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Nielsen expands its Nielsen Impact Score offering to include college football teams

4 minute read | December 2021

New solution from Nielsen Sports, originally launched for men’s college basketball, now includes over 100 college football programs, allowing more collegiate sports teams to value athlete marketability using proprietary Nielsen data under new NCAA Name, Image, Likeness rule

New York – Dec. 29, 2021 Nielsen (NYSE: NLSN) announced the expansion of its Nielsen Impact Score, which helps universities recruit collegiate athletes by demonstrating the marketing value of each athletic program, to now include over 100 college football programs in its database. Launched in October for men’s college basketball programs, the Nielsen Impact Score is designed to help coaches and collegiate teams position the marketing value of a program in line with new NCAA name, image, likeness rules to potential student-athletes via comprehensive recruiting and proprietary marketing data provided by Nielsen.

Nielsen Sports, a global leader in sports media valuation, data intelligence, strategy and insights, developed the Nielsen Impact Score to help showcase the marketing impact a collegiate sports team can deliver to potential student-athletes. By tapping into Nielsen’s industry-leading TV measurement tools, along with its local market research data from Nielsen Scarborough, the Nielsen Impact Score is a first-of-its-kind solution that only Nielsen is able to deliver. The Nielsen Impact Score database is designed to help a university team’s staff showcase the impact its program can have on prospective players. This database allows universities to quantify the inherent value a program can provide to prospective student-athletes using metrics similar to those a brand would consider when evaluating sports marketing partnerships. Now, coaches can pull their program’s rankings at the local or national level to help recruiting efforts, showcasing strengths in their own program as well as advantages over other programs. This allows programs that use the NIS to personalize recruiting pitches based on factors that may help a student-athlete benefit from the NCAA’s new name, image, likeness rules.

There are over 100 football programs that include schools from the American Athletic Conference (AAC), Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC), Big 12, Big Ten, Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC), Mountain West, Pac-12, Southeastern Conference (SEC), and independent schools. This is in addition to the nearly 100 NCAA Division I men’s college basketball programs across the AAC, ACC, Big 12, Big East, Pac-12, SEC, and more.

The final four teams in the College Football Playoff represent some of the top Nielsen Impact Score programs across the country with Alabama, Georgia and Michigan ranked in the top 10, and Cincinnati as the highest-ranked Group of Five conference school. All four programs come from states with college football fandom above 45% and three of the schools rank in the top eight in the Social Media Engagement Index Score.

The Nielsen Impact Score is a marketing value index that compares programs across three key inputs:

  • National Exposure – The basis for any marketing deal, this metric accounts for how much national television exposure the collegiate program provides its student-athletes. This metric is based on proprietary Nielsen TV ratings data.
  • Local Market Impact – College sports marketing relies heavily on state and local market advertisers, and this metric quantifies how a program’s local market fanbase engages with its local marketing activations. This component is provided using local market research data from Nielsen Scarborough.
  • Social Media Engagement – This calculates the engagement value of a program’s social media audience through metrics including followers, engagement rates, and more.

“It is exciting to see the continued momentum and demand for Nielsen Sports and the types of data-driven solutions we’re able to bring to the market to help sports leagues, teams, governing bodies, brands, rights-holders – and in this case, university athletic programs,” said Nielsen Sports Managing Director Jon Stainer. “Our rich portfolio with the Nielsen Impact Score, as well as Nielsen Fan Insights, Return on Sponsorship Investment and Sports Connect, positions us as the global leader in sports media valuation, data intelligence, strategy and insights. We know that no other company can offer this suite of solutions, and by tapping into the breadth and depth of Nielsen’s larger portfolio it’s a further example of the benefits we bring to the global sports industry.”

Duke University’s men’s basketball team, five-time national champions and 16-time Final Four participants, was the first collegiate program to sign on and use the Nielsen Impact Score. The Nielsen Impact Score is also now being used by the University of Dayton’s men’s basketball team. Nielsen Sports is a leading source of sports and sponsorship measurement and analytics around the world, with solutions spanning cross-platform media valuation, fan insights, and digital and social analysis. Nielsen Sports provides insight and analysis of over 15,000 teams, leagues and events and for more than 150,000 brands globally.

About Nielsen

Nielsen shapes the world’s media and content as a global leader in audience measurement, data and analytics. Through our understanding of people and their behaviors across all channels and platforms, we empower our clients with independent and actionable intelligence so they can connect and engage with their audiences—now and into the future.

An S&P 500 company, Nielsen (NYSE: NLSN) operates around the world in more than 55 countries. Learn more at or and connect with us on social media.



Matt Hurst