Over the years, sponsorship ambassadors in sport have become more popular than ever. It’s become essential for sponsors to identify athletes that don’t only have large followings and engagement but aligning their values to the assets the brand aspire to represent. We’ll explore who our top five sporting ambassadors are and why.
Anthony Joshua x Hugo Boss collaboration
The two-time heavyweight world champion began working with Boss last year on a collaborative clothing line, Boss x AJBxng. This is more than AJ acting as their brand ambassador; the British boxer is designing the athleisure pieces.
What was even more eye-catching was the heavyweight champion tag-teaming with global music sensation Ellie Goulding and multi-entertainers Kurupt FM on a ‘mockumentary’. The video sees Ellie and Kurupt FM wearing the collection pieces while they act as Anthony’s personal shoppers. The concept is excellent but straightforward as everything filmed in a Hugo Boss store in London, but it is hilarious.
Despite the simple concept, it taps right into modern sports culture. You have AJ, who brings the core sporting and boxing audience. Kurupt FM is a large-set of personalities associated with UK urban culture through grime music and British comedy. Ellie Goulding brings a more mainstream demographic through her commercial successes as a global music artist. You’ve got three diverse and prominent audience groups in one video to promote the Boss x AJBxng brand.
The production came across as authentic too. At one point, it didn’t come across as staged, scripted or as if none of the personalities didn’t want to be there. The cohesion was on track which reflected well through responses across social media.
Essentially, Boss x AJBxng was an effective sports sponsorship collaboration due to its creativity, authenticity and simplicity.
Israel Adesanya signing with Puma
For a while, The UFC has been seen on a lower level than other sports regarding sponsorship. That’s rapidly changing ever since middleweight champion Israel Adesanya became the first MMA fighter sponsored by Puma. Adesanya started his combat sports legacy from humble beginnings. Born in Nigeria, raised in New Zealand, became a pro kickboxer as a young adult fighting in China and now is one of MMA’s hottest prospects worldwide.
The Last Stylebender now represents the brands Oceania division and will be involved in global marketing plans for apparel and footwear. The 20-1 fighter openly expresses a love for anime, dancing and fashion, which signifies him as a unique personality to promote the brand. Individuality, fearlessness and pushing boundaries are crucial values for Izzy and Puma, making the collaboration so effective.
The financial value of this deal could be worth millions. This partnership could open a gateway for more fighters to secure sponsorship deals with more prominent brands, elevating the UFC to a more mainstream audience.
Frankly, Puma sponsoring Izzy works due to the resonation in values, Adesanya’s humble story and the commercial impact on the UFC.
Naomi Osaka became the front-face of Louis Vuitton
The Japanese star has had a meteoric rise to sporting stardom of recent. 2020 saw her become the highest-paid female athlete; within two years, she won the US and Australian Open and has become the latest brand ambassador for the French Fashion House, Louis Vuitton (LV). Before partnering with LV, Osaka designed her own capsule collection with a Japanese fashion brand, ADEAM.
As a child, Naomi used to design clothes with her sister. Now, she’s turned this passion into a significant real-life project with one of fashions greatest powerhouses. She’s also using the voice of LV to represent her Japanese heritage through the clothes she represents, being inspired by her personal style.
The shared values between Naomi and LV go beyond the materialistic element. Naomi presents herself as an introverted, closed and humble personality which synergises with what LV want their brand to stand for. Ghesquière, LV’s French fashion designer, had expressed Naomi as a great role model for everyone and endorsed her values being uncompromised.
The three-time Grand Slam champion becoming LV’s brand ambassador is a mighty sponsorship move because it strengthens the bond between tennis and luxury fashion, empowers Japanese culture through the shared values both parties have for one another.
Logan Paul teaming up with Barstool sports
Barstool sports is a sports culture blog that covers viral sports highlights and news through video, blogs and podcasts. They’re one of the few media companies who’ve adopted unorthodox marketing tactics to evolve their brand. One includes employing US creator Logan Paul, who promoted their sports betting app launch in US state, Michigan.
Barstool founder, Dave Portnoy, aims to create an army of influencers in the US instead of following betting operators like DraftKings Inc and FanDuel, who invest more towards advertising. Logan Paul possesses over 38 million social media followers and 22.9 million subscribers. He’s anticipated to fight 50-0, Floyd Mayweather this year, and he could prove instrumental in amplifying the Barstool Sports brand for this occasion.
Paul fought UK multi-entertainer, KSI, in 2019 for the first-ever professional YouTube boxing event. It was a top-ten seller for sports streaming service DAZN that year and has evolved sports culture in ways we couldn’t imagine. Therefore, what makes this deal between Logan Paul and Barstool Sports so special is their unconventional marketing strategies to scale their brands to a larger audience.
Dele Ali pursuing Esports
Spurs’ midfielder, Dele Ali, became the official brand ambassador for UK gaming brand Excel Esports. Esports has skyrocketed throughout 2020, with many stuck at home using video games as their call for entertainment.
Ali has always been a fan of gaming, mainly Fortnite, as he’s often used the games iconic dances as his goal celebrations. He’s participated in the Gamers Without Borders charity initiative, which raised money for COVID19 while owning a Twitch channel where he regularly streams gaming content.
His role with Excel Sports sees him offering Excel’s players “the opportunity to benefit from his experience and knowledge of being an elite athlete.” This collaboration works because of Dele’s passion for esports, the value he can provide for Excel Sports consumers, and a non-monetary commitment from the Spurs’ player to a rapidly growing online gaming industry.
There’s our top five! So, what makes a sponsorship ambassador work in the sports industry? Firstly, it must be authentic. Second, the values of the potential ambassador and the brand MUST resonate. Thirdly, make it groundbreaking, something that is unique to a growing market.