Athlete Sponsorships – The Most Under-Leveraged Social Marketing Asset

Modern Marketing
Social Influencer Marketing
Social Media Marketing


More and more brands and retailers are sponsoring athletes with the goal of leveraging their large following and influence to generate brand awareness. Some brands have organized product sharing campaigns, while others leave the athletes to organically post at will. Top athletes, in all industries from rock climbing to surfers are gaining significant sponsorships and brands are more than willing to make the investment. Currently there is $20 billion a year spent in athlete Sponsorships.

Athletes are so influential on social media that a mere mention of a product can significantly increase product sales almost immediately. A study by Catalyst Public Relations revealed that sports fans that follow their favorite athletes on social media are 55% more likely to purchase a brand if an athlete mentions it on Facebook or Twitter.

it’s not just the mega-athletes like Ryan Sheckler or Shaun White that have social pull, According to David Carter, head of the USC Sports Business Institute, and author of “Money Games”…“As celebrity endorsements move beyond the superstars, the mid-level player with personality and social media savvy can reach endorsement and name-recognition levels that were once only the domain of the best of the best.”

As with other areas of marketing the more advanced we become, the easier it is to track the return on investment but, are brand focused on the right returns?

The general rule of thumb for athlete/brand endorsements has been that the larger the athlete’s social reach, the greater the return for the brand, generally determined by outdated survey systems that judge popularity from the general public. But, what if athletes were rewarded for quality of the content, not quantity; for effectiveness, not reach? What if brands were able to sponsor the most effective athlete for their brand and demographic, not just the most popular? What if social content could be directly tied to online revenue increases?

Brand managers who work with athletes would love to see a lot of content coming from their sponsored athletes but equally, if not more important is the creation of organic, authentic content directed to the most relevant target audience for the brand. Even if an athlete’s following is large, it doesn’t necessarily mean that their following is the right target audience for the brand.

As a brand manager, imagine being able to tag, collect, search and archive all the social content from your sponsor athletes. Imagine seeing what athlete content had the best reach and was most engaging to specific audiences. Now imagine being able to dynamically display that social content on your web page in your digital marketing. At ReadyPulse, we built our web-based platform to do exactly that. For example, let’s say you are marketing shoes to a new category to a new audience. When you release the new shoes on your website you would be able to showcase the best social content, usually photos, from your sponsored athletes and use that content in an inspirational and aspiration way on your product page – driving web traffic and conversions.

Imagine being able to effectively measure the sales of a product related to one specific piece of social content from your sponsored athlete? Or, if you work with more than one athlete, being able to determine which athlete had best traction or most sales. How about finding the up and coming stars earlier, before your competitors? How much more effective could you be with your paid sponsorships?

If you are a CMO or CEO ask your brand managers how they are using sponsored athlete social content in digital marketing. If you are a brand or athlete manager – create your social content repository today. If you are an athlete – find out how you stack rank in your sponsor’s social audience – and encourage the reuse of your content.

Most importantly, for every brand and retailer executive – leverage the engaging social content from your most influential advocates, your sponsored athlete – it’s your best social marketing asset.

Request a demo for more information about how ReadyPulse helps brands maximize their sponsored athletes in their marketing.