Our 2014 Digital IQ Index: Sportswear found 98% of Sportswear brands have a Twitter account. Of those, Nike has the largest presence in size, responsiveness and sponsorship. Nike’s Twitter community has 2,530,254 followers, 214% more than December 2012. Nike is also the most responsive and customer service-oriented of all with 92% of its tweets being @ replies.
Nike shares the lead with Adidas in brand ambassadorships, a valuable promotion tool for sportswear brands. In 2013, Nike’s top athlete Cristiano Ronaldo had the highest reach of all sportswear sponsored athletes on Twitter with 23,904,965 followers. The next most influential athletes were Wayne Rooney, and Andrés Iniesta with 7,901, 501 and 7,818,843 followers respectively and sponsored by Nike. However, Adidas’ athletes mentioned the brand more than Nike’s, even though they had less reach. Jozy Altidore mentioned Adidas 41 times, approximately once a week, in 2013 even though it had just over 600,000 followers. It seems the frequency of mentions is just as valuable to brands as reach. For the upcoming Winter Olympics, more contracts are specifying the number of mentions, a minimum of 25 mentions on Twitter and six on Facebook.