Athletes have the chance to build their own digital sports brand

01 September 2016 / editorial

An athlete is not just an athlete anymore. Besides his skills on the pitch a player is also an important marketing tool for his club. He’s a brand ambassador and represents his colours offline and online. As the clubs and federations can multiply their social media reach by involving their athletes, their players are a crucial part of a club’s online PR and communication strategy. As football is the most popular type of sport in Europe by far, football players are particularly in the spotlight of their fans and media. In times of social media almost every athlete is using Facebook, Instagram & Co. for his own social media marketing.   


Let’s have a closer look on Paul Pogba, the world’s most expensive football player. The French superstar was traded from Juventus Turin to Machester United recently after failing in the UEFA Eurocup final with the L’Equipe tricolore. The social media analytics of his channels show a significant change over the last year. The developement of his Facebook account allows us to draw conclusions regarding the relationship between sporting success and the number of followers. After a great season for Juventus Turin ending in the national championship, Paul Pogba was the ray of hope for the French national team for the UEFA Eurocup 2016. RESULT Sports analyzed a huge growth of the number of his followers between January 23rd and July 23rd 2016. In this period Pogba raised his followers from 844.000 to 4.600.000, which means a percentage increase of more than 440%.


To sum up there is an obvious link between sporting success and the growth of social channels of athletes, which helps them build their own digital channel. This finding is not just interesting for world-famous stars like Pobga, but also for yet-unknown athletes. A current example are Olympians. Most of them are practising marginal sports, but during the Olympic Games they attract more media attention than during any other competition. Thus they are in the spotlight and can gain new fans and followers. It’s crucial to use the event to develope their own social media channels. Success at the Olympic Games in addition with a professional presence in social media can increase the individual „market value“ of an athlete measureably.