By Ken Reed
Companies have long used athletes to help promote their brands. However, the impact of athlete sponsorship has never been greater than today. And due to the fact that consumers have shown growing interest in socially-responsible brands, companies are increasingly aligning themselves with athletes that are strong advocates for various social causes.
Athletes are giving their voices to a variety of social causes at unprecedented levels. Research reveals that athletes using their social media platform to support social causes generated approximately $314 million in media value in 2020. That figure is predicted to rise to $1.2 billion by 2023.
According to data produced by the Nielsen Data Fan Insight tool, people’s interest in brands that have acted in socially responsible ways during the pandemic has increased signficantly. This holds true across the board demographically but is especially prevalent among young people where 48 percent of those aged 16 to 29 claim to have an interest in socially responsible brands. That compares to 46 percent of 30 to 49 year-olds and 34 percent of those between the ages of 50 and 69.
“The social upheaval that’s been caused by the global pandemic is likely to reshape what sports marketing looks like in the future,” according to Samantha Lamberti of Nielsen Sports. “As a result, we will see a shift in brands realigning their marketing strategies to ensure they support different social causes.”
Nielsen research shows 95 percent of athletes with more than five million followers used their platform to support a social cause last year.
— Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans
Sports Forum Podcast
Episode #22 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Rethinking Sports Fandom with Author Craig Calcaterra – We discuss Calcaterra’s new book “Rethinking Fandom: How to Beat the Sports-Industrial Complex at Its Own Game” and explore new ways to be a fan in the year 2022.
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Episode #21 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Chatting About a Broken Game With Baseball Writer Pedro Moura – Moura is a national baseball writer for Fox Sports. We discuss how and why the game of baseball is broken, what factors caused it, and offer a few thoughts on how to “fix” a great game.
Episode #20 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Coaching Youth and High School Sports Based On What’s Best for the Athlete’s Holistic Development – We chat with long-time youth, high school and college basketball coach Jim Huber.
Episode #19 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Capturing the Spirit of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League with Anika Orrock – We discuss the hoops AAGPFL women had to jump through to play the game they loved as well as the long-term impact and legacy they have in advancing sports opportunities for girls and women.
Episode #18 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Talking about the 50th Anniversary of Title IX and the Lia Thomas Controversy with Nancy Hogshead-Makar – Hogshead-Makar is a triple gold medalist in swimming, a civil rights attorney and CEO of Champion Women.
Episode #17 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Talking Sports With Legendary New York Times Sports Columnist Robert Lipsyte – We chat about Lipsyte’s amazing career and some of the athletes he covered.
Media"How We Can Save Sports" author Ken Reed appears on Fox & Friends to explain how there's "too much adult in youth sports."
Ken Reed appears on Mornings with Gail from KFKA Radio in Colorado to discuss bad parenting in youth athletics.
“Should College Athletes Be Paid?” Ken Reed on The Morning Show from Wisconsin Public Radio
Ken Reed appears on KGNU Community Radio in Colorado (at 02:30) to discuss equality in sports and Title IX.
Ken Reed appears on the Ralph Nader Radio Hour (at 38:35) to discuss his book The Sports Reformers: Working to Make the World of Sports a Better Place, and to talk about some current sports issues.
- League of Fans Sports Policy Director Ken Reed quoted in Washington Post column titled "What happened to P.E.? It’s losing ground in our push for academic improvement," by Jay Mathews
League of Fans is a sports reform project founded by Ralph Nader to fight for the higher principles of justice, fair play, equal opportunity and civil rights in sports; and to encourage safety and civic responsibility in sports industry and culture.
Sports & Torts – Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans – at the American Museum of Tort Law
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