Sponsors and advertisers are extending their budgets to access the social media influence of athletes, teams, and leagues at a greater volume than ever before.

 

In 2016, more than two thousand professional athletes shared more than five thousand sponsored posts on Twitter. 133 professional teams shared 750 sponsored posts, while five leagues shared just 63 sponsored posts.

 

So, why are millions of sponsorship dollars being shifted toward athletes on social media?

 

Social and digital media have changed the way that fans follow their favorite sports. Traditional content delivery methods are becoming less effective, sending sponsors scrambling to find the most effective way to engage today’s digital sports fan.

 

This is where athletes come in. With social media, athletes can go over-the-top to give fans exactly what they want: bite-sized, authentic content from multiple sources in real-time.

 

For this reason, today’s athletes have more than 6.5 BILLION social media followers, twice the influence of leagues and teams combined. The average engagement rate for athletes is more than ten times that of teams and 50 times higher than leagues.

 

Distributing content through athletes has become a highly effective method to engage today’s digital sports fan. As the report details below, sponsors are clearly taking notice.