The Rise of Sports Influencers

Jamie Redknapp

Sports influencers come in many shapes and sizes.

There are the mainstream, world-famous stars of their chosen sports that garner attention and respect everywhere they go.

Alternatively, there are the up-and-comers, making their way through their career and showcasing their journey with their followers.

These aren’t the only types of sports influencers, and the rise of social media has coincided with a rise in this industry.

But when did sports influencers begin to emerge? And what has facilitated the recent rapid rise?

Let’s take a look.

The Birth of Sports Influencers

Sports has been a mainstay of public entertainment for centuries.

From the Roman Gladiators to Roma football club, people have gazed in wonder at their idols and jeered at their rivals for thousands of years.

So, when did sports influencers become a thing?

Well, this topic is a tricky one to find a concrete answer to.

For example, there is the Greek athlete Milo of Croton who has famous for being a champion wrestler around the year 6000 BC.

He was famous around this time for his many feats of strength and power, including carrying a full sized ox across his shoulders.

While there was no television, and Milo certainly didn’t showcase his skills on Tik Tok, he was still a renowned name that people flocked to visit and pay homage to.

There were hundreds and thousands of famous and influential sports figures such as Milo of Croton throughout time, but all changed when the television came around, and the ability to become an influencer to a worldwide audience was available.

Sports Influencers on the Television

When the television and radio became much more widespread, the news and tales of famous sports stars was much easier to hear or see.

This made becoming a worldwide star much easier.

Sports figures such as Babe Ruth were now no longer known to simply baseball fans, but were household names, starring in films and on shows.

And then, as the 20th century passed it’s halfway point, a whole new raft of sports stars came along that were charismatic, energetic, not shy of the cameras, and most importantly, experts in their chosen sport.

Stars like Billie Jean King, Muhammad Ali, and Michael Jordan were regularly shown across television screens throughout the world.

Michael Jordan is a great example of how the role of a sports influencer began to change.

He was more than just a basketball player. He was the face behind one of the most popular trainers of all time. He starred in movie with Bugs Bunny. Every move he made was plastered across every newspaper.

Sports stars were now celebrities, and big brands were flocking to help them advertise their brand and wear their merchandise.

And then we headed into the 21st Century, and everything changed.

The Social Media Sports Influencers

When platforms such as YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Tik Tok were released, the role of sports influencers changed.

No longer did they have to wait for opportunities to showcase their skills, they now had their own channels which they could post to as regularly as they would like.

This changed a lot in the world of sports influencers, due to many factors, including:

  • Accessibility: Social media, video, and streaming platforms such as the ones listed above have made it much easier for talented individuals to create and share their own content. This makes it much easier to showcase what you’re about and allow your expertise and knowledge to help build an audience.
  • Authenticity: A sports influencer who is working on social media platforms can be seen as an authentic role model to many young athletes. For example, if someone can see that an influencer lives and films near them and is becoming a star then it is a story they can relate to and really take inspiration from.
  • Niche Audiences: There are hundreds of different sports out there, and while it used to be hard for some more niche ones to get coverage, that is not the case anymore. Whether it is specific teams, or specific sports, you can build your fanbase and send your content to them directly. For example, adrenaline junkie Travis Burke has built an audience of over 700,000 Instagram followers by showcasing great photography while out doing some extreme sports.
  • Opportunities: There are now many more ways that a sports influencer can make money, such as using advertisements on their channel or being sponsored by brands to wear their gear. The bigger the audience of an influencer grows, the more money will be offered to form a partnership.

Sports influencers now don’t have to be professional athletes, or appear on television. They can build their own following creating videos how they would like.

It has led to huge names forging their own careers, such as Joe Wicks, who started out with exercise videos on YouTube and now has over 2 million subscribers on this channel alone.

While sports influencers can go in their own direction, there are other ways that they can build a career, and that is where our team at Sport & Motion come in.

Sports Influencer Opportunities

There are several ways sports influencers can use their audience and begin a career. With the help of a sports consultant, you can have access to a wide range of new and exciting opportunities.

Such as:

Brand Partnerships

As mentioned earlier, if you can partner with a brand and become an ambassador, you will get paid to wear their gear and use their equipment during your content, making this a great way to build your name and earn some money.

Sports Events

Sports events are often crying out for sports influencers who can come and showcase their skills, engage with the audience, and bring their following along with them. From sports activations and shows, to meet and greets and interviews, a sports influencer can be a big draw at an event and really make a difference in terms of ticket sales and audience enjoyment.

Sports Advertisements

The idea of a sports advertisement is to get an audience engaged and make them invest into a story. Influencers are a great way of doing this, as many have inspirational journeys they can portray and great skills to show. That is why using your name to star in sports films is a great choice for a sports influencer.

Sports Influencers and Sport & Motion

If you’re a sports influencer, and you would like to work with a sports consulting team who have the knowledge and expertise to help you really make the most of your career, then we would love to help.

From finding roles in great sports productions, starring at sports events, and getting to partner with leading brands, our team can help you find the opportunities that you have been looking for.

Want to know more? Then get in touch with our team today.

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