In today's competitive marketing landscape, brands are constantly seeking innovative strategies to enhance event attendance, increase awareness, and maximize viewership. One effective approach gaining traction is partnering with athletes on social media to draw eyes. These partnerships offer a unique opportunity to tap into the influence, reach, and engagement of athletes, creating a powerful synergy between brands and sports personalities.
In this article, we explore how brands are leveraging athlete partnerships to drive success in terms of event attendance, awareness, and viewership. We’ve laid out three ways in which brands are working with Athletes to increase the awareness of events – ensuring success.
1. Leverage Social Media Reach
Athletes possess a powerful tool for amplifying brand messages and event promotion on social media. With millions of followers, athletes can disseminate information quickly, reaching a vast audience that is in line with their professional sport. LIV Golf acted on this idea by partnering with several golfers in a campaign with OpenSponsorship. They hired 10 golfers and athletes that enjoy golfing to share links to the live stream of their Orlando tournament. Each athlete was given a pre-made banner to post on their story that held stream information.
They were also asked to create a poll on their Instagram story, asking fans if they planned to attend or watch the tournament. With these Athletes, LIV Golf was 100% certain that the audience they reached was interested in golf in some fashion and so they would be potential viewers of the tournament. The results were phenomenal, with 3.8M accounts reached on Instagram and a CPM of $11.
LIV Golf + Leslie Atkins
2. Create Memorable Experiences with Athletes Present
By forging partnerships with athletes, brands can orchestrate compelling experiences at events, enabling fans to engage with their favorite sports personalities. By collaborating with athletes, brands can organize meet-and-greet sessions, autograph signings, exhibition matches, or engaging challenges. These interactions generate a sense of excitement and foster enduring memories for attendees.
Moreover, as fans enthusiastically share their photos and experiences on social media, awareness about the event proliferates, attracting new attendees and elevating the overall reputation of the event. This dynamic partnership between brands and athletes drives event attendance while amplifying awareness through the power of fan-generated content shared across various social platforms.
This method is common practice at events such as Comic Con. The organization invites actors from a popular show to host a meet & greet or a panel that fans can experience – in turn, the audience that may show up to the event has expanded.
Hyrdow + Michele’ Forgione
3. Show Fans the Fun through an Athlete’s Experience
Brands can forge powerful partnerships with athletes to provide fans with firsthand experiences that highlight the fun and excitement of a particular event or activity. By inviting athletes to participate in an in-person activation and having Athletes show off activation on social media – the brands can communicate why fans should attend the activation.
The athletes attend the activation, actively participate in the experience, and then take to social media to share their own perspective and excitement about it. Through their posts, athletes showcase enjoyment they derived from the activity, effectively conveying the fun and positive aspects to their followers. This athlete-driven content resonates with fans, generates interest, and inspires them to seek out similar experiences. The combination of the athlete’s personal endorsement and the social media reach drives awareness, engagement, and ultimately draws more fans to participate in the highlighted event or activity.
Hydrow used this strategy during SuperBowl LIV. Their team set up a rowing activation outside of the stadium that fans try their products at. Using OpenSponsorship, the team hired 9 athletes that were already in the area or going to the SuperBowl to stop by and try the activation. The Athletes came in one by one in 30-minute intervals and had their experience filmed by the Hydrow team. Once they completed the activation, each athlete posted about it on social media to share with their fans. This method helped their activation acquire an additional 3.9M reach on Instagram.
The strategic collaborations between brands and athletes have proven to be a winning formula for boosting event attendance, raising awareness, and increasing viewership. Athletes’ influence, engagement, and loyal fan base provide brands with a powerful platform to capture audience attention and inspire meaningful engagement. Through social media, memorable experiences, athlete storytelling, and their ability to shape consumer behavior, athletes have become invaluable partners in driving the success of events. By harnessing the potential of athlete partnerships, brands can create lasting connections with their target audience, leaving a lasting impact on the event landscape.
Author: Ishveen Jolly. Ishveen is the CEO and Co-founder of OpenSponsorship. She has led the company to help 17,000+ Athletes do over $40m in deals with brands across the globe.