sports fan market, Nielsen Sports has announced the launch of its latest offering FanLinks, which combines purchase behaviour of South African households with their interest across sports and entertainment, offering a new way of identifying the brands sports fans are buying.

Since sport is such a personal choice; brand sponsorship offers the ability to touch fans at the peak of their interest. With a burgeoning trust factor of 75% within the advertising industry, brand sponsorship outpaces that of online video ads (42%) and text ads on mobile (36%) according to Nielsen’s Trust In Advertising survey.

Fanlinks offers the ability to quantify sports fan purchase behaviour by brand and deliver specific retail strategies in line with the best opportunity in sponsorship and rights holder partnerships, to reach the most appropriate sports consumer. Consequently, brands can measure for success and align their products within potential partnerships that provide return on investment into the future.

The report shows that 36.4% of South African household shoppers are local soccer fans. What’s more, Western Cape local football fans are the highest spenders by region paying R12 678.27 for their annual FMCG basket over the past 12 months; R137.16 more than the average South African football household, with Western Cape football fans’ shopping frequency more than double that of the local football fan average.

Nielsen Sports MD, Africa, Middle East & Pakistan, Kelvin Watt says; “Sports sponsorship can drive purchase behaviour but up until now the sports industry has been dominated by a few corporate brands, across a select number of industries. Even then, returns were not quantified, and brands couldn’t tell if their investment led to changes in sales behaviour.

With Fanlinks, brands now have the opportunity to track the direct return on investment of their sports sponsorship and gain significant insights for the future. At the same time, rights holders can better understand the fast moving consumer goods purchase behaviour of their fan base.”

From present to future purchases

An integrated Nielsen solution, Fanlinks combines data from the Nielsen Consumer Panel Service (CPS) of 4 000 households regarding the products bought per household (actual purchase behaviour) together with their entertainment and sports preferences. The report offers items most purchased in a category, the date of purchase, the retailer where it was purchased from, its price and the total amount spent on a shopping trip. Fanlinks can also provide indicators on items that are more likely to be purchased in the future based on past purchase behaviour.

Within the FMCG arena, Fanlinks also delivers untapped potential for both the brand and the sporting industry, as it can best quantify what a household looks like, align a product to a type of sport and pinpoint the demographic to reach. Sponsorships can now be built from ground up according to the product’s core consumer and the appropriate sports sector, enabling long term partnerships with key associations and sporting bodies.

Fan preference behaviours

With Fanlinks, clients can now identify which fans are buying their category, who is buying their brand and who is buying competitive products. This insight into actual purchase behaviour of sports fans allows brands to better activate their strategies with their buyers within specific demographic regions and open up new fan groups, which brands need to be considering, along with how best to reach them.

As Watt says; “The role of sponsorship is growing in modern communications strategies and is now a critical way of engagement which leads to partnerships and trusted forms of advertising. FanLinks not only taps into the consumer value chain, it also delivers a competitive advantage for the sports industry when approaching FMCG brands for sponsorships and offers mutually beneficial relationships for both brands and the rights holders.”


Nielsen Holdings plc (NYSE: NLSN) is a global measurement and data analytics company that provides the most complete and trusted view available of consumers and markets worldwide. Our approach marries proprietary Nielsen data with other data sources to help clients around the world understand what’s happening now, what’s happening next, and how to best act on this knowledge. For more than 90 years Nielsen has provided data and analytics based on scientific rigor and innovation, continually developing new ways to answer the most important questions facing the media, advertising, retail and fast-moving consumer goods industries. An S&P 500 company, Nielsen has operations in over 100 countries, covering more than 90% of the world’s population. For more information, visit

CONTACT: Jayashree Janardhanan