The branding potential of women athletes
The GIST: Despite only scoring 7% of global sports endorsement deals, women athletes are making those opportunities count. Per a report published yesterday, top players across a wide cross section of sports generated around $1 million each for their sponsors with 2022 social media posts.
The methodology: The report measured the adjusted ad value (AAV) of social posts by looking at two factors — the prominence of brand logos in images and text and post engagement. It also evaluated deliberate brand mentions, meaning a more intentional name-drop in a post’s text.
The top athletes: NASCAR driver Hailie Deegan and tennis icon Serena Williams led the pack after generating $1.7 million each in deliberate AAV last year. Rounding out the top five? Snowmobile athlete Ashley Chaffin ($1.6 million), runner Alica Schmidt ($1.2 million) and motorsport competitor Angelle Sampey ($1.2 million).
- Williams may be the only tennis player in the top 10, but her ex-colleagues in the WTA are hitting aces on socials — female tennis athletes generated 10% more value than their male counterparts, per the report.
The top sport: Esports grabbed the Victory Royale last year, after 73% of its women athletes intentionally posted about brands for $5.1 million in deliberate AAV. Alia Shelesh, the sport’s top performer, generated $1.2 million on her own last year — with just 16 (!!!) posts.
The context: Overall, athletes generated $875.2 million in deliberate AAV last year, only falling behind sports teams’ total of $886.2 million. On average, players deliberately mentioned corporate partners in 70.9% of their branded posts, 30% of which involved sportswear brands. Leading the way? Nike and Adidas, of course.
Zooming out: This report is just the latest example of women athletes’ social media savvy, but also highlights the branding potential of niche sports. Although their sports receive less attention and publicity, these athletes possess strong brand-building abilities and enjoy highly-engaged audiences. Talk about a high skillshot rate.