Gatorade. It is synonymous with the world of athletics. While mostly known for hydration, the hydration giant has expanded its reach far beyond what happens on the field of play.
From crowning future superstars and MVPs such as LeBron James and Peyton Manning as Gatorade Player of the Year to weaving in athlete interests into their marketing campaigns, the PepsiCo-owned brand leaves no doubt who is on top in the industry. Competitors such as Powerade and BodyArmor produce their own litany of stars. Though it is hard to compete with the robust reach and vested campaign history that Gatorade can produce.
Here are the top-15 athletes with Gatorade endorsement deals, ranked by their personal social media following:
15. Derek Watt | NFL
Instagram Following: 288,000
Twitter Following: 97,000
Facebook Following: N/A
Total Following: 385,000
The Watt brothers teamed up for Gatorade’s 14th annual “Beat the Heat” program, spreading awareness on proper hydration tips and practices. In one of the PSA’s, dad joins in on the fun to share the easy steps to determine if you are properly hydrated.
14. Wilson Contreras | MLB
Instagram Following: 255,000
Twitter Following: 199,000
Facebook Following: N/A
Total Following: 454,000
Contreras kept active during the pandemic break from sports as his workouts were featured on social media within Gatorade’s “At Home Training” series.
13. Mallory Pugh | USWNT/NWSL
Instagram Following: 539,000
Twitter Following: 113,000
Facebook Following: 51,000
Total Following: 703,000
“Through the years, we’ve been lucky enough to work with some of the best soccer players in the world: Mia Hamm, Lionel Messi, Abby Wambach, Christian Pulisic, and now Mallory Pugh,” said Jeff Kearney, Gatorade Global Head of Sports Marketing.”
12. Matt Ryan | NFL
Instagram Following: 373,000
Twitter Following: 317,000
Facebook Following: 184,000
Total Following: 814,000
Matt Ryan has used the sports drink platform to inspire others. In the past, he featured in the brand’s “Secret to Victory” campaign, reflecting on the Falcons’ infamous blown lead in Super Bowl LI and how Ryan has used it to motivate his play moving forward. Recently, he presented the 2019-2020 Gatorade National Football Player of the Year award to Arik Gilbert from nearby Marietta, Georgia.
11. T.J. Watt | NFL
Instagram Following: 807,000
Twitter Following: 343,000
Facebook Following: N/A
Total Following: 1,150,000
As previously mentioned, the Watt brothers joined forces to share proper hydration safety for Gatorade’s “Beat the Heat” program. T.J. is shown the importance of dressing for sweat-cess as he is educated by his older brothers to wear sweat-wicking clothing materials in order to stay safe outside.
10. Todd Gurley | NFL
Instagram Following: 1.8 million
Twitter Following: 731,000
Facebook Following: 121,000
Total Following: 2.6 million
Like his fellow Atlanta Falcons teammate Matt Ryan, Gurley is no stranger to repping the Gatorade brand. He landed his athletic and acting chops in Gatorade’s recent summer advertising in the #ReadyToPlay commercial spots amidst the return of live sports.
9. Bryce Harper | MLB
Instagram Following: 1.7 million
Twitter Following: 1 million
Facebook Following: 402,000
Total Following: 3.1 million
The baseball superstar has had an endorsement deal with the sports drink giant for years. Whether he is surprising younger players or appearing with the aforementioned Gatorade endorsers in recent advertising spots, Harper has immensely expanded Gatorade’s footprint within baseball.
8. Karl-Anthony Towns | NBA
Instagram Following: 2.9 million
Twitter Following: 558,000
Facebook Following: 456,000
Total Following: 3.9 million
Towns is one of many superstars to participate in the “Beat the Heat” educational campaign with his installment taking place outside on the courts of Venice Beach. Following up with the same program a year later, Towns ventured back to Venice Beach to team with fellow NBA Draft counterpart D’Angelo Russell in a game of volleyball.
7. Jayson Tatum | NBA
Instagram Following: 3.4 million
Twitter Following: 633,000
Facebook Following: N/A
Total Following: 4 million
Consider this: the NBA superstar has not spent a dime of his NBA salary. Having carved out multi-year endorsement deals with Jordan Brand and Gatorade amongst others, he is living quite well for a 22-year-old.
Since his rookie season in 2017, the young star has been highlighted in the “You Fuel Us, We Fuel You” campaign. Specifically for the Gx platform, the brand utilizes Tatum to showcase the personalized hydration solutions they’ve scientifically engineered in recent years.
6. Zion Williamson | NBA
Instagram Following: 5.1 million
Twitter Following: 473,000
Facebook Following: 228,000
Total Following: 5.8 million
Recently named to the 2020 NBA All-Rookie Team, Williamson signed big deals with Panini and Gatorade back in 2019 at the age of 19 after being drafted by the New Orleans Pelicans. Since he inked a seven-figure deal with the sports drink giant, Williamson has made performance a top priority as he has worked with the brand to test his sweat type and fluid loss levels.
Recently, he can be seen advertising the new #Bolt24 line. According to Forbes, this may serve as an early intro for him as, like Michael Jordan’s “Be Like Mike,” Williamson would love to add to his persona, welcoming the idea of a “Be Like Zion” campaign down the road.
5. J.J. Watt | NFL
Twitter Following: 5.5 million
Instagram Following: 4 million
Facebook Following: 2 million
Total Following: 11.5 million
It’s no surprise that J.J. Watt leverages his Gatorade endorsement to continue his trend of giving back to the community. The NFL star teamed up with the global brand to spread awareness to the Gatorade Beat the Heat program on multiple occasions. In one instance, he visited his hometown with his father, a retired firefighter, in order to experience the training and exertion that goes into that physically demanding job. In another, hydration wisdom was shared back and forth with a local Houston club girl’s soccer team.
4. Paul George| NBA
Instagram Following: 9 million
Facebook Following: 4 million
Twitter Following: 2.3 million
Total Following: 15.3 million
When he isn’t starring for the Los Angeles Clippers, George is one of four current NBA players who serve as an endorser for Gatorade.
During his endorsement deal, George showcased his star-power by highlighting a new product sub-line. Additionally, George has taken to social media to cross-promote his Nike shoe deal with the ability to customize one’s own Gatorade Gx bottle.
3. Serena Williams | Tennis
Instagram Following: 12.6 million
Twitter Following: 10.8 million
Facebook Following: 6 million
Total Following: 29.4 million
Back in 2017, Williams teamed with Gatorade to spread awareness through social media for the #SistersinSweat campaign. The mission focuses on keeping girls in sports longer throughout adolescence and showcasing the positive impact sport can play in a women’s life. Perhaps the best collaboration with Gatorade has been the “Like a Mother” tribute which chronicles Williams’ return back to the court after becoming a mother.
2. Dwyane Wade | NBA
Instagram Following: 16.9 million
Facebook Following: 11.9 million
Twitter Following: 9.2 million
Total Following: 38 million
In his lone season with the Chicago Bulls during the 2016 NBA season, Wade made it a point to highlight his hometown city and to further give back to the community he loves. The two parties collaborated on a short film “Sounds of Hope” which highlights how basketball helped to fuel Wade as a youth and keep him within a positive outlet and away from negative influences.
1. Lionel Messi | La Liga
Instagram Following: 167 million
Facebook Following: 101 million
Twitter Following: 2.9 million
Total Following: 270.9 million
Arguably the best footballer in the world (if not of all time), the Argentine certainly has had an interesting summer regarding where he will be taking his talents in the near future.
On the marketing side, Messi is doing quite well for himself. He has parlayed his success on the pitch into quite the litany of partnerships off of it. Regarding his Gatorade endorsement, the phenom featured in commercials that showed off his goal-scoring prowess and his legendary status next to fellow GOAT’s, all without breaking a sweat.
The world of hydration and athletic performance will only continue to move forward. As nutrition is perfected, the superstars will shine brighter. More marketing dollars will be allocated to capitalize on the growing trends of the current and future athletes. Because if Gatorade is any indication, the stars of tomorrow are already here today.