What are influential athletes most concerned about? Finding the right brands to support, demonstrating value, and building long-term relationships with their sponsors.
These are the results of a new Raynforest.com survey. Using a proprietary algorithm, we polled the nation’s most influential athletes to ask them about their interests and goals.
The results are in the accompanying infographic. If you’re an athlete looking for sponsors or an organization that has considered working with athletes, ignore them at your peril.
Here is a brief distillation of our findings: Brands are eager to work with social athletes Times are changing for athletes; brands are now seeking influential athletes and content creators with a strong social following, not just the elite race winners.
The problem for brands is introducing their product to new athletes and finding influential athletes to authentically represent their brand. Sports influencers are looking to work with all types of brands 94% are willing to work with brands outside their primary sport.
Sports influencers are keen on trying brand that have nothing to do with sports – 60% indicating this preference. 67% of influencers prefer finding a handful of brands they can establish long term relationships with, over many short term relationships.
“I prefer fewer long term partnerships/sponsorships because that affords me the opportunity to truly help that company grow by exposing them to my audience on a long term basis and building genuine trust between my fans and that company,” says Baylor Barbee, a triathlete with more than 60,000 Twitter followers. “I truly love relationships as opposed to ‘deals’ or small events. I try and only partner with companies I truly believe in and use so that I can remain authentic and honest in pitching it to my audience and do so knowing the product/service will truly benefit their lives. They trust me and I don’t want to lead them astray. Not to mention I never want to be seen as a Product Placement Guy. If it starts looking like I’m pushing too many products, my branding power diminishes.”
Sports influencers need a better way to connect with brands
Sports Influencers struggle to find the brands to work with, 57% saying their biggest challenge is connecting with the right brands.
Sports influencers are looking mostly for additional money to support their passion
Athletes are primarily looking for relationships that offer supplementary income and products. 80% say they their primary motivation is free product and supplemental income. Athletes need money to support their endeavors, including travel, equipment, entrance fees, nutrition, apparel, etc.
Athletes are willing to work with brands a variety of promotional activities: social promotions, content creation, product reviews, and event promotions. Athletes prefer Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
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