Partner with Women Athletes and Reap the Rewards
Brand partnerships can be life changing and entering them with women athletes is a win-win.
As a sports agent and attorney who regularly presents and negotiates partnerships with brands on the behalf of my clients, I’m often asked, “how do you see this partnership benefiting our brand?”
The answer that follows usually involves a detailed analysis of metrics and a thorough breakdown of my client’s career experiences, personal values, and an explanation of how those experiences and values align with the company’s brand. In a recent discussion with an agent colleague, the topic of women in sports came up. When asked how I’d begin my pitch to a specific brand if asked to explain the benefits partnering with a female athlete, I explained to my colleague that, instead of initially emphasizing my client’s metrics and values, I would immediately point out that,
“Brands that chose to invest in women athletes this year are reaping the engagement rewards.”
My statement may come as a shock to those who have not been keeping up with the historical shift, but the numbers don’t lie:
A recently published SponsorUnited report revealed that college women athletes, for instance, generate 4x more total audience engagement and 7x more engagement per deal than their male counterparts. This is even despite having fewer than half as many partnerships as their male counterparts.
One of the best examples of the impact that partnering with women athletes can have on brands is that of the 13 brands that partnered with National Women’s Soccer League star, Alex Morgan. This year, Morgan’s 13 activated brand partnerships saw 2.5 million engagements, averaging 55,000 engagements per post.
Engagement across women’s leagues have reached unprecedented numbers and is continuing to climb. This past season, the WNBA saw historical numbers in fan and social media engagement, reaching 186 million video views. Partnering with women athletes gives brands an opportunity to be a part of the historical shift happening in women sports and athlete engagement. Morgan saw her social media following and fan base increase to 20M after the activation of her brand partnerships this year. SponsorUnited reported that the increase in Morgan’s social media following was more than all major league teams combined. Morgan’s brand partnerships significantly increased her fan base which, in turn, increases her monetization opportunities. Brands have the opportunity to help women in sports inch the wealth gap a bit closer each time they partner with women.
Brands also have the unique opportunity to build brand engagement by partnering with college women athletes. Since the NCAA’s passing of the interim guidance on NIL, many local and global brands have built partnerships with women college athletes at record numbers. Seeing these partnerships take place gives me hope. When I competed as a cross-country athlete in college, I was dead broke. The reality was that after graduation, I’d accept the first job offered because I desperately needed the money. Had I been afforded the opportunity to monetize and grow my brand as an NCAA Arthur Ashe Sports Scholar Athlete, I might have had the confidence, experience, and savings needed to explore other entrepreneurial opportunities post-graduation. Brand partnerships can be life changing and entering them with women athletes is a win-win.