What Type of Athlete Gets the Most Sponsorship?
Sports sponsorship is a million dollar business. Fans across the globe watch, support and cheer for countless athletes. So, for sportswear brands, getting their kit onto the person you’re routing for is a huge advertising opportunity. New research from Golf Travel Centre looked at the four biggest sports brands and the types of sports that athletes actually gain the most sponsorship from.
- Football (soccer) makes up a whopping 60% of the top four brands’ deals. Given that half the world’s population are estimated to be football fans, it’s unsurprising footballers dominate the sponsorship deals.
- Under Armour boasts the most diverse range of sponsored athletes with a focus on North American sports.
- Golf makes up just 3.5% of the athletes sponsored by the top four brands.
Of course, a substantial portion of Nike’s sponsorship pot goes to the NFL, where their sponsorship deal of the entire league was just renewed to take them to 2028. When you look at sporting individuals, basketball players make up 45% of Nike’s total while Crossfit now makes up just over 3% of Nike’s sponsorship deals. The quick growth of this new way to train and compete demonstrates the impact of new fitness trends, aided by social media and Instagrammers, on who gets sponsored.
The Adidas roster is dominated by footballers, who make up 65% of their total individually sponsored athletes.
Under Armour’s list of athletes is the most diverse of the four brands profiled. From football and baseball, to hunting and ice hockey, the brand’s focus appears to be on North American sports.
While football dominates at 67%, the remaining sports are a real mix. A sizeable chunk of 15% goes to athletics, 1.1% to Gaelic games and 0.2% to fencing.
Overall the big team sports of football and basketball take the lead. With the most amount of fans watching and a large number of players in each game, the value of sponsorships for brands here is understandably high. Yet, despite an estimated global following of 450 million people, golf only makes up 3.5% of the four brands’ individual deals.