“The influence of those athletes-turned-influencers contributes to the overall growth of the sports marketing industry, whose North American revenue from sponsorship and merchandising is set to rise 11% from last year to more than $35 billion by 2022” – PwC Forecast
American clothing company Levi Strauss & Co has expressed interest in involving itself in the sports market for quite some time now. Starting in 2013 when the brand purchased the naming rights to San Francisco 49er’s stadium, they continue to pursue the sports world. The 166 year old company has continued its sports marketing methods and is turning to athletes who now play the role as influencers.
Levi’s head of sports marketing, Mark Foxton, said athletes today have other interests than just playing on the field or court. With social media playing such a integral role in society, it comes as no surprise that athletes want to leave their marks on the fashion, music, and arts scenes as well. Foxton expressed how there a numerous people who reach out asking to help design a pair of jeans.
Just last year, Levi’s sponsored “The Drop-Up”, an event that was created by B/R Kicks (a lifestyle sports media site created by Bleacher Report). The affair was a combination of athletes, musicians, influencers, and fans. The Drop Up was just one of Levi’s tools in its goal to find a ‘center of culture’- a time when sports can drive a successful audience.
Now that athletes have a spotlight placed on them both on and off the field, fans have the option to engage with their favorite icons. Social media has given athletes chance to involve themselves in the influencer business. With athletes having such large followings, it makes way for partnership opportunites and endorsement deals. Whether it be food, clothing, or technological we now see athletes running many different kinds of social campaigns.
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