18. Athlete Brands and Engagement

The month of March started with Virat Kohli joining the 100m club on Instagram making him the 20th most followed individual and 23rd most followed overall account on the platform. He joined the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, Neymar, Ariana Grande, Dwayne Johnson among others. If you still don’t know who Virat Kohli is, you are probably living under a rock.

Virat became the 4th individual from the world of sports to reach this landmark and only the brand Nike has more followers than him. Even Puma, the sportswear brand that sponsors him has only 11m followers. But you must be wondering why do a sportsperson’s Instagram followers matters?

Athletes are no longer just ‘athletes’ in this digital world, they have become what we call ‘Athlete Brands’. They have a fan following, people love them, look up to them, buy things that have their name on them, spend money buying almost everything they endorse. They are what some may call ‘money-making machines’ both on and off the field and companies love associating with them to promote their various products.

What makes ‘athlete brands’ more likeable and attractive than other celebrities/influencers/brands is that they symbolise values and characteristics that everyone looks up to. They inspire people and emotionally connect with the audience which creates a unique selling point for them.

But, just like any other sports property, athlete brands are what they are just because of their fans and their unhindered support. And it’s important for athletes to constantly engage with their fans just like the clubs do. Athletes also need to have strategies for engagement, their managers and agencies come into the picture here as most athletes these days have a social media/PR team. For example, Virat Kohli partnered with Puma and did interaction with some of the biggest names in Indian and world sports via Instagram Live. His team and his associated brands constantly have various giveaways and contests conducted.

Today, many fan engagement tools are available out there and it’s high time athletes and their agencies start making the best use of them. You can always create fun quizzes, competitions and other loyalty-based activities and incentivize your fans. You can also collaborate with your sponsors and do sponsored activities as well. The digital landscape is constantly changing and it’s the only logical thing for athlete brands to engage in more fan engagement activities and maximise their ‘following’.

Gamedayz is our very own engagement tool designed for sports clubs, athletes, and brands to convert their unknown fans into known fans and maximize their social media efficiency while creating meaningful returns out of your sponsorships.

Check out our Gamedayz product and see how it can enhance the fan experience, improve the sponsorship and increasing your revenues


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