Working with sports stars for advertising shoots can be an exciting yet challenging experience.
These athletes often have a large following and can bring significant attention to the brand we are working with. Working with these talented athletes is always a thrill, and seeing their skills up close is a great part of the work we do.
However, there are challenges, and in this guide, we’re going to delve into the best way to work with famous sports stars and influencers, and how to make the best sports production with them in a lead role.
Let’s take a look.
One of the most important times in this whole process, is before filming of the production begins. There are many things to consider at this time, including:
Research the Athlete
The first step is to get to know everything you can about the athlete in question.
Start at the beginning, learning about the start of their journey and how they forged their career.
Think about their career highlights, interviews they have done, and the persona they portray as this can all be used to add to the production.
You should try to tailor the shoot to better fit their persona and public roles or it may be confusing to viewers.
Make sure you have a clear line of communication with the athlete’s management team.
Discuss schedules, expectations, and any specific requirements the athlete may have. We mentioned earlier that many influencers and athletes have extremely busy schedules, so try and be as transparent and communicative as possible to ensure it all goes smoothly.
Establishing a single point of contact early on and using tools like project management software and shared calendars can really help here.
Script and Storyboard
Prepare a detailed script and storyboard. This should include all dialogue and actions throughout the production, with an emphasis on what is expected of the sports star.
Share these with the athlete and their team for approval before the production begins so you know that they have a clear idea of what is coming and there will be no unexpected issues.
Sending these weeks in advance is always a good idea so any concerns can be ironed out before filming begins.
Location and Logistics
You should always start with a few locations in mind before filtering down to the perfect spot.
There are a few factors to consider when selecting this.
It is important that the location you choose is aesthetically pleasing and relevant to the advertisement. This way you will be able to set the scene and create a believable story.
You should also choose a location that is convenient for the athlete and ensure all logistics are sorted well in advance.
Finally, find somewhere you are allowed to film, and ensure all required permits are granted and that the amenities are in place to make sure the filming can run smoothly (this includes changing rooms, toilets etc.)
Make sure to have all contracts, including image rights and NDAs, signed before the shoot.
You should use lawyers to ensure that everything is being signed off correctly and there is nothing that could cause any issues.
Other things to consider are termination fees, compensation figures and image rights.
The more famous and established the athletes, the more legal formalities there may be so make sure you have a professional make sure everything is as should be before the production begins.
During the Shoot
Athletes have tight schedules. This means that the time slot they have assigned to film the production is often set in stone, and there isn’t much wiggle room on either side.
It is always a good idea to make sure everything is set up before they arrive so you can make the most of their time.
Run a few test shots to ensure all equipment is working correctly, as the last thing you need is a sports star on a tight schedule and faulty equipment that is slowing down the shoot.
Brief the athlete on the shoot’s flow, what you expect from them, and how they can prepare.
The best time they do this is when they arrive, as this will give them enough time to plan how they can best spend their time preparing for and filming the shoot.
This is also a great time to provide answers to any questions that the athlete may have and make sure they are happy with everything that is in place.
Be prepared to adapt.
Athletes are not professional actors, so you may need to adjust your approach and techniques used to get the best performance.
If something isn’t working, then make sure you have a plan B (and even a plan C) waiting in the wings that is ready to go.
This way, you won’t waste any time on the day of production trying to come up with new ideas.
You may also find that the athletes themselves have some ideas. They know their skills better than anyone else, so make sure you adapt to this and incorporate some new scenes or shots accordingly.
Respect Their Limits
Don’t ask them to do anything that might risk injury or fatigue, especially if they are in-season.
At the briefing when the athlete arrives, you should consult them on all aspects of the shoot, and this includes anything which they may be uncomfortable with.
This is a good time to do this as it gives you plenty of time to adapt.
Some athletes may not be allowed certain things due to the risk of injury, and they may have orders from their clubs and sponsors to hold back, so be aware of this and plan the shoot accordingly.
Capture Extra Content
What happens when a professional footballer is waiting between shots and there is a ball at their feet?
Chances are they will play with it, taking shots at goal or practising skills.
If time allows, capture this additional footage or photos as it can be used for social media or future campaigns.
Some of these shots may even make their way into the final production, so try and never miss a beat.
Share the initial edits with the athlete and their team for feedback.
Most established influencers will have a brand image, so you must share the content with them to ensure it aligns with this.
You should also consider the brands they represent here, especially the one for whom the production has been created, as this is also a representation of them.
If there are any issues here, be prepared and adapt (this is when having additional shots can come in handy as you may need some replacements).
Make any necessary changes and prepare the final version of the advertisement.
Take on board any feedback you have received from the athlete and other professionals when making these edits, as this can lead to some real improvements in the final production.
Before finalising, ensure all stakeholders have seen the advertisement and are happy with the content.
Ensure that all payments are processed as per the contract.
These payments should always be transparent and well-documented. In most cases, you may have paid an initial deposit to secure the sports star for the duration of the shoot, so make sure your figures add up and that the right amount is paid to the relevant parties.
Coordinate with the athlete for a joint social media push when the advertisement goes live.
Many established sports stars will come with a big following, and they will be influencers in their own right.
This opens up your sports advertisement to a whole new audience and new ways of marketing, and if you can time the release to synchronise with the athlete posting the production, then this is sure to have a big effect and really help it pick up traction.
Say Thank You
A small token of appreciation or a thank-you note can go a long way in maintaining a good relationship for future collaborations.
Send a personalised thank you note or a small gift as a token of your appreciation for the hard work the sports star put into the shoot.
If you worked closely with specific members of their teams, such as agents and personal assistants, it can also be nice to send them a thank-you gift, and this can lead to another valuable relationship.
Sport & Motion
Working with sports stars can be a win-win situation when done correctly. Some historic work has been done in this field to create stunning and emotive advertisements.
If you have a production in mind, need help bringing an idea to life, or if you are a sports star looking to grow your brand and start your career, we can help you.
Get in touch with our team today to know more.