Competition for endorsements from famous athletes is high in the activewear industry, but are brands fully leveraging these sponsorships? In September, Nike signed a 10-year contract with Kevin Durant for $300 million. In 2013, Rory McIlroy became the rising golf superstar with a $200 million contract with the brand. And in 2012, adidas signed a 13-year contract with NBA star Derrick Rose.
It seems that brands are more focused on the athletic reputation of sponsors rather than considering how they can amplify a brand’s reach. For example, Derek Jeter, Tom Brady, Michael Jordan, Leo Messi and David Beckham have no official Twitter presence despite commanding high sponsorship rates. (Derek Jeter earned $9 million in 2014.) Furthermore, only 20% of brands in L2’s 2015 Sportswear Index use non-athletes as spokespeople, even though celebrities such as Justin Bieber and Heidi Klum can significantly amplify a brand. New Balance ambassador Heidi Klum has 2.7 million Twitter followers and can multiply the brand’s reach by 26x with every mention.
In choosing a spokesperson, brands should consider his/her following and willingness to mention a brand in tweets. As proof, see how Cristiano Ronaldo was able to get 2.8k retweets and 3.3k favorites for a tweet that was retweeted just 108 times from the @Nikefootball account.
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