Top Athlete Endorsements and Sponsorships in the Financial Sector

It’s no secret that the financial industry is a consistent source for athletes to bolster their endorsement earnings. Every brand, whether it be a bank, insurance company, or payment provider, appear to align their values with the next big-time superstar that fits the mold.

The athletes on this list have seen their net worth and career earnings take a huge rise thanks to these strategic partnerships. Many of these big names are featured within Forbes’ annual list of World’s Highest Paid Athletes. Top players within the MLB, NFL, NBA, and sports organizations around the world have made an impact for their partners and themselves by aligning with the reach and brand recognition that financial brands can provide.

Here are the top financial-industry-endorsed athletes in terms of social following:

VISA

Total Athlete Following: 11+ million

Katie Ledecky | Olympic Athlete:

Instagram Following: 404,000

Facebook Following: 225,000

Twitter Following: 162,000

Total Following: 791,000

The 2017 Associated Press Female Athlete of the Year was named to the Team VISA Tokyo 2020 roster in late 2019. And given the effects of COVID-19, she further showcased the brand in a humorous ‘Isolate like an Olympian‘ post.

Zach Ertz | NFL

Instagram Following: 736,000

Twitter Following: 498,000

Facebook Following: 139,000

Total Following: 1.3 million

Zach and Julie Ertz: name a more accomplished athlete couple. Both are world champions in their respective sport, an accomplishment that is fueled by their next-level competitiveness. That fire translates over to the commercial realm in the pairs’ VISA spot

As a proud sponsor of the NFL and partner of the USWNT, VISA brilliantly showcased the unity between the two (as well as the Chase VISA contactless card) and the gamesmanship that they employ within their daily lives.

Julie Ertz | NWSL & USWNT

Instagram Following: 1 million

Twitter Following: 348,000

Facebook Following: 196,000

Total Following: 1.5 million

Speaking of competitiveness, the drive that the Ertz’s possess isn’t contained to the field or even within a VISA commercial. It also holds true in the realm of social media with Julie edging out Zach in both the social following department and the number of views for the aforementioned VISA commercial. In fact, Julie garnered a whopping 1.7+ million views from her upload on Twitter.

Christian McCaffrey | NFL

Instagram Following: 1.4 million

Twitter Following: 285,000

Facebook Following: 87,000

Total Following: 1.7 million

The other-worldly football star has secured strategic endorsement deals from the likes of Old Spice, NERF, and Lowes. In his sponsorship with VISA, McCaffrey serves as a brand ambassador, repping the brand on the game’s biggest stage.

Saquon Barkley | NFL

Instagram Following: 2.2 million

Twitter Following: 421,000

Facebook Following: N/A

Total Following: 2.6 million

Barkley has held a sponsorship deal with VISA since he was first drafted into the league. Even as a #2 overall pick, the superstar was not immune to a little rookie razzing. As his career progressed, he has taken an even more consistent role with the brand. He has highlighted VISA’s tap to pay function on his social media.

Lamar Jackson | NFL

Instagram Following: 2.7 million

Twitter Following: 767,000

Facebook Following: N/A

Total Following: 3.4 million

Jackson, along with fellow NFL players, was featured in VISA’s tap to pay campaign that activated during Super Bowl LIV.

State Farm

Total Athlete Following: 35+ million

Patrick Mahomes | NFL

Instagram Following: 3.9 million

Twitter Following: 1.5 million

Facebook Following: 702,000

Total Following: 6.1 million

Patrick Mahomes is having a better 2020 than the rest of us. Super Bowl MVP. Part-owner of the Kansas City Royals. Engaged with a baby on the way. What a life.

On top of all that, the superstar (who also can claim adidas and Head & Shoulders as partners amongst others) is also known for his work with State Farm. Having joined the State Farm family last year, Mahomes has fit right in. Alongside Aaron Rodgers, he has showcased his personality in the famous TV spots including his love for ketchup as well as earning his “earning” his own Patrick Price.

Aaron Rodgers | NFL

Twitter Following: 4.3 million

Instagram Following: 1.4 million

Facebook Following: 1.2 million

Total Following: 6.9 million

Rodgers’ commercials with State Farm are some of the most memorable spots, not only regarding athletes, but commercials in general. His ads have been downright iconic. 

Everything from the Discount Double Check (RODGAAASSS!!!) to “Hanz & Franz” has spanned #12’s career for the better part of the past decade. Heck, he even clapped back at one of his lineman on Twitter for suggesting to appear in a rival insurance company commercial.

He has even spawned his own bloopers and memes from his current work which now involves the Rodgers Ratejealous agents, and working alongside Patrick Mahomes.

Chris Paul | NBA

Twitter Following: 9.9 million

Instagram Following: 8.1 million

Facebook Following: 4.6 million

Total Following: 22.6 million

The newest member of the Phoenix Suns has long been an advertising icon with State Farm. Whether he is playing himself or his “twin brother” Cliff Paul, the point guard has always been known to assist. 

In his most recent TV spots though, he can’t seem to catch a break. Tormented by “the new Chris Paul”, Number 3 has seen his workout room destroyedparking spot taken, and his signature floater horribly impersonated. Fortunately, the real deal Paul knows that State Farm is there for him.

Nationwide

Total Athlete Following: 6+ million

Dale Earnhardt Jr. | NASCAR

Facebook Following: 2.9 million

Twitter Following: 2.5 million

Instagram Following: 853,000

Total Following: 6.2 million

Earnhardt Jr. drove the #88 Nationwide car for three years beginning in 2015 though he began his multi-year deal with the brand in 2009. And with that kind of moving highlight-reel advertisement in action, the insurance company has worked in tandem with the driver in a different way: assisting him in his efforts to support Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio.

Qatar National Bank

Total Athlete Following: 253+ million

Dale Earnhardt Jr. | NASCAR

Instagram Following: 143 million

Facebook Following: 59.8 million

Twitter Following: 50.6 million

Total Following: 253.4 million

As they say, the rich get richer. In this case, Qatar National Bank (QNB) is the rich having further boosted its $4.2 billion brand valuation by signing one of the world’s most recognized athletes both on the pitch and on social media.

As the Global Brand Ambassador for QNB, the bank works with Neymar in marketing and other promotional materials. Such was the case in a recent spot they did earlier this year. It’s no secret that the sensational footballer can capture a global audience as his IG photo capturing the sponsorship deal has racked up nearly 1 million likes.

Chase Bank

Total Athlete Following: 86+ million

Serena Williams | WTA

Twitter Following: 12.7 million

Instagram Following: 10.8 million

Facebook Following: 6.1 million

Total Following: 29.6 million

Williams has been extremely active and involved with the Chase brand, focusing on key social issues she aims to help rectify.

For starters, Chase and UNINTERRUPTED partnered together on the “Kneeding Dough” series which hosts intimate and honest conversations with professional athletes about the importance of navigating their career pathways. In her sitdown, the tennis player tackles key issues within eliminating the gender pay gap. She has also sat down in long-form interviews with the company discussing her role as an entrepreneur and how being a mom has impacted her perspective on financial well-being.

Within the social media realm, the Grand Slam winner hosted a series of Chase Chats Webcasts from her home in Los Angeles during the coronavirus pandemic where she discussed planning for the unexpected. She also shouted-out the brand for the Chase Sound Check virtual concert to kick off the US Open.

Stephen Curry | NBA

Instagram Following: 31.7 million

Twitter Following: 14.7 million

Facebook Following: 10.4 million

Total Following: 56.8 million

The NBA Champion is one of the most marketable players of his generation and all-time. Having secured endorsement deals with the likes of Under Armour and Rakuten, Stephen Curry has been a perfect fit for Chase as the company receives easy integration to the All-Star with the Golden State Warriors playing their games inside the new Chase Center. Even when he was quarantined in California during the COVID-19 pandemic, Curry has teamed up with Serena Williams and Kevin Hart to give the 2020 graduation class a ceremony to remember. The trio hopped on Chase’s social media handles to help produce a virtual graduation walk to remember.

Mastercard

Total Athlete Following: 7+ million

Justin Rose | PGA TOUR

Twitter Following: 918,000

Instagram Following: 697,000

Facebook Following: N/A

Total Following: 1.5 million

Rose has been an active Mastercard Ambassador for the brand. Earlier this year, he joined fellow golfer Graeme McDowell in the Mastercard Challenge earlier this year. The best activation of the sponsorship is location, location, location. Rose consistently reps the brand as he has the Mastercard logo strategically placed on his collar which is (*chefs kiss) perfect for any and all social media captures he’s in.

Ian Poulter | PGA TOUR

Twitter Following: 2.2 million

Instagram Following: 493,000

Facebook Following: 177,000

Total Following: 2.8 million

Like his fellow Mastercard Ambassador Justin Rose, Poulter has pivoted his activation strategy with the brand due to the coronavirus. One of the earliest acts was providing virtual putting lessons for his fans. But it wasn’t all about the short game: Poulter showed off his mid-range prowess with a spooky surprise for fans on his social media. This year was not Poulter’s first venture with the brand as he has initiated “Priceless Surprises” in years past.

Naomi Osaka | WTA

Instagram Following: 1.8 million

Twitter Following: 816,000

Facebook Following: 505,000

Total Following: 3.1 million

The 2020 US Open champion has already secured lucrative endorsement deals with Nike and BODYARMOR. And since 2019Mastercard has utilized the marketing services of the 23-year old. The former #1 ranked player has leaned into her multicultural upbringing within her sponsorship with the brand. Cooking is a big thing on the endorsement deal menu as she has shared her mother’s lamb stew recipe and indulged in a cooking lesson

After her championship win in New York, her platform has never been more powerful. She teamed with the brand to help drive social change, sparking an important conversation with the great Billie Jean King.

Farmer’s Insurance

Total Athlete Following: 4+ million

Rickie Fowler | PGA TOUR

Instagram Following: 1.8 million

Twitter Following: 1.6 million

Facebook Following: 287,000

Total Following: 3.6 million

The ever-creative golfing personality has solidified endorsement deals with Mercedes-Benz, Puma, Rocket Mortgage, and Corona amongst others. With Farmers Insurance, Rickie has had fun within his sponsorship deal. Whether he is giving advice to his former self, allowing for self-deprecation within a blooper reel, starring in the classic Farmers’ commercials, giving his guide to getting in shape, or pranking fellow golfers as an undercover caddie, Fowler has no problem tapping into his comedic roots. And yet, he can also show his genuine appreciation through the brand as he took the time to thank the fans and congratulated fellow golfers.

The combined social following for this list of professional athlete endorsers is a whopping 403+ million. Even during the COVID-19 pandemic, this social following, and the impact that these athletes can have, will only stand to grow as the power of genuine authenticity and cause-market continues to persist.


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