2023 Athlete Sponsorship Trends

2023 Athlete Sponsorship Trends

Curious about what athlete sponsorship trends you should be incorporating into your strategy this year?

Well, athlete sponsorship looks a little different to what it did ten years ago (and for the better). 

These days, sponsorship is less about results and rankings and more about the person. We're seeing better representation of diverse people and communities and there's less selling and more storytelling. 

In this new age of sponsorship, there are three trends leading the way in 2023. They aren't fast trends that will be forgotten in a fortnight. Rather, these are trends that can add that extra level of value to your sponsorship strategy and ultimately increase your return on investment. 

1. Business-wide value

Get your broader team involved in planning your sponsorship strategy to take a birds-eye view of how sponsorship can offer value to your business. Bring together different stakeholders across the business to discuss how sponsorship could offer value to their department. 

Sponsorship is no longer about just sticking athletes on cereal boxes. Athletes can get involved in so many different activities and departments to benefit your business. E.g. training, recruitment, sales, staff wellbeing (and the list goes on and on). This athlete sponsorship trend offers big value because it takes a holistic view of how sponsorship can benefit the entire business. 

2. Social impact

Every business now has a responsibility to take affirmative action for social impact. Your sponsorship activites are an effective and purposeful way to get involved in the social impact space.

It can be as simple as getting your athletes involved in your charity activities. If you care about diversity, show it through the athletes you sponsor. If you have a Reconciliation Action Plan, consider sponsoring First Nations athletes that deliver cultural education within the business.

3. The 99% of athletes

The modern marketing landscape rewards relatability more than ever before. Consumers want to see real people with stories they can relate to. That's where the 99% of athletes come in. Their relatability makes them credible and relevant sources of information and influence.

They have niche stories relevant to your target market that make them great ambassadors. They might not earn millions of dollars or have a social media following the size of a small country, but they do have a lived experience your target market can relate to. They think outside the square, they have professional skills and experience (earned from having to pay the bills) and they're available. In 2023, a new type of ambassador has come to town, and you'll find them in the 99% of athletes.

We're really excited about this athlete sponsorship trend because it's such a game changer for the sponsorship landscape and for athletes. 

The final word

Now, for these athlete sponsorship trends to work they have to be grounded in the foundations of what makes a successful sponsorship strategy.  

In our latest webinar, we unpack how these trends can fit into your broader sponsorship strategy. Missed the webinar? We've got you covered. You can watch the playback on YouTube. 

Meet The Brand Builders

Our Athlete Sponsorship and Ambassador education and consultancy is delivered to businesses of all types and sizes. We're based in Brisbane, Australia but work all over the globe.