FDA Approval and Athlete Sponsorship Guide for Brands and Athletes

In the intersection of health, wellness, and sports, the distinction between FDA-approved and non-FDA-approved products becomes a pivotal consideration for athletes and the brands that wish to partner with them. In this post, we'll aim to illuminate the nuances of FDA approval, its significance in sports endorsements, and how brands on either side of the FDA approval line can effectively engage with athletes.

Understanding FDA Approval and Its Impact on Sports Marketing

What Does FDA Approval Entail?

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is responsible for protecting public health by ensuring the safety, efficacy, and security of human and veterinary drugs, biological products, and medical devices. FDA approval signifies that a product has been rigorously evaluated and deemed safe and effective for its intended use.

Why is FDA Approval Important in Sports?

For athletes, endorsing FDA-approved products can lend credibility and ensure they're promoting items that are safe for consumption or use, aligning with their responsibility towards their fans and their own health. It reassures stakeholders that the products meet high safety standards.

FDA Approval in Athlete Endorsements: Key Questions Answered

Q1: Can Athletes Endorse Non-FDA-Approved Products?

Yes, athletes can endorse non-FDA-approved products, such as dietary supplements and certain health and wellness items, which are not strictly regulated by the FDA. However, they must tread carefully, ensuring these products do not make unfounded health claims or contain harmful substances.

Q2: What Challenges Do Brands Face When Their Products Are Not FDA Approved?

Non-FDA-approved products might face skepticism regarding their safety and efficacy. Brands may encounter hurdles in gaining athlete endorsements, especially from those cautious about their health and reputation.

Q3: How Can Brands Without FDA Approval Attract Athlete Endorsements?

Transparency is key. Brands should provide clear, evidence-based information about their products' safety and benefits. Engaging in third-party testing and obtaining certifications from reputable bodies can also bolster credibility. Using OpenSponsorship, you can find Athletes who are open to taking on such products and endorsing them.

Q4: What Are the Advantages of FDA Approval for Brands Seeking Athlete Partnerships?

FDA approval can significantly enhance a brand's appeal to athletes. It serves as a strong endorsement of the product's safety and effectiveness, making it a more attractive option for high-profile endorsements.

Q5: Are There Specific Considerations Athletes Should Make When Partnering with Non-FDA-Approved Brands?

Athletes should conduct due diligence, ensuring they fully understand the product and its ingredients. They should also consider the brand's reputation and the potential impact on their image and career.

Planning for Successful Partnerships

For Brands:

  • Leverage Transparency: Whether your product is FDA-approved or not, transparency about your product's ingredients, benefits, and any third-party testing or certifications can build trust with athletes and consumers alike.
  • Focus on Quality and Safety: Emphasize your commitment to quality and safety through rigorous internal standards and external validations.
  • Innovate Responsibly: Continue to innovate, but ensure that new products are developed with safety and efficacy in mind, keeping athletes' health and performance at the forefront.

For Athletes:

  • Vet Potential Partnerships: Thoroughly research and understand the products you endorse, especially if they are not FDA-approved, to ensure they align with your values and commitment to health and safety.
  • Seek Expert Advice: Consult with health professionals or trusted advisors when considering endorsements for non-FDA-approved products to make informed decisions.

Building Trust Through Responsible Endorsements

The landscape of athlete endorsements is rich with opportunities but navigating it requires careful consideration, especially when it comes to FDA approval. For brands, achieving FDA approval or demonstrating a strong commitment to safety and transparency can pave the way for fruitful partnerships with athletes. For athletes, endorsing products, whether FDA-approved or not, demands a thorough understanding of the product and a commitment to the health and safety of oneself and one's followers.

At OpenSponsorship, we're dedicated to fostering connections between brands and athletes that are rooted in trust, integrity, and mutual benefit. If you're navigating the complexities of product endorsements, FDA approvals, and athlete partnerships, our team is here to support you. Reach out to us for tailored advice and strategies that align with your brand's goals and values in the ever-evolving world of sports marketing. Connect with our team to learn more!


Jeff is OpenSponsorship's Director of Marketing. He typically writes about sports sponsorship, marketing, and tips & tricks for brands.