Imagine being 124 years old and not telling anyone about it. During the vaccination process in India, doctors found Rehtee Begum, possibly the oldest human being that ever lived on earth (Source).
New research shows this could be only the beginning. The researchers suggest that we will all live until we are 150 (Source). Good luck trying to explain TikTok to your great-great-great-granddaughter or grandson.
Sponsors Rally Behind Tennis Superstar
Nike, TagHeuer, Sweetgreen, and Calm, a meditation app have opted to back Naomi Osaka in her decision to back out of the french open due to mental health struggles (Source).
Calm went one step further. To support struggling athletes, Calm offered to pay the 15k fine for everyone that drops out of press conferences. In addition, Calm will match the fine with a donation to mental health organizations. The move proved to be very successful. Under their Twitter post, many fans celebrate the brand, and the sentiment curve below shows the spike in positive sentiment in the week the news broke.
Mental Health is becoming more relevant both in society and in sports. 42% of Tennis fans feel comfortable talking about mental health. Countries like the United Kingdom, Australia, the Philippines, Canada, and the US are most interested in mental health, as seen in the following map. The fact that global brands such as Nike and TagHeuer back Osaka’s decision seems logical now. But a few years ago, the situation would have looked different.
Conclusion: Consumers demand a clear stance of companies and brands are taking social issues such as mental health seriously. Calm shows how a sponsor can leverage that situation to their advantage. But brands need to collect even more data after such a big gamble. Social Listening is an ongoing process, and brands must continue to monitor consumer sentiment to make the right decisions.
Even though Calm did a good job of reading the room, they must be careful in their actions. No other players have denied press conferences, and Calm probably knew that (dirty secret: most players who aren’t ranked in the top 100 can’t afford to miss press conferences and exit a major tournament). If consumers start to think that Calm’s actions were just a marketing stunt, the audience sentiment could flip. The brand must follow up their initial actions by other mental health activations or initiatives to stay authentic.
Twitter and Opendorse Team up to Help Student-Athletes Monetise Video Content
American college stars are well known and have a strong bond within their community. They sell millions of team merchandise, tickets and generate high streaming and click numbers on social media. Their fame has fueled the ongoing debate about amateurism in the US. Historically, college athletes couldn’t earn any money from endorsement deals or sales. However, during the last years, the voices that advocate for a change of the amateur rule have grown louder.
Some states, including Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, and New Mexico, have responded by relaxing their rules. Under the new regulations, college athletes can now earn money from their name, image, and likeness.
Recently Twitter has joined the debate. They are creating a platform that will enable college athletes to monetize video content. Though at first the content topics are limited to sports content such as training tips and fanbase shoutouts, there is much room for further commercial use.
College athletes like Zion Williamson, Lawrence, Biles, or Sabrina Ionescu could generate a lot of money through a platform like this, and upcoming stars are likely to exploit the new possibilities.
On the other hand, it also opens up the opportunity for entertainers to rise to fame. The Logan Brothers are a prime example of “athletes” that are famous for their personality, not for their performance.
Sponsors are already paying millions for college deals. Here is an overview of some of the most expensive college sponsorship deals. The table shows the immense amount of money that is already in college sports.
In the past, these brands could not sponsor specific players, so they had to sign whole teams or even programs. According to an NCAA study, college athlete deals could be worth up to $2.4 million per year. Brands must find the right balance between college team sponsorings and individual college athletes as the competitiveness of the college market increases.
With the new rules, they can opt for individuals that fit their brand best. By using data analysis, brands can identify the college athlete that best fits their brand. Contrarily, the example of Kevin De Bryune shows that athletes are also increasingly base on their sponsoring and contract decisions on data. Both brand and athlete might soon have to decide between a growing portfolio of partners.
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