How Social Media Can Drive Athlete Sponsorship Opportunities

athlete sponsorship opportunities

How Social Media Can Drive Athlete Sponsorship Opportunities

For athletes, growing their careers requires more than just playing a good game. It requires improving their visibility, networking with brands, gaining sponsorships, and connecting with fans. All of this can be done online through creative marketing tactics, but nothing helps more than boosting social media presence. Wondering why and how to do this? Here’s what you need to know about how social media drives athlete sponsorship opportunities and benefits both teams and brands alike. This is also called ‘’social sponsorship’’. Social media sponsorship is a very powerful tool for athletes to attract athlete sponsorship.

Effectiveness of social media for an Athlete Sponsorship

First of all, let’s look at why athlete influencers are so effective on social media. There’s a lot to be said about this topic, and it’s important to understand ‘’the why’’ before moving forward. If you already understand the importance of social media for athlete sponsorship, then feel free to skip this part. One thing is for sure. There are a lot of companies looking to sponsor athletes.

Fans Look to Their Favorite Athletes for Guidance

It may be hard to believe, but athletes have the ability to direct their fans’ support and buying power. How? Through social media channels. Fans have the opportunity to follow their favorite athletes and sports teams online. They see what athletes are doing, what brands they love, where they travel, and even how they travel. If they support that athlete, they’re more likely to purchase the same brands or work with the same companies whenever possible.

Athlete sponsor opportunities allow brands to build off of athletes’ connections with their fans. Brands understand the power of social media and know that working with certain athletes increases their brand’s visibility among people already likely to buy their products.

Attract Brands a lot faster

Social media can make sure that brands want to work with you a lot faster. It’s all about receiving a great ROI for businesses. Athlete sponsorships are just one way for them to get extra traction.

Professional Athletes have a limit to the marketing channels they provide. However, a large social media following might set you apart for receiving athlete sponsorship opportunities.

Opportunities for engagement are limitless

An athlete usually is only in the spotlight when they play a big tournament. Because of social media platforms these opportunities are now limitless. In 2019 and 2020, we will see a big change how sports are processed over social media. Engaging with fans on social media is very easy and can be done daily. We already know that social media influences consumer purchasing decisions as well.

Athlete Sponsorship managers (or business owners) also rather work with someone that has 10k followers, with a 15% engagement rate, than with an account of 50k followers but only 1-2% engagement. Make sure to keep this in mind when you are looking for an athlete sponsorship.

Everything about Social Media and Athlete Sponsorships

Social Media and Athlete Sponsorships

Social Media Channels Have to be Active

In the 21st century, almost everyone has a social media account. A professional athlete that is looking for sponsorship NEEDS a social media account (preferably multiple). There is often no way around it. It’s not a coincidence, that both athlete & fitness sponsorship opportunities are often given to players and teams with active social media channels. This is because they’ve already networked with their fans. It makes it easy for both the athlete sponsor and the brand to market to the fan base. Every time the athlete associates themselves with a certain brand, the brand benefits.

Sport Athletes: The new social media influencers

Sport athletes have become the new ‘’social media influencer’’, and they have a lot of influence over their fan base. Especially Instagram (because of its unique business model) is a very popular social platform. Allowing businesses to reach their audiences in diverse ways, either through video, audio or content, has never been easier.

It’s also very analytics-driven. It’s easy to track everything. This can give you valuable information about which product your audience likes (and engages with) and which product isn’t that great. These social networks present a very unique opportunity to showcase a service or a product. The popularity of an athlete is irrelevant, rather it’s about how many people will engage with the athlete.

Improving Athlete Social Media Presence

Building a thriving social media presence takes a lot of time and effort, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be done. With the right strategy in place, athletes new to the game can build strong relationships with their followers and create an online presence that attracts athlete sponsorship opportunities consistently.

Athletes that can’t be bothered with updating their facebook posts or Instagram photos can always hire social media marketers. These products or services are also available with Creatitive.

Stay Genuine

Don’t only focus on the amount of followers. A more important metric is the engagement of those followers. A smaller following with high engagement is usually preferred compared to a high following with low engagement. For that reason, cheating the system by using ‘’follower bots’’ is not recommended. Most likely, companies that sponsor will not see a good return on their investment. Simply because their sponsored post did not receive the correct engagement with its target audience.

It’s very important to stay genuine. Professional athletes can hurt their brand if they buy followers. This can lead to businesses not wanting to work with these athletes anymore. Presenting a truthful and transparent influence to the fans is very important. A social media account for an athlete grows naturally as well. If they have great results, perform outstanding during games or matches and have won a lot of tournaments, their social media following will increase.

Who are the Most Influential Athletes on Social Media?

Influential Runner Athletes

Now we are going to look what athlete is considered to be the top influencer on social media. These are athletes that obviously are doing something right. This a great question, especially in terms of how influential the athlete is.

Here are the top 10 most influential athletes (and their total social media following). To read the full study of ESPN, read this article.

10. Tiger Wood (Golf) – 6.4 million
9. Stephen Curry (Basketball) – 23 million
8. Rafael Nadal (Tennis) – 15.6 million
7. Virat Kohli (Cricket) – 37.1 million
6. Roger Federer (Tennis) – 14.5 million
5. Conor McGregor (UFC) – 29.7 million
4. Neymar (Soccer) – 107.2 million
3. Lionel Messi (Soccer) – 103.1 million
2. LeBron James (Basketball) – 45.3 million
1. Cristiano Ronaldo (Soccer) – 148 million

All these athletes have been very clever about leveraging social media. These athletes are already earning millions thanks to their successful sports career. Thanks to their popularity, these athletes earn many millions more through sports sponsorships. There are definitely many sponsorship opportunities for athletes who handle social media correctly.

Social media sponsorship: ways to attract sponsors through social media

Here are 10 tips to keep in mind to attract athlete sponsorship through social media. Follow this advice and you will attract potential sponsors a lot faster.

Be honest
Make a plan
Do your research
Hold a contest
Share your sponsor’s message
Create mutually beneficial content
Tell a story
Express gratitude
Show results
Be creative


Undoubtedly, social media is an area that has grown in importance a lot for athlete sponsorships. When looking for a sponsor, one of the main topics of conversation is social media. Every professional athlete should focus on this besides their professional career. A large social media following can set you apart from the competition.

If you can’t be bothered doing social media for athletes, an agency like Creatitive can help you with this. We are prepared to commit time and effort to your social accounts. We also have a plan for how to grow your follower base while at the same time keeping your audience in mind.

Struggling to Improve Social Media Presence?

Building a thriving social media presence takes a lot of time and painstaking effort, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be done. All you have to do is ask for a little help. With the right strategy in place, athletes new to the social media game can build strong relationships with their followers and create an online presence that attracts athlete sponsorship opportunities consistently.

Schedule a Consultation

Not sure where to start? Give us a call or contact us online to schedule a consultation. At Creatitive, we’ll help you harness the power of your personal brand quickly and effectively.

No Comments

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.