Right now, Instagram is king when it comes to social media marketing for influencers - especially professional athletes.
But I see a new platform emerging that will create even more value for professional athletes - current or retired.
And that is LinkedIn.
Wait, you mean the website that you use to find jobs?
Oh no, my friend. LinkedIn has become the ultimate platform for entrepreneurs and C-Suite executives to connect and create new business. All without leaving their desk.
According to Foundation Inc., LinkedIn has over 500 million members. 61 million are senior-level executives, and 41 million are in decision-making positions.
LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner has said his goal is to have the platform reach 3 billion members. So, technically, LinkedIn is 'just getting started'.
how do athletes get involved?
It has been very subtle, but I've noticed a few professional athletes - some retired...some active - make their way to LinkedIn.
Some former players include Alex Rodriguez, Ray Lewis, Steve Young, Ryan Howard, and Tiki Barber.
Others that are still playing: Steph Curry, Andre Iguodala, Braxton Miller, and Marcus Peterson.
It's a small percentage, but there is tremendous potential for athletes who want to pursue entrepreneurship off the field. And the best part, is LinkedIn is still in the process of 'being discovered'.
NFL wide receiver, Marcus Peterson, is a prolific user of LinkedIn and agrees we are only seeing the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the adoption of this platform...
"I think maybe people will start noticing it probably end of 2020 or going into 2021. It is definitely a hidden gem and it is cheap to invest in it now!"
Peterson certainly invests quite a bit of time into the platform. He is a prolific user, posting content on a daily basis and always engaging with his connections.
"I’ve always had my LinkedIn account but as everyone else probably thinks it is for 'finding a job'. But I was introduced to the content side of things and how to monetize the app February of this year," Peterson said. "Ever since then so many opportunities and connections have been made! I would honestly say for my off-the-field endeavors and my motivational clothing brand [MP Motivational Apparel] is where 70 percent of my sales and opportunities come from."
Peterson is a perfect example of how an athlete can leverage LinkedIn's organic content algorithm to build a sports-centric entrepreneurial brand. And there's no secret behind Peterson's success. He approaches LinkedIn the same way he does with Instagram and Facebook.
"I use [LinkedIn] just like Instagram and Facebook...on more of a professional mature level."
His advice to other professional athletes looking to leverage the platform is to "connect with as many people as you can".
Outside of building a brand on LinkedIn, athletes will find the platform is a gold mine when it comes to business opportunities to invest in.
There are a plethora of startups either looking to raise money, work with professional athletes as influencers, or a combination of the two. Take a look at Body Armor, who received an investment from the likes of Kobe Bryant and Mike Trout.
Bryant turned his $6 million investment into $200 million over the span of three years.
Now imagine - as a professional athlete - if you had the next BodyArmor knocking at your door. Or maybe leaving a message in your LinkedIn inbox?
Prime Sponsor Consulting offers it's services to athletes who are looking to take advantage of LinkedIn's bountiful platform of business opportunities.
We will look to enhance your current profile (or make one from scratch) and build your base of connects through unique content curation and distribution.
Be sure to reach out to Prime Sponsor today, if you are serious about taking the next step in your entrepreneurial career.
Image via: marcustpeterson/Instagram
Unless you have been living under a rock, you've probably already heard of the 15-year-old tennis sensation Cori "Coco" Gauff. Who has made Wimbledon look like her local tennis court, with the way she has dominated the field.
Unfortunately, this Cinderella story ended when Coco lost in her fourth-round match to Simona Halep. This, however, seems to be the beginning of a very successful - and profitable - career for the American tennis star.
Gauff is slated to make her first million this year through Roger Federer's TEAM8 agency which has helped her reach deals with New Balance, Head (another apparel company), and Barilla (pasta maker).
"Without doubt, she has the potential to be the highest paid sportswoman ever and it has been a crown waiting for someone to grab hold of for the last 10 years," said Nigel Curry, a former joint chairman of the European Sponsorship Association.
"At the moment you would be talking about earnings of $50 million a year as the dominant player in the women’s game, but if Gauff wins multiple Grand Slams and dominates you could probably double that."
Curry, like myself, believes that there is incredible potential for young sports phenoms to create ridiculous wealth from endorsement deals in this golden age of social media.
"What Serena [Williams] has been earning will be eclipsed because Gauff is part of the generation that uses social media so frequently and sponsors will love to get on board with someone who has such a big impact and millions of followers," Curry added.
It truly has become an age where all endorsements involve some form of social media marketing. Just look at Bryce Harper, who was the centerpiece for an article in the Philadelphia Inquirer this past weekend, about how he has leveraged his personal brand to market companies off the field.
Harper has been in the national spotlight since he appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated as a 16-year-old in June of 2009. Even before that, Harper's star began to glow on YouTube with videos of him launching 500-foot home runs at Tropicana Field during a high school showcase event.
Today, the $330-million-man has 12 active endorsement deals, most of which are non-baseball related.
"I see him as one of the only people in baseball to actually be an influencer," said Spencer Hawkins, a footwear designer for Under Armour.
Both Harper and Gauff share similar qualities in the fact that they both were highly touted and experienced vast success at a young age. Making both extremely marketable and highly sought after for endorsement deals.
Wouldn't it be great to discover a Bryce Harper or Coco Gauff before they become a household name?
With Prime Sponsor, we feel that can be possible. You see, Prime Sponsor's e-commerce style site allows for athletes and agents (no matter the level) to sell their sponsorship inventory.
Creating sponsorship opportunities no longer has to be a difficult process. Whether you have the next 'Coco Gauff' or an established star like a Bryce Harper.
Image via: cocogauff/Instagram
Shohei Ohtani, the 'other' superstar for the LA Angels, has added just as much value on the field as he has off the field.
It was reported by the LA Times that, since his arrival in Los Angels, Ohtani has opened the door for the Angels to ink six new sponsorship deals with Japanese brands.
"We’ve had several six-figure sponsorship deals," said Angels president John Carpino.
Attendance for the Angels has shot up tremendously and the team sold more Ohtani jerseys than they did Mike Trout jerseys in 2018.
To put this into context, Ohtani was paid the standard MLB rookie salary of $545,000 last season. Additionally, the Angels also paid him a signing bonus of $2.3 million and paid the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters $20 million for his rights over the next 6 years.
What was a $20-million gamble in 2017, has paid off for the Angels in the short term. And likely will continue to pay off over the next five years...on and off the field.
Certainly, there was - and still is - tremendous hype around the 24-year-old slugger from Japan. He clubbed 22 home runs and drove in 61 RBIs in his rookie season for LA...eventually leading to the AL Rookie of the Year award.
Ohtani - known as Japan's Bath Ruth for his unique ability to hit and pitch at the professional level - also appeared in ten games for the Angels in 2018. Going 4-2 with a 3.31 ERA. (Ohtani has not pitched in 2019 due to an arm industry sustained in 2018...he may return to the mound in 2020).
This 2019 Angels lineup has fed off Ohtani's energy and presence since he returned 40 games into the first half of his season. He's already more than halfway to his home run total from 2018.
Image credit: flickr.com