Helping brands to partner with athletes in their influencer marketing and sponsorship marketing campaigns

Top Athlete Social Media Campaigns

Sep 12, 2022 9:15:00 AM / by Adam Burrows posted in influencer marketing, sponsoring athletes, athlete endorsement, Social Media Marketing


The growth of social media in the Sports world

The growth of social media in the sports world has expanded in numerous directions. With the growth of TikTok, Instagram, You Tube, and Snapchat, more creative ways are coming out to grow athletes' presence online. 

The statistics below indicate that video recorded or pictured content on social media apps gained more followers from younger audiences. Athletes are developing creative strategies to stay close with fans through video content. The spark in the number of brands partnering with athletes for social media campaigns has increased. Brands are finding more ways to get creative and form a closer reach with audiences. 

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More marketing campaigns with athletes are being tailored for social media purposes. Focusing on Instagram Reels and TikToks has seen a huge share when it comes to content creation as it reaches a higher engagement rate. Social media platforms like TikTok have seen a successful spike in growth because of how users are better able to engage with content creators. Fast sharing content has become the new popular way of consuming modern media.

Check Out Brands Who Have Worked with Athletes On Various Social Media Campaigns:



  • NBA player James Harden recently partnered with Adidas on a TikTok video promoting the new Harden Vol. 3 basketball shoes. In the video, which has amassed over 2.4 million views, Harden repeatedly asks people if they want his new shoes before giving them a pair.
  • Giannis Antetokounmpo, a basketball player for the Milwaukee Bucks, recently partnered with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) to create a series of TikTok videos. In one video, Antetokounmpo drives a Fiat 124 Spider around Milwaukee and talks about his love for the city.

The Growth of Social Media in the Sports WorldThe Growth of Social Media in the Sports World


  • In May 2019, American footballer Antonio Brown posted a video on his YouTube channel of him dancing in a Puma sweatsuit. The video was titled "Antonio Brown x Puma Dance Video" and included the caption, "Had fun dancing in my new @puma sweatsuit! Can't wait to wear it on the field this year!" The video received over 2 million views.
  • Adidas also uses an athlete, Lionel Messi, to promote their products. In one YouTube advert, Messi discusses how he started playing football at a very young age, and how Adidas has been with him every step of the way.

Top Athlete Social Media Campaignsunnamed (14)


  • With over 9 million followers on Instagram, Floyd Mayweather Jr. is one of the most popular boxers on the site. His account is full of pictures and videos of his training and matches, as well as sponsored posts for various brands.
  • TaylorMade, a golf equipment company, recently partnered with Rory McIlroy to promote their products on Instagram. They posted a series of photos and videos of Rory using their products. The posts received thousands of likes and comments from fans.

The Growth of Social Media in the Sports WorldThe Growth of Social Media in the Sports World

Final Thoughts

If you're interested in using athletes to grow your brand awareness, join OpenSponsorship today! We have a growing database of athletes who are eager to connect with new sponsors.

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The Power of Female Athletes on Social Media

Jul 8, 2021 3:21:54 PM / by Tracey Wilson posted in Influencer, influencer marketing, instagram, marketing ideas, Marketing Recommendations, open sponsorship, Social Insights, social media, sports, sports marketing, twitter, athlete, athlete endorsement, athlete influencer, athlete marketing, athletes, endorsements, fan engagement, trends, Tik Tok, youtube, TikTok, soccer, fitness influencers, Social Media Marketing


Social media has become an integral part of a professional athlete's career and female athletes seem to possess some of the larger followings, giving them strong influence. Not only can this help the individual athlete but it can be a powerful tool in highlighting women's sport, bringing more interest and additional coverage.  Female athletes can also evoke change in other ways by being an influencer, such as by using their own personal stories to inspire others. “The stakeholders on the commercial side of sports are constantly searching for the next frontier, the next growth play,” Dan Cohen, who leads sports marketing company Octagon’s media rights consulting division, said in an email. “It is clearly women’s sports.”

It has been reported that women's sport does not receive as much coverage and investment even though it has more room for growth than men's sport. In 2018 studies showed that only 0.4% of the total commercial investment (in sport) goes into women’s sport, despite a Nielsen report revealing that 84% of general sports fans have an interest in women’s sports. 51% of those surveyed were male, which means utilizing female athletes as a way to reach fans can be greatly beneficial. Deloitte projected that the rise of women’s sports in 2020 would dominate the sports industry and that “sponsors should consider getting involved now to capitalize on the new opportunities and avenues for engagement that this growth area may create.” The influence of social media has also grown since the Nielsen survey was taken, especially since digital activity has been vital to the survival of many industries and how many athletes and leagues interacted with their fans throughout the pandemic. Deloitte's survey found that millennials are 40 percent more likely than baby boomers to use social media to obtain information about their favorite teams and players. This behavioral trend emphasizes the importance of the digital connection athletes have with their fans and the power it wields. 

The pandemic was hard on the sport industry but women's sport continues to have strong growth and investment potential. NWGL's Packer said, "the amount of money that it takes for a company to meaningfully support a women’s league is so vastly different than what it takes to have the smallest piece of attachment for a men’s league.” A good example of this potential for growth is women's soccer in the U.S., which has seen an increase in interest that has translated into an increase in stadium attendance. In 2020 the NWSL was poised to have a record-breaking year after signing new broadcast deals, which resulted in a 22% increase in game attendance, according to Soccer Stadium Digest. In addition to this the women's NCAA tournament continues to prove that it can bring in viewers as it could fetch as much as $20 million a year as a stand-alone event on the open market. Now that things are getting back to normal women's sport will need to keep up the momentum.

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Top Vegan Athletes on OpenSponsorship

Jun 28, 2021 11:51:05 AM / by Tracey Wilson posted in Influencer, influencers, NFL Athletes, open sponsorship, OpenSponsorship, sports, sports marketing, sports sponsorships, athlete, athlete influencer, athlete marketing, athletes, Fitness, fitness influencers, Social Media Marketing, sustainability, vegan, healthy lifestyle


Every athlete has a diet that works for them, but being healthy and fueling their body is key to their success. There has been a growing number of athletes who have moved to a more vegetarian or vegan lifestyle. Many of the athletes who have made the diet and lifestyle change now swear by it. This is not an easy change as professional athletes need to work with nutritionists to ensure they have the proper balance in their diet that would enable them to maintain their physique and to maintain a high level of performance for their sport. In fact a study published in 2015 in the American Journal of Health Promotion found that a plant-based diet can boost physical health and emotional well-being. As the lifestyle change has brought positives to many of the athlete's lives they often share recipes etc. with their fans and teammates.

“My clients see so many benefits to eating a plant-based diet that postseason, they don’t go back to eating as an omnivore or a carnivore,” Barbara Lewin, RDN, CSSD, LDN, a sports nutritionist who works with professional athletes noted.

Here are some of the top vegan athletes on OpenSponsorship.

Julia Hubbard


Julia Hubbard has had a varied but successful athletic career, having competed as a Great Britain Bobsleigh athlete and Sprinter, bodybuilder, and Natural Pro with several federations. Hubbard has won three Natural World titles, three Natural universe titles, three Natural Olympia titles, and multiple British and Regional titles. Hubbard was a vegetarian for much of her life but went full vegan after a sever back injury from a bobsleigh crash, after which she has been quoted as saying,  “I had thought about going vegan many times but always thought it would be too difficult as an athlete and with traveling a lot. The turning point was my health. Now I wish I’d made the switch sooner!” In addition to her athletic achievements she has qualified as a Vegan Nutritionist, having a Degree in Physiology and Sports Science, Nutrition diploma and Personal Training qualifications.

Hunter Reese

Hunter Reese is an American tennis player and current ATP tour competitor who won the NCAA doubles championship and was ranked #1 in the NCAA doubles. He also competed in the 2014 US Open alongside partner Peter Kobelt after receiving a wildcard into the men's doubles draw. Reese has had some hurdles in his college career so it was not until 2019 that Reese became vegan, but has already begun to see some benefits, "I noticed a difference in my energy level and am more conscious of things I am putting into my body since becoming vegan. I was never a morning person and now I can wake up much easier. So I would say there has been an indirect benefit to my performance."

TJ Barnes

TJ Barnes has been a successful defensive tackle who has played in the NFL for the New York Jets, Buffalo Bills, Kansas City Chiefs, and the XFL New York Guardians. In 2018 he missed an opportunity to join the WWE because of his weight and poor eating habits, which is why he decided to go vegan saying, "I told myself I needed to change the way I eat because at the route I was going it was going to put me in an early grave. So I went Vegan!" He has since been able to loose weight, getting healthy, and he continues to look to the future.

Agnes Muljadi

Agnes Muljadi is a ballerina, actress, filmmaker and vegan influencer. Muljadi classically trained at Julia Bourlina Classical Ballet in Studio City, California, and has co-produced two independent films. She first began the vegan lifestyle in 2014 for health reasons, and has found that it has had additional benefits, "I tell everyone that the vegan life-style has greatly benefited me as an athlete. I’ve always said that I felt like I was given a new body after I became vegan. My stamina, endurance and energy levels have really improved. I also happily lost some weight after I transitioned to veganism." Her social influencer status has been bolstered by her dance photos and sustainable/vegan lifestyle content, which continue to bring in new and exciting dance opportunities.

Leger Douzable

Leger Douzable has had the opportunity to play for several teams within the NFL, including the New York Giants, Jacksonville Jaguars, New York Jets, Buffalo Bills, and San Francisco 49ers. Douzable is such a fan of the plant based diet that he shares his favorite recipes with his fans, such as his Vegan Strawberry Cream Cheese Stuffed French Toast.

Martina Leal


Martina Leal, originally from Brazil, is a martial artist and fitness coach, who has also been a positive promoter of the vegan lifestyle through her social media accounts. In addition to working with her clients she enjoys training in Jiu Jitsu and running. She loves to cook her vegan recipes and understands the importance of keeping the body moving. Martina has bachelors of physical education with specialization in ginastica natural.

Josh Powell

Josh Powell is now part of the Big3, but he has a had a long and successful career within the NBA, having played for the Dallas Mavericks, Golden State Warriors, and LA Lakers. Powell is also a two time NBA Champion, FIBA Intercontinental Cup Champion, EuroLeague Champion, and WBA Champion. Powell has gained a real appreciation for healthy living, which is why he has been following a plant based vegan diet for about three years now.

Evan Engram

Evan Engram played for Ole Miss through college, and drafted into the NFL in 2017 where he has played for the New York Giants. Engram has also been been part of the PFWA All-Rookie Team and participated in the 2020 Pro Bowl. Since shifting to a plant based diet Engram has been able to continue to eat the large portions needed to fuel his body and continues to perform at a top level, which is why he sees it as, “a little investment but I think it’s pretty worth it."

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Influencer Marketing in Sport

Jun 3, 2021 10:19:46 AM / by Tracey Wilson posted in Influencer, influencer marketing, influencers, marketing, marketing strategy, open sponsorship, Russel Westbrook, social media, sports, sports marketing, athlete, athlete influencer, athletes, athletes on social media, Fashion, Fitness, Social Media Marketing


The sports industry and its athletes have expanded their reach to the point of becoming influencers of fashion, lifestyle, fitness, and much more. Athletes can be a great resource to a brand and campaign in their ability to reach and connect with their fans and followers in a way that is hard to rival. In fact, the sports industry and market has been continuously growing, especially in this past decade, and is expected to grow by an additional 6%, reaching nearly $1,809.8 billion by 2022. The industry has grown in a way that has highlighted specific athletes and even enabled them to become household names as fashion and lifestyle icons. Much of this has been achieved through social media where athletes showcase more aspects of their lives and directly connect with their fans. Instagram drove more than $430M in Maximum Ad Value (MAV) during the first 9 months of 2019 with a 68% total value driven by sport properties and influencers.  Sports fans are a passionate consumer group who follow their favorite teams and athletes on various platforms where they see all the brands their favorite athletes associate with on and off the field. This is particularly true for youth because 32% of 13-36-year-olds, and 39% of 13-36-year-old males, follow athletes on social networks.

Athletes as Lifestyle Influencers

The health and wellness lifestyle movement has been on an upward trajectory for the past few years and athletes are in an ideal position to be influencers of this trend. This is because athletes are natural inspirations for exercise and fitness through their sport and daily lifestyles, which can be showcased through their personal social media accounts. This is why many look to their favorite athletes for inspiration and guidance towards a fit and healthy lifestyle.

The pandemic has contributed to this through the exponential growth of the at-home fitness industry. Through all the new developments and expansions brands and fitness influencers have done through the pandemic and quarantine has widened the scope of how the general public can get fit. A big part of this has come from fitness influencers and professional athletes who have shared their at-home workout routines and nutrition plans with their followers. Various sports teams and athletes have even participated or invited fans to join zoom workout sessions with them or to join them in a fitness challenge. This has enabled fans to become connected to their favorite athletes and sports in new ways.

This example of  Ashlyn Harris and Ali Kreiger doing a Zoom workout makes them more relatable and further connects them with their fans. This is because fans now have even more easy access to their favorite athletes, coupled with the boom in the use of digital communications, they actually have additional opportunities to interact with these athletes as well. So not only are professional athletes able to inspire aspirational athletes but to connect and inspire the average person as well.

Athletes as Fashion Icons

Athletes have a long history of collaborating with clothing brands, but they have gone beyond sportswear to become true fashion icons, even using their walk down stadium tunnels as their own personal runways. The rise of street style and athleisure has also been a contributing factor to the success of fashion influencers like that seen in the NBA. This influence is especially noticeable with younger audiences who are heavier social media users. These consumers develop deeper emotional and personal connections with athletes due to their affinity for the sport which also amplifies the connection they have with the style and brands the athletes promote.

Russel Westbrook is a great example of an active athlete who has become a fashion icon. He not only showcases his style en route to games and on social media, but he has also become a regular of fashion week and collaborator with apparel brands. He has become an influencer in more than one area, making him a more well-known name with a wider audience.

Since 2009 menswear has outpaced women's in sales growth and a recent report from Rakuten found that men are also engaging with fashion influencers at an increasing rate. Of the 3,500 surveyed consumers, most of whom were American, 65% of men said they interact with a style influencer every day.“ Men do not follow ‘style influencers’ in the traditional way women do, which is precisely why the NBA has been so successful,” Krista Corrigan, retail analyst at Edited, said. “The players have alternative mediums for reaching male consumers, and exposure is not always intentional. In particular, players entering the arena has become a regular aspect of game coverage. It’s one that is broadcasted across sports networks, news articles and team Instagram accounts. The player persona has evolved, and athletes are looked up to for more than just their abilities on the court.”



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Retargeting customers using athletes influencers with whitelisting UGC

Sep 15, 2020 9:57:38 PM / by Ishveen Jolly posted in marketing opportunities, social media, Social Media Marketing, whitelisting, UGC, boosting


Repurposing the content that comes from the athlete influencer deal is really important. We have written a lot on the topic of how to get the maximum ROI from athlete influencer campaigns by whitelisting the athlete social platform to boost ads, adding the athlete content to an email marketing campaign to increase click through rates, or adding the content to areas of your website to reduce bounce rates. 

Here is a chart from Shopify showing that 80% of female US digital shoppers have had second thoughts about buying something they added to their shopping cart impulsively. This % remains fairly consistent across all genders and age ranges, showing that all ecommerce stores need to be working hard to retarget their potential customers in ways to get them to make the leap of faith and purchase the product! 

Abandon Cart-Shopify Presentation

Retargeting these customers via Facebook using the athlete's Facebook and Instagram channel and showing a great UGC from the athlete showing why the product is great is just what is needed. We have proven to deliver 8x ROAS using this strategy. And of course it makes sense - when a potential customer leaves your site, it helps to see more ads from you (of course you are going to say your products are great), it helps even more to show ads from other people saying you are great.  

We have tested this across micro and macro athlete influencers and have found that the strategy works just as well with well known athlete superstars, as well as micro athlete influencers who might not be very recognizable but produce great content. In fact we often recommend this strategy of starting with a few micro / medium athlete influencers for around $500 - $1K per athlete. Just make sure you select athlete influencers who are authentically interested in your brand and will make great content. Then use them in a whitelisting retargeting campaign so you can compare and contrast what works. You can do this for as little as around $10K - see more in this whitelisting proposal deck. 

Belen Mozo sponsored

We are really excited about the ability to get brand awareness uplift from athletes, as well as use their content to drive sales by retargeting your website customers who didn't make it to purchase. Drop us an email to learn more or sign up for a free account today at



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Using Content Marketing Strategies to Restart Your Season

Jun 26, 2020 3:33:38 PM / by Pemba C. Sherpa posted in athlete marketing, Content Marketing, Brand Marketing, Social Media Marketing


Sports are back! Well, at least a few are. As some states in America gradually start to re-open, we have started to see a gradual increase in activity from the sports world as well. The NLF and the NBA have given permission to a select number of teams to open up practice facilities for voluntary workouts. The MLB is looking into hashing out the details of a proposal which looks to open up their season in July. What does this all mean for the rest of the sports world? It’s a sign of hope with a whole lot of red tape.


Although the seats won’t be filled in the stadiums for another few months, the games will go on. With the negation of electronic billboards, and other physical ad space going largely unnoticed due to the absence of attendees. There is still a plethora of digital content that can be capitalized on for marketing purposes. Aside from the television rights, and commercials, there are brands who have taken notice of other forms of marketing. 


NBA jersey patch

A perfect example of this can be seen from the recently adapted patch sponsorships on players’ uniforms in the NBA and WNBA. When both the NBA and WNBA searched for new revenue opportunities, the jersey patch program came into mind. The program has reportedly generated more than $150 million in revenue for both the teams and league. In the NBA,  20 teams have stepped into the patch sponsorship program. NBA teams, the league and the brands involved expressed the program to have been an overwhelming success, with exposure numbers easily exceeding projections.


Now what if your brand doesn’t have the budget to become an NBA team sponsor? This is where content marketing comes into play. Content marketing has always been a great way for brands to identify themselves. A way to both introduce their image and stay present on the minds of consumers. There have been countless examples of brands executing content marketing strategies in the most authentic way possible. Here an example of how one brand successfully executed their content marketing strategy.


Neptune Ice_Todd


Brands have taken advantage of the digital marketing age, where content can be selected, curated, utilized, and even repurposed. Brands such as Neptune Ice have capitalized on this trend by directly partnering with professional athletes for their marketing campaigns. Neptune Ice used Opensponsorship to find the perfect ambassador for their brand. The end result was a partnership with NFL Atlanta Falcons’ running back Todd Gurley (shown using product above). With this partnership, Neptune Ice was able to acquire vast amounts of organic content that they ultimately repurposed for their social media marketing campaigns, landing page, and even offline marketing campaigns.


When it comes to content marketing, Opensponsorship has successfully helped hundreds of brands from Anheuser-Busch’s Bon & Viv Seltzer to Popeye’s to Vitamin Shoppe’s Isopure. Opensponsorship is an online platform which enables brands to utilize influencer marketing campaigns in a seamless and efficient way. Opensponsorship allows brands to work with a range of influencers, and as of this year Opensponsorship has reported having over 6,000 influencers on their platform. Athletes help to drive sales, brand awareness, PR and engage new & existing customers.  Whether you are looking to drive sales to your own website, a partner website's such as Amazon or a retail store such as Target, athletes can be key to a successful marketing campaign. 


Opensponsorship makes it easy for brands of all sizes to run their own content marketing campaigns. With more than 6,000 influencers and athletes on the platform, brands have the opportunity to specify every last detail of their marketing campaigns. Let's create great content that speaks to your brand for your next marketing campaign!

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