In our ever-evolving digital age, influencers with the rarefied ability to cultivate huge followings in the burgeoning attention economy––wherein consumers' increasingly limited attention span is a valuable commodity that social media companies sell to brands––have emerged as marketing superstars, transcending traditional celebrity and athlete endorsements to shape brand perception and consumer behavior on an arguably unprecedented scale. 

The reach of platforms like Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube has given rise to a new echelon of influencers with more than 100M followers (and counting), who wield unrivaled power in marketing partnerships. Jimmy Donaldson (MrBeast), 5-Minute Crafts, Khaby Lame, and Charli D'Amelio top the list of social media titans, commanding audiences that eclipse the population of most countries as they vie for the demand (and dollars) of deep-pocketed advertisers.

Here’s the current list of top social media influencers and their respective followings plus notable brand partners: (Inclusive of IG, X, FB, YT, TT)

  1. Jimmy Donaldson 'MrBeast': 431,540,853 (15 deals) - Samsung, TurboTax, Spotify
  2. 5-Minute Crafts: 263,796,501 (5 deals) - Rovio Entertainment (Angry Birds), Michaels, Island Questaway
  3. Khaby Lame: 251,794,091(13 deals) - State Farm, Pepsi, Hugo Boss
  4. Charli D'Amelio: 213,971,351 (22 deals) - Amazon, Takis, Skims
  5. Kimberly Loaiza: 190,971,811 (2 deals) - Kaba Hair/Skin Care, Sol Beauty & Care
  6. Whindersson Nunes: 165,486,388 (11 deals) - Subway, Doritos, Multilaser
  7. Zach King: 147,002,897 (12 deals) - Lunchables, Royal Caribbean Cruises, Nomatic Backpacks
  8. Addison Rae: 134,100,027 (4 deals) - Hanes Brands, Nerds, ILIA
  9. Luisito Comunica: 128,176,657 (4 deals) - Netflix, Turkish Airlines, Gran Malo
  10. Ria Ricis: 123,351,766 (4 deals) - Maxstream, Scarlett Whitening, Mothercare Indonesia
  11. Like Nastya: 121,967,091(4 deals) *No X - Laderach, Joyin, World Childhood Foundation
  12. Kids Diana Show: 121,447,095 (2 deals) *No X - PAW Patrol, Miko
  13. Bella Poarch: 120,091,319 (12 deals) - Vans, Cash App, Skims
  14. Vlad and Niki: 115,590,704 (5 deals) - Hot Wheels, Mattel, Spin Master
  15. Lele Pons: 113,013,524 (7 deals) *No X - Golden Road Brewing, T-Mobile, TurboTax
  16. Dude Perfect: 110,601,810 (27 deals) - Samsung, Walmart, Fanatics
  17. Brent Rivera: 107,820,253 (4 deals) - Amazon Music Unlimited, Sony Pictures Entertainment, SoFi
  18. Alexandra Mary Hirschi (Supercar Blondie): 107,724,922 (23 deals) - Nissan, Volkswagen, Continental
  19. Domelipa: 106,557,421 (9 deals) - Santander Bank, Takis, adidas

Thanks to their diverse array of innovative content—ranging from life hacks and entertainment to gaming and lifestyle—these outsize personalities have attracted an array of blue-chip brands keen to tap into their vast and loyal audiences. Notably, brands like Warner Brothers, Skims, Samsung, and Hugo Boss have strategically partnered with multiple influencers in deals like Skims x Charli D'Amelio and Bella Poarch x Lele Pons, using their popularity to engage broader demographics. 

Beyond joining forces with brands, two of these enterprising influencers have launched their own companies––like Jimmy Donaldson, better known as MrBeast, who leveraged his colossal online presence to found Feastables. The chocolate and snack maker made a splash last October by inking a jersey partnership with the Charlotte Hornets, illustrating influencers’ ability to transcend the digital world and expand into traditional sports marketing arenas. Similarly, entertainment brand Dude Perfect––whose YouTube channel boasts more than 60M subscribers––has translated its massive following into a high-profile partnership as the official youth jersey sponsor for Burnley, a prominent club in the English Premier League.

The Australian Influencer Marketing Council (AiMCO) Awards, which took place this evening in Sydney (thanks to the 16-hour time difference with EST), honors outstanding collaborations between brands and Australian creators, recognizing their ability to captivate audiences with authentic and compelling content. 

Among the awards categories you can find “Best Beauty, Fashion & Style Creator”—which boasted a notable 17 sponsorships on average per nominee.“Best Home, Lifestyle, Travel, Auto Creator” follows with an average 16 deals per nominee, as well as the highest combined social following at 6.8M. “Best Food & Beverage Creator” and “Best Comedy & Entertainment Creator” tied for third with 14 average sponsorships per influencer. 

Check out insights for a few of the top talents among the 25 influencers––averaging 12 endorsements each–– nominated this year.  

Nominated for "Best Family, Parenting, Pets Creator" are father-daughter duo Ben & Zara, whose adventures and familial charm command an audience of 4.4M on TikTok––making them the most-followed nominees on a single platform, thanks to content that blends heartfelt and humorous moments to illustrate the impressive reach of authentic storytelling. Their most engaging TikTok post, with P&O Cruises, garnered more than 5M views and 320K likes/comments.

Carolina McCauley, nominated for ”Best Home, Lifestyle, Travel, Auto Creator”, has over 3.1M Instagram followers. The self-described “Home Hacks Queen” creates visually stunning narratives in partnership with brands like Japanese tool manufacturer Ryobi and Aussie household hardware chain Bunnings. Esmé Louise James rounds out the top three with a TikTok following of 2.4M.  

Influencers Bridey Drake––whose deals include KFC, Powerade, and Adobe, nominated for ”Best Home, Lifestyle, Travel, Auto Creator”––and Tim Collins—nominated for ”Best Comedy & Entertainment Creator” and partners with Uber, Tinder, and Optus—tied for first with the most sponsorships at an astonishing 30 deals each. In second place is fashion influencer Eitan Broude, nominated for “Best Beauty, Fashion & Style Creator”, has 23 deals, including partnerships with Amazon, Calvin Klein, and Crocs. Adrian Widjonarko earns the third spot with 19 sponsorships, partnering with brands like IKEA, Ben & Jerry’s, and Afterpay.

When it comes to social engagement, few names ring as loud Kansas City Chiefs QB, Patrick Mahomes. The young, dynamic player has not only made waves in the sports world but has also established a dominating presence on social media platforms. His vibrant personality, coupled with his exceptional talent, has resulted in an astonishing following across various social media platforms.

Across Instagram (IG), Facebook (FB), and other platforms (X), Mahomes boasts a staggering follower count of 9.5 million. This not only speaks volumes about his popularity but also reflects the influence he wields in the virtual world. Each post is met with a flood of likes and comments, thus amplifying his reach and impact.

The prowess of Mahomes' social engagement is further amplified when it comes to branded content. He has managed to amass a whopping 3.5 million engagements with his branded posts. This is a testament to the trust and value brands place in his persona, and how effectively he can engage his fans and followers through sponsored content.

The impressive numbers Mahomes has achieved in social media engagement have made him a hot favorite among brands for endorsements, with 16 partnerships. His charm, combined with his ability to connect with fans, has made him a desirable ambassador for many notable brands. adidas, Oakley, Hugo Boss and Coors Light are the top brands when ranking by total social engagement on his branded posts.

As the hotly anticipated 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup gets ready to kick off July 20 in Australia and New Zealand, brands continue to raise their profiles and build their female athlete roster by joining forces with women’s soccer stars.

Take USWNT veteran Alex Morgan–the US squad’s all-time leading scorer, two-time World Cup champion, and Olympic gold medalist. She leads the list of FIFA Women’s World Cup athletes as most endorsed players with 17 partnerships, including deals with Michelob Ultra and Molecule Sleep.

Notably, Morgan was featured in Michelob Ultra’s Super Bowl LVII campaign ahead of the big game this past February. We can expect (and will be tracking) crossover athletes and their brand sponsors to launch campaigns and promote new products—alongside social and onsite activations—before and during the FIFA Women’s World Cup.

Spanish team captain, Alexia Putellas, trails Morgan with 12 sponsorships, Amazon Prime Video and Hublot among them. Canadian phenom Kaila Novak–who’s played for her national team since age 15–and Crystal Dunn tie for third place with 10 deals each.

As one of the world’s most-watched sporting events with more than 1B viewers, the FIFA Women’s World Cup offers brands a virtually unrivaled opportunity to reach fans across the globe. Three blue-chip brands–Nike, Visa and adidas–comprise the top triumvirate of sponsors going all-in on women’s soccer. The world’s most valuable sportswear brand has been a longtime supporter, boasting 29 partnerships with some of the game’s biggest names, including Alex Morgan, Megan Rapinoe, and Sam Kerr.

Meanwhile, Visa has vastly expanded its sponsorship stable to 24 deals–with Lucy Bronze and Kosovare Asliani, among others–from just 10 last year, while longtime sponsor adidas partners with 20 female players, along with the German and Spanish squads.

Emerging brands in nascent industries, like MATCHDAY, are also staking a claim in the sport as its popularity and profile soar. The blockchain-based gaming platform now has five partnerships with women soccer players, having inked four in the past 12 months, including back-to-back Ballon d’Or winner Alexia Putellas. Just before the 2022 World Cup, all MATCHDAY-sponsored players posted a “MATCHDAY Challenge” picture on Instagram, inviting their followers to predict the tournament results, engaging 136K of them in the process. Look for a similar social campaign launch from MATCHDAY featuring even more female soccer standouts as the tourney begins next month.

Former FC Barcelona star, Gerard Piqué, recently launched an ambitious–and potentially groundbreaking–post-retirement project: Kings League Infojobs, a new seven-a-side, Spanish football league established in December 2022. Piqué selected 12 partners, called “presidents” (high-profile digital content creators and other former football athletes, including Iker Casillas and Kun Agüero), to build their own teams from the ground up–from creating names and logos to hiring management and technical staff.

One especially high-profile president, influencer Ibai Llanos–a Spanish internet celebrity and renowned esports caster known simply as “Ibai,” whose events hold worldwide streaming records–heads up league club Porcinos FC. The league is leveraging Llanos’ massive following (more than 9M on Instagram alone)–along with the followings of its other presidents–to grow its viewership.

This strategy is proving wildly successful so far. The Kings League has already drawn legions of viewers since its inaugural season kicked off on January 1, 2023, helped in part by an appearance by Brazilian football legend Ronaldinho in the 8th “journey” (weekly game day, in Kings League parlance, aka "matchday"). In January alone, the league racked up 238M views on TikTok, while the league’s Twitch account drew the platform’s highest average number of viewers worldwide the same month.

Kings League rules differ from traditional football regulations, with the goal of adding dynamism to the game via tactics including a tie-breaker penalty shootout, unlimited substitutions, and special "secret weapons” (detailed below).

Anyone who wants to play for the league–from influencers to athletes, and everyone in between–can apply by submitting an application and video. Kings League then selects 200 players and holds a draft, where presidents and their coaches make their picks.

Rules & Regulations

  • Kings League matches are held every Sunday from 4:00pm-10:00pm Central European Time (CET), and span 40 minutes divided into two halves.
  • At the conclusion of the 11-journey regular season–which lasts just 3 months–the eight best teams proceed to the playoffs, which will culminate in a Final Four on March 26 at Camp Nou (FC Barcelona Stadium).
  • There are 2 seasons per year; May 2023 begins this year’s second season.
  • Before every match, each coach chooses an envelope containing a “secret weapon” (arma secreta in Spanish) that provides a playing advantage, which can be used once per game. The 20 “secret weapon” cards include the following advantages, among others:
  • Double goal (6): For 2 minutes, goals scored will count as two.
  • Penalty from the center (4): A penalty kick from midfield–1-on-1 striker against the goalkeeper, with no rejection possible.
  • Wild card (1): Can be used as a wild card to play any of the other cards.
  • Piqué (1): Gerard Piqué will join the team as a player for that match.
  • At the 18th minute of the first half, a “League Card” is drawn that changes the number of players on the field (1vs1, 2vs2, 3vs3, 4vs4, or 5vs5) for the half’s last two minutes.
  • There are no draws; if teams are tied at the match’s end, a penalty shootout decides the winner.
  • In the starting kickoff, both teams must be on their goals until the countdown ends, and then run to take the ball at midfield.

On May 6, the Kings League will launch Queens League Oysho, named for the Spanish clothing retailer that’s its title sponsor. A women’s league with the same rules and format, its debut–to be played in tandem with the Kings League’s second season, with games held on Saturday–will help to further fuel the momentum of women’s football worldwide. 

League Sponsors

Kings League sponsors activate during matches via rotating billboards, product placement, and halftime challenges, among other assets. Each team can also sign its own sponsors, whose logos can be placed on the players’ jersey sleeves and shorts. Along with the weekly journey recap, “AfterKings,” broadcast Mondays on YouTube and Twitch–the league’s streaming partner–team presidents can stream their games on their preferred platforms, showcasing team sponsors with a product placement or digital billboard/logo activation.

INFOJOBS: The Kings League’s exclusive naming partner and primary jersey patch partner of all 12 teams, Europe’s leading career network brand also sponsors KOI, the esports team cofounded by Ibai.

Simyo: Marking one of its first forays into sports sponsorships, the Spanish telecom company ranks among the league’s main sponsors, whose assets include the “Simyo MVP” award.  

McDonald’s: To promote McDelivery, its delivery services brand, McDonald’s sponsorships in Spain span sports including football (Mirandes), basketball (Cazoo Baskonia), and esports (Movistar Riders), as well as out-of-home advertising worldwide. Within the Kings League, the fast food titan sponsors event-related content including the countdown to matches’ kickoff, and runs a banner ad on Twitch, the league’s streaming partner.

Grefusa: The Spanish food products manufacturer ranks among the league’s main sponsors, and also sponsors its referees. Active in the streaming market, the snack brand also sponsors Ibai’s events, as well as Team Heretics, an esports team.

XiaoMI: An active sponsor of football properties–including the Mexican and Finnish national federations–as well as music festivals and esports teams, the Chinese consumer electronics manufacturer is one of the league’s main partners and its VAR (Instant Replay) sponsor. The brand’s logo also features on the back of all team jerseys.

CUPRA: The Spanish carmaker’s many sponsorships include the World Padel Tour, FC Barcelona, tennis events like the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell, and KOI, Ibai’s esports club. As the Kings League Stadium Sponsor, the brand’s cars are displayed outside of CUPRA Arena, the league’s home.

Spotify: Hot on the heels of a landmark July 2022 deal with FC Barcelona that named the music streaming giant Main Partner and Official Audio Streaming Partner of the club–and saw the team’s stadium rebranded Spotify Camp Nou–the brand seized the opportunity to get in on the ground level of FC Barcelona alum Piqué’s newest venture, sponsoring the Kings League “secret weapon” cards.

The 22nd FIFA World Cup kicked off yesterday with Qatar vs. Ecuador, where Ecuador won over the host country 2-0. The month-long event–whose sponsors include adidas, Coca-Cola, Visa, and Qatar Airways, among others–will showcase the world's best players in a blockbuster broadcast event that FIFA estimates will draw an audience of over 5B viewers worldwide.

Stars like Alphonso Davies and Sergiño Dest will strive to shine, while storied veterans Lionel Messi and Ronaldo will aim to end their storied careers with a bang in their last World Cup appearance. We compiled the following roundup of the most sponsored athletes in the competition, in order of number of deals.

Neymar Jr

The Brazilian Paris Saint-Germain powerhouse has hinted that this year’s tournament–his third–may be his last. His sponsorship stable includes a whopping 36 brands, among them Puma, Netflix, Qatar Airways, Red Bull, Facebook Gaming, and Pokerstars. Red Bull, Neymar’s partner since 2016, is the main sponsor of his Five, the world’s largest five-a-side football tournament. Neymar’s deal with Puma–reportedly the largest individual sports sponsorship in history–earns him a reported $30M per year. His social media numbers reflect his mega-stardom: with a cumulative social following of over 340M followers, Neymar posted 127 times, engaging within the last 12 months more than 71M and averaging an impressive engagement of 3.6M per brand and 405.5K per post.

Lionel Messi

With this year’s appearance, Messi and Ronaldo will join an exclusive club--which currently includes just four other players–to have played in five World Cup tournaments. The Argentine legend’s 25 deals include Adidas–a lifetime contract that pays him a reported $25M per year–Budweiser, Pepsi, Lay’s, Gatorade, and Konami. He’s also the only athlete to have a deal with Cirque du Soleil.

With over 510M followers, Messi has become a social media marvel, posting 61 times in the last 12 months for a total engagement of nearly 150M, and averaging an astonishing 8.7M per brand and 1.3M per post. Messi’s 8 Adidas posts alone garnered engagement of 18.6M. The Argentinian phenom posted 11 times in 2022 for his premium lifestyle brand, The Messi Store (total followers:1.5M), engaging 16.5M fans.

Cristiano Ronaldo

This year’s tournament marks the fifth and final World Cup appearance of the Manchester United megastar, whose 21 partnerships include Nike, Clear, Binance, Herbalife, LiveScore, and Therabody. Sponsored by Nike since 2003, he signed a lifetime contract with the Swoosh in a deal worth a reported $1B. Ronaldo’s unrivaled global reach–he’s the most prolific person in the world on social media, with a total following of close to 760M–allows him to sign slews of exclusive deals, like his partnership with Talabat, a food delivery service company in the UAE.

With 496M followers on Instagram alone, his engagement numbers–a staggering 180M this year across 69 sponsored posts, averaging 12.8M per brand and 1.8M per post–eclipse all players on this list. Ronaldo 7 posts for his clothing and fragrance brand, CR7, garnered engagement of 41.3M, while his 5 posts for Nike scored 25.4M. Ronaldo also owns his own lifestyle hotel called Pestana CR7, with locations in New York, Madrid, Lisbon, Marrakech, Funchal, and his native Madeira.

Son Heung-min

The South Korean star of the Tottenham Hotspurs will make his third World Cup appearance in Qatar, entering the tournament with 14 deals: Adidas, Calvin Klein, Gillete, EA Sports, Tiger Beer, Republic of Gamers, NFTStar, Volvo, Tumi, OpenSea, SK Telecom, Korean Tourism Organization, Cartier, and Gentle Monster.

The only European football athlete sponsored by Volvo and Cartier, Son is Calvin Klein’s brand ambassador in South Korea, and joins Alan Walker, Loserfruit, Nyjah Huston, and Karl-Anthony Towns as a partner of gaming equipment maker, Republic of Gamers. In 2022, his 33 sponsored posts engaged 13.2M followers, with a per-brand average of 1.6M, while his 20 Adidas posts totaled 11M in engagement.

Jack Grealish

Following his monumental, $139M move from Aston Villa to Manchester City in August 2021–which broke the British signing record–Grealish will make his World Cup debut in Qatar, entering the tourney with a stacked endorsement portfolio of 12 brands: Nike, EA Sports, McDonald’s, Icons Memorabilia, Gucci, Amazon Prime Video, Panini, PlayStation, Topps, Bose and boohooMan. Grealish is one of two World Cup players, along with Serge Gnabry, to partner with Gucci, earning a reported $1.2M. The Man City megastar’s 21 sponsored posts totaled engagement of 3.1M this year, averaging 352.7K per brand.

Guillermo Ochoa

Heading into his fifth World Cup, the Mexican stalwart known as “Memo” boasts 9 deals with Xbox, Nike, Trebel Music, Expedia, Michelob Ultra, Troquer, Hugo Boss, Dolo Neurobion, and Perfumerica. Ochoa posted 42 times for the 9 brands in 2022 , totaling 1.4M in engagement. This year, Americans Christian Pulisic and Carli Llyod joined Ochoa in a TV spot for Michelob Ultra–which also partnered with designer Guillermo Andrade to create a limited-edition, unofficial World Cup jersey for fans.

Virgil Van Dijk

This year’s competition will be the Dutch Liverpool defender’s first, but the Champions League winner already has 8 brand deals--with EA Sports, Nike, JBL, Cadbury, Tundra eSports, Meta Quest, Freia, and Sponsor Thailand--thanks to his notable success at the club level. Van Dijk is one of two European football athletes--along with Mason Mount--to have a deal with JBL. Van Dijk’s sponsored engagement on social media totaled 2.7M, with an impressive 455K average per brand.

Trent Alexander-Arnold

The breakout star for Liverpool and England will compete in his second World Cup in Qatar, entering the tournament with deals with Therabody, Red Bull, Konami, WeAre8, Palo Alto Networks, Bang & Olufsen, and Under Armour, with whom he inked a multi-year deal worth a reported $2M annually. With close to 20M total followers on social media, the stellar right-back chalked up 5M in engagement and an average 628.3K per brand across 19 sponsored posts.

Alphonso Davies

The Ghana-born, 22-year-old standout will lead Canada in its first World Cup appearance since 1986. Besides Nike, Davies partners with Bank of Montreal, Topps, EA Sports, BioSteel, Crocs, Jordan Brand, and HATTRICKS, teaming up with the TK to create a digital football collectable game. Davies’ 33 sponsored social posts racked up a total engagement of nearly 2M this year.

Kevin De Bruyne

Playing in his third World Cup in 2022 the Belgian Manchester City star’s sponsor lineup includes Nike, Therabody, UFL, Balln, SecretLab, Phemex, Wow Hydrate, and Lanistar. He’s also the only athlete endorsed by AI company, Balln, and crypto platform, Phemex. With a cumulative social following of 45M, De Bruyne engaged 2.1M fans across 18 posts, averaging 314.1K per brand.

Sergiño Dest

The 22-year-old defender–on loan to AC Milan from La Liga club Barcelona–will be playing in his first World Cup for USMNT, and has deals with Nike, BioSteel, AT&T, Hugo Boss, Icons Memorabilia, and EA Sports. Dest posted 5 times on social media this year, engaging 465K followers.

CMA Awards

November 9, 2022

The 56th Annual CMA Awards take place tonight at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tennessee.

Take a look at the social game and endorsement deals of the 5 nominees for Entertainer of the Year.

Deals between YouTube influencers and brands are legion, as these charismatic personalities continue to build significant partnership portfolios. Sponsored integration within their YouTube videos is the leading way influencers work with brands.

Over 550 brands saw sponsored integration within YouTube influencers’ videos in the past year. The most active brands were:

  • Betterhelp (sponsored videos with more than 15 influencers)
  • SeatGeek
  • DraftKings
  • HelloFresh
  • NordVPN
  • Skillshare (85% of its deals include YouTube sponsor integration)

Top YouTube Influencers

MMG (Matthew Meagher) Madden Youtuber:. One of the most endorsed YouTubers with 44 deals–of which 91% include sponsored integration on YouTube–MMG ranks in the top 1% of all social influencers by deal count. Just this year, 68 of his videos featured sponsored integration. With 2.32M followers on YouTube, he’s also bolstering his TikTok presence: his current 1M followers saw 13% growth in the last 12 months.

MrBeast (Jimmy Donaldson) American Youtuber: With a whopping 110M subscribers, MrBeast is a bona fide YouTube sensation, and has racked up a staggering 200M gross following across all social platforms (YT, TT, TW, IG, FB). Mobile app Brawl Stars hit the endorsement lottery with MrBeast thanks to sponsored integration in his most viewed video ever, garnering more than 300M views since November 2021.

Interestingly, MrBeast partners with less than 10 brands:

  • Brawl Stars
  • DraftKings
  • Honey
  • Venmo
  • Current
  • Walmart
  • Experian
  • Coinbase
  • Nerf

Dolly Parton, Eminem, and Lionel Richie are among the inductees at the 37th annual Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony sponsored by City National Bank, taking place November 5th at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. Let’s take a look at their endorsement portfolios.

Dolly Parton

The iconic country star and 10-time Grammy winner has built an impressive stable of 19 brand partnerships, including these five notable deals:

  • Duncan Hines: Dolly and Duncan Hines partnered on a line of baking mixes and frostings in January 2022, “Dolly’s Southern Favorites,” inspired by her favorite family recipes.
  • Walmart: The retailer stocks Dolly’s beauty brand, Honest Beauty, which includes her fragrance “Dolly–Scent From Above”, and launched The Dolly Parton Greeting Card Collection in 2020, sold exclusively at the mega-retailer.
  • Sonos: Dolly partnered with the sound experience company in 2020 to create her own radio station, Songteller Radio, including her hits, favorite artists, and commentary on songs and moments throughout her career, making her the only artist to have an endorsement deal with the company.
  • Perfumania: Dolly joined forces with the fragrance retailer to donate $5 from every sale of her “Dolly–Scent from Above” perfume to her Imagination Library, a book gifting program that mails free books to kids from birth until they begin school in participating areas. She’s the only music artist to partner with the brand.
  • T-Mobile: Dolly Parton teamed up with Miley Cyrus last February for the telecommunications giant’s #DoItForThePhones campaign, to boost the company’s 5G network customer base and benefit Cyrus’ Happy Hippie Foundation, which funds programs that support homeless and LGBTQ youth and other vulnerable populations.

The “Backwoods Barbie” was active on social media as well, totaling 72 sponsored posts with 18 brands over the last 12 months. Dolly also engaged 1,531,272 followers in the same period, fueled in large part by her deals with Scent Beauty and Duncan Hines. Her 21 posts for Scent Beauty chalked up 209,180 engagements, while her 15 Duncan Hines posts garnered 409,162 likes, shares, or comments.


The 15-time Grammy winner became the latest artist to join Peloton’s Artist Series in January 2022, a month before the Detroit-born megastar took center stage at the final Halftime Super Bowl Halftime Show sponsored by Pepsi.

Eminem’s endorsement portfolio also includes Postmates, Mitchell & Ness, and Jordan Brand. His 13 sponsored posts across 6 brands brands racked up 3,247,989 engagements on social media, averaging 541,332 per brand and 216,533 per post. Emine’s sole Instagram post for Jordan Brand garnered engagement of a whopping 1.955 million.

To promote his Super Bowl performance, Eminem partnered with Postmates to create a pop-up of his Detroit-based restaurant, Mom’s Spaghetti, in LA during Super Bowl week. He also partnered with Mitchell & Ness, Bleacher Report, and the Detroit Pistons to release a special edition SlimShady Pistons jersey. Eminem and Jordan Brand have collaborated since 2005, when they first created the original “Air Shady” shoe.

Lionel Richie

With just 3 philanthropy-focused partnerships, the legendary artist and four-time Grammy winner maintains a low profile on the endorsement front compared to Dolly Parton and Eminem.

Through his deal with Devoted Health, announced early last month, he’ll support the company’s burgeoning efforts to offer high-quality healthcare to more Americans on Medicare across the country. In April 2022, Richie co-hosted the first Global Gala in New York for the Prince’s Trust, a global network of charities founded by King Charles the III, which focuses on helping disadvantaged young people find employment, educational training, and mentorship. He also has his own SMiZE Cream flavor, “All Night Love,” a nod to his 1984 hit song, “All Night Long.”

Los Angeles Angels superstar Shohei Ohtani became the most marketable MLB player in recent history during the 2022 MLB season, dazzling fans around the globe with his talents. Let’s take a look at his current partnerships and his arguably boundless endorsement potential.

Japan’s megastar designated hitter/pitcher racked up 17 brand endorsements in 2022, breaking Aaron Judge’s record of 13 deals the previous season. "Shotime" tripled his endorsement revenue after becoming the first player to appear on the covers of GQ, Time, Sports Illustrated, and MLB The Show during a six-month span.

While the bona fide phenom has yet to partner with brands on social media–another potential marketing juggernaut for him and prospective sponsors–Ohtani’s 21% growth YoY in followers on Instagram, his only current social platform, offers would-be partners a potential audience of 1.5 million fans (and counting). His sole branded post so far: the announcement of his star turn on the cover of MLB The Show.

Ohtani’s relatively low social media profile aside, his outsize international appeal is such that he’s enticed a slew of Japanese brands to advertise stateside when he’s on the field–not only in Angel Stadium, but in other MLB ballparks as well. These far-flung brands bought backstop ads all season when the dynamo stepped up to bat: 22 scooped up signage at Angels home games, while 11 brands followed him to 10 opposing teams' stadiums.

The 22 brands buying “Shotime” at Angels home games were:

  • Konica Minolta
  • Honda
  • Sapporo Ichiban
  • Left-U
  • Daiso Japan Store
  • Yamada
  • Inpex
  • Yamadai
  • Nishikawa
  • Lotte
  • Cygames
  • JAE- Japan Aviation Electronics Industry
  • GungHo Online Entertainment
  • NEC
  • Bandai Namco Entertainment
  • Funai Electric
  • THK
  • Nikon
  • Yakult
  • Yokohama
  • Nitto Tire
  • Toyota

The first inning is prime time for these brands, as it all but guarantees exposure with Ohtani on the mound or at the plate. Suffice it to say that if the 2022 season is any indication, the sky’s seemingly the limit for “Shotime” within the sponsorship universe.

The 2022/23 NBA season–the league’s 77th–tipped off on Tuesday with a marquee doubleheader. As fans gear up for a slew of exciting match-ups over the next six months, here’s a glimpse at how the league’s teams and players fared on social media during the offseason.

NBA teams stayed active with 3,187 sponsored posts across 366 deals since mid-June, engaging over 18.7M followers–an average of 51K per deal and 5.6K per post.

Top 5 offseason posts (by total engagement):

  1. Bibigo x LA Lakers - 526K
  1. UCLA Mattel Children's x LA Lakers - 514K
  1. Rakuten x Golden State Warriors - 333K
  1. Oracle x Golden State Warriors - 227K
  1. Coinbase x Chicago Bulls - 197K

The Lakers and the Warriors dominated social media during their time off, generating a combined 42% of the NBA's total engagement. The Lakers accounted for 20%,  engaging 3.7M fans across 103 posts–40 of which were with Korean food company Bibigo, the team’s jersey patch sponsor. Five of the NBA’s 10 most engaging posts were Lakers’ branded posts, 3 of which were with Bibigo.

Engaging 4.1M followers across 291 posts–192 with Oracle–the Warriors were responsible for 22% of the NBA’s social engagement since last season ended. The team averaged engagement of 415K per brand, eclipsing the Lakers’ 234K per partner. The Warriors’ offseason social activity with Oracle amassed over 1M more engagements than any other NBA partnership, due in large part to its plethora of posts.

NBA players were also busy on social media during the offseason, as Lebron James and Giannis Antetokounmpo proved why they’re among the four highest paid players in the league.

Top 5 NBA player offseason posts (by total engagement):

  1. Lobos 1707 Tequila x Lebron James - 1.8M
  2. Sports Illustrated x Lebron James - 1.121M
  3. Brown & Brown Custom Clothiers x Giannis Antetokounmpo - 1.118M
  4. Zion Williamson x Jordan Brand - 585K
  5. RIMOWA x Lebron James - 579K

Athletes with supersize social media clout naturally command much bigger deals. Here are the NBA giants with the highest-earning endorsement portfolios, and some of their deep-pocketed brand partners.

Estimated NBA athlete endorsement portfolio earnings (Source: Sportico)

  1. Lebron James - est. $75M—, GMC, Ruffles
  2. Kevin Durant - est. $48M—NBA Top Shop, Weemaps, Nike
  3. Steph Curry - est. $45M—Rakuten, FTX, Literati
  4. Giannis Antetokounmpo - est. $44M—WhatsApp, Nike, Breitling
  5. Russell Westbrook - est. $25M—Jordan Brand, Converse, Varo

    DOWNLOAD Ballon d'OR SPRED Report HERE

    Congratulations to Karim Benzema and Alexia Putellas, the winners of this year's Ballon d’Or (“Golden Ball”) Award, presented in Paris on October 17th. Nominees for the annual award recognizing the best player over the previous year–presented by French news magazine French Football since 1956–included 30 men’s and 20 women’s football players from around the world.

    Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema–nicknamed “Karim the Dream”–was the favorite after winning the UEFA Nations League with France, the LaLiga title, the Spain Supercup, and the Champions League with Real Madrid, as well as the 2021/2022 UEFA Men’s Player of the Year. With 120M total followers, Benzema was the second most-followed Ballon d’Or nominee this year on social media. His partnerships with 6 brands–including adidas, Jean Paul Gaultier, Technogym, and–have generated 16M engagements and counting.

    Alexia Putellas won the women’s Ballon d’Or Award for the second consecutive year, becoming the first female player to win the title twice. Her elite run has boosted her social following a whopping 330% year-over-year to 3M across Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and TikTok. The FC Barcelona midfielder takes the 5th spot among both male and female Ballon d’Or nominees in terms of brand partnerships, garnering more than 2.4M engagements across 18 branded posts.

    With a staggering following of more than 740M, nominee Cristiano Ronaldo is the most popular person in the world on social media. He also leads the nominees in brand partnerships with 17, including LiveScore, Nike, Clear (Unilever), and CR7, his own underwear brand. With 18 nominations during his career–the most of any player–the Portuguese megastar has won 5 Ballon d’Or trophies, a feat surpassed only by Lionel Messi with 7 awards.

    Alex Morgan tops the list of female players on social media with an audience of more than 20M–ranking her 15th among all Ballon d’Or nominees by total followers. With 27 deals, the San Diego Wave striker also partners with more brands than any other female athlete. Morgan’s most engaging branded post–on Instagram with Beat Everybody, the clothing brand she cofounded with fellow US Women's National Soccer Team players Allie Long and Kelley O’Hara–has racked up 293K engagements since January.

    To learn more about these athletes and their social metrics, download the Ballon d’Or SPRED Report at

    While the storied careers of Roger Federer and Serena Williams–two of the best tennis players in the sport’s history–have just come to an end, both athletes are primed to continue their successful sponsorship careers off the court.

    With over 34M total followers each on social media, Williams is the most popular female tennis player across social media, while Federer’s following ranks second behind Rafael Nadal. Though both were wrapping up their careers, Williams’ followers increased 7% in the last 12 months, and Federer’s following grew by 3%. This year alone, Williams and Federer have 4 of the top 5 social posts (2 each) across pro tennis players, ranked by total engagement.

    Both athletes will almost certainly continue to leverage their powerful social platforms for brand partnerships. Williams’ 19 deals–among them Gatorade, Nike, Ubrelvy, Audemars Piguet, and Berlei–include 65 social posts, with total engagement (likes/comments/shares) of over 6M, averaging more than 324K per brand and 82K per post. Since 2020, Williams’ sponsored posts have averaged a total engagement of over 11M per year.

    Racket Sport athletes have seen a total social engagement of more than 80M this year. Over 550 brands currently utilize these athletes in campaigns, with each brand garnering average engagement of over 140K per campaign.

    While Federer’s sponsored posts since 2020 have averaged a significantly lesser total engagement of 1.4M per year, he’s focused on other promotional avenues over social media. Federer–who has the most deals among men’s tennis players by a significant margin over Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray–has starred in more than 8 commercials or marketing campaigns with brands including Rolex, On-Running, Uniqlo, and Switzerland Tourism, amongst others.

    More than 1,000 brands have partnered with collegiate athletes in NIL deals over the last 15 months, and that number continues to be on the rise.

    Through August 2022, 1,637 NIL partnerships have been inked across college sports, which collectively include 3,381 social posts. Engagement across all deals stood at 34M– averaging 20,839 per deal–while average engagement per post numbered 7,069, with 5.14% of followers engaging.

    Here’s a breakdown of the top 5 industry categories in the NIL space by number of deals, with a quick look at their respective leading players.

    Apparel & Accessories

    • The Players Trunk : 60% of the brand’s overall NIL partnerships are with men’s college basketball athletes.
    • Adidas: The brand has NIL deals with athletes in 8 sports, while 51% of its NIL partnerships are with female athletes (21% women’s soccer; 15% softball; 15% women’s volleyball).
    • American Eagle Outfitters: 46% of American Eagle Outfitters’ NIL partnerships are with college football athletes–30% of whom play for Ohio State. LSU gymnast Olivia Dunne’s 9 American Eagle Outfitters posts have racked up a total engagement of 2,333,957 so far.


    • Players’ Lounge: 91% of the gaming brand’s overall partnerships are with college athletes, of which 79% are football players.
    • Epic Games: College football players comprise 54% of the brand’s NIL partnerships are with football athletes. While female basketball players only account for 13% of its deals, University of Oregon’s Sedona Prince tops Epic’s partner list for highest total social engagement (25,489) and average engagement per post (12,745).
    • Mercury NFT: 68% of the brand’s overall partnerships are with college athletes: 62% in men’s Basketball and 6% in football.

    Quick Serve Restaurants (QSR)

    • Raising Cane’s: While 42% of the chicken finger specialist’s NIL partnerships are with football athletes, the brand is the only QSR that has a partnership with a (female) wrestler–Marlee Smith (Arizona State). Football player Stetson Bennet boasts the brand’s highest total and average engagement, at 46,964 and 23,482, respectively.
    • Krystal: 59% of the Georgia-based burger maker’s overall partnerships are with college athletes (37% football; 12% men’s basketball; 10% women’s basketball). Georgia women’s soccer player Abby Boyan is its one NIL deal outside of football and basketball.
    • Bojangles: 27% of the chicken-and-biscuit brand’s NIL partnerships are with female athletes (23% women’s basketball; 5% softball), while 52% are with football players.


    • FTX: 65% of the brand’s NIL partnerships are with football players, while 23% of FTX’s overall partnerships are with college athletes (17% football; 6% men’s basketball). Sacramento State men’s basketball player Deshaun Highler totaled 19 posts for FTX, with a total engagement of 33,233.
    • H&R Block: 94% of the tax prep company’s partnerships are with female athletes. South Carolina women’s basketball player Zia Cooke leads its list of athlete endorsers: 5 of her posts for the brand scored total engagement of 200,248 followers.
    • Current: 53% of the fintech brand’s NIL partnerships are with football players. Nebraska Women’s volleyball standout Lexi Rodriguez and Arizona State women’s wrestler Marlee Smith boast Current’s top two total engagements on social, at 8,628 and 1,858, respectively.

    Non-Alcoholic Beverages

    • UPTIME Energy: 44% of the brand’s overall partnerships are with college softball players. It’s 1 of 6 brands (along with Magic Spoon, Champs Sports, DoorDash, DSW, and Met-Rx) to have a partnership with a men’s soccer athlete–Jared Panson of Brandeis University–and 1 of 2 non-alcoholic beverage brands (along with Rowdy Energy) to partner with a lacrosse athlete.
    • Simple Truth: 55% of its overall partnerships are with men’s basketball players.
    • Six Star Pro Nutrition: 24% of the brand’s total partnerships are with college basketball athletes (16% men’s; 8% women’s). It’s the only non-alcoholic beverage partnered with a (female) golfer: Stanford University’s Rachel Heck.

    The top 5 brands by number of deals in the NIL space are:

    1. Hooters: 40% of the brand’s overall partnerships are with college football players. One of its notable NIL deals outside the sport is with University of Arkansas golfer John Daly II, son of professional golfer John Daly.
    1. Players’ Lounge (see above)
    1. FTX (see above)
    1. Raising Cane’s (see above)
    1. Degree: The deodorant brand has deals with athletes across 11 college sports; 24% of its NIL partnerships are with female athletes.

    While many brands are singling out top players to partner with, some are casting a wider net–like Hooters, which in August signed 51 offensive linemen from 10 top college football programs.

    And although brands are integrating college athletes into their marketing in various ways, social media remains the top go-to tactic for them all–utilized in over 90% of NIL partnerships.

    Following is a snapshot of social engagement garnered by these deals (which average 2 posts per partnership) across college sports through August 2022. Top deals are ranked by average engagement per post, with a minimum of 3 posts.

    College Football

    A perennial fan favorite, college football’s NIL deals number 598 and include 1,235 posts. Total engagement across all posts was 2.7M, averaging 4,564 per deal, while average engagement per post was 1,618, with 4.17% of followers engaging.

    Top deals:

    1. Braden Galloway (Athletic Brewing Company): 22,875
    1. Shedeur Sanders (Beats by Dre): 11,244
    1. Bryce Young (Cash App): 8,490
    1. Bryce Young (Logans Roadhouse): 6,870
    1. Bryce Young (Subway): 5,873


    Despite having just 52 deals with a collective 88 posts, women’s gymnastics trumps all other college sports by social engagement, with a whopping 19M across all posts, averaging 224,327 per deal. Average engagement per post was 74,776, with 5.48% of followers engaging.

    Top deals:

    1. Olivia (Livvy) Dunne (Vuori Clothing): 401,619
    1. Olivia (Livvy) Dunne (American Eagle Outfitters): 259,329
    1. Olivia (Livvy) Dunne (Bartleby Technologies): 126,714
    1. Jordan Chiles (GK Elite): 7,323
    1. Elena Arenas (Starface World): 3,688

    Men’s Basketball

    With a total of 328 deals spanning 635 posts, men’s basketball–another high-profile fan favorite–boasts total social engagement of 3.8M, averaging 11,710 per deal. Per-post engagement averaged 4,198, with 4.54% of followers engaging.

    Top deals:

    1. Adrien Nunez (Celcius): 31,376
    1. Shareef O'Neal (Savage x Fenty): 29,448
    1. Deshaun Highler (The GLD Shop): 18,880
    1. Deshaun Highler (VKTRY Gear): 12,778
    1. Jimmy Sotos (Celcius): 8,244

    Women’s Basketball

    At 5.4M, women’s college basketball’s total social engagement is second only to women’s gymnastics–averaging 23,163 per deal, with 234 total deals spanning 430 posts. Average engagement per post was 8,828, with 4.51% of followers engaging.

    Top deals:

    1. Hanna Cavinder (PSD Underwear): 138,537
    1. Casey Ferguson (Wingstop): 76,540
    1. Jada Williams (GymShark): 49,610
    1. Zia Cooke (H&R Block): 40,050
    1. Jada Williams (Spalding): 20,764


    Though baseball’s storied standing as one of America’s all-time favorite sports is undeniable, its following at the college level–on social media, at least–pales in comparison to others’. With 52 deals encompassing 92 posts, total engagement was just 161,000, averaging 3,100 per deal. That said, its social followers–though few in number–are devoted: per-post engagement averaged 1,119, with a whopping 9.79% of followers engaging.

    Top deals:

    1. Tim Elko (Raising Cane’s): 5,381
    1. Landon Sims (J. Parkerson Jewelers): 1,753
    1. Cayden Wallace (Academy Sports + Outdoors): 1,507
    1. Taylor Young (Gordon McKernan Injury Attorneys): 542
    1. Steele Netterville (Gordon McKernan Injury Attorneys): 356


    With 83 deals encompassing 159 posts, softball’s total engagement was 1M, averaging 12,427 per deal. Average engagement per post was 4,352, with 5.17% of followers engaging.

    Top deals:

    1. Lauren Burke (REVOLVE (Eminent): 12,736
    1. Montana Fouts (H&R Block): 5,614
    1. Jayda Coleman (Win Reality): 2,133
    1. Baylee Klingler (Outback Steakhouse): 1,176
    1. Kaley Mudge (Garnet & Gold): 1,058

    The 2022 NCAA football season begins this weekend with this year's "Week 0" games.

    We highlight collegiate football athletes this year who have already amassed a large NIL endorsement portfolio.

    Kevin Harvick won his second-straight Cup on Sunday during the NASCAR's Richmond Fall Race.

    Harvick partners with 12 brands, including deals with Xfinity,

    Subway, Rheem Manufacturing, Campers Inn RV, and Busch Beer.

    NASCAR Endorsements

    Lollapalooza kicks off its 4-day festival in Chicago with Metallica headlining tonight.

    Notable brands Metallica works with include ESP Guitars, Blackened American Whiskey, The Coda Collection and Yousician.

    2022 Lollapalooza Chicago

    Summer X Games

    July 20, 2022

    As the X Games Summer '22–which kicked off Wednesday in San Diego–streams live on ESPN+, it’s a prime time for a closer look at the dynamic sponsorship market for extreme sports.

    Nearly 450 brands are actively investing in the extreme and action sport athlete space, where athletes/influencers average 5 sponsorship deals each, and 47% have 5 or more. A whopping 89% of these deals leverage social media as a key component: Instagram image and video posts rank first and third, respectively, as utilized assets.

    Sportswear manufacturer Oakley, a favorite of competitive snowboarders and skiers, tops the list of brands continuing to grow in this market, followed by Vans, which sponsors skateboarder Tom Schaar and BMX biker Kevin Peraza. Toyota, LEKI, and Smith Optics round out the top 5 spots.

    Not surprisingly, Apparel & Accessories, Non-Alcoholic Beverages, and Leisure & Recreation comprise the top 3 industry categories, each with three times as many deals as Retail, fourth on the list. Energy drinks like Monster Energy and Red Bull dominate the beverage category, with more than 90% of total endorsements.

    The 135th Wimbledon Championships began today, with many big names competing in the largest tennis event of the year.

    We highlight the endorsement deals for the top two seeds in both Men's and Women's singles.

    On International Surfing Day we highlight one of the most dominant Pipe surfers of his era, John John Florence.

    100% of Florence's partnerships include social content, where he averages over 57,000 engagements per brand.

    John John Florence Trading Card

    On the field, there is little Jocelyn Alo can't do. She is a 2x Women's College World Series champion, 3x First Team All-American, all-time NCAA home run leader and #1 overall pick in the 2022 WPF Inaugural College Draft.

    To celebrate World Softball Day, let's take a look at her NIL and social game.

    World Softball Day Jocelyn Alo (1)

    We are quickly approaching 50 years since Title IX forever changed the game for girls and women in sports. Not only that, but next month marks 1 year for NIL endorsement deals for NCAA. While women in college sports have made strides on the field, they have also had success off with brands seeking their partnership and chance to leverage their social following.

    Lauren Burke of the Longhorns might have lost the World Series title, but she’s a winner in terms of number of deals. Burke has 16 deals which leverage her 94KK social following.

    Which brands have tagged the Softball star as a new partner?

    7-Eleven, CASETify, Mercari & Brumate are a few of the brands leveraging Burke’s social following. Across her social posts each brand has an average engagement of nearly 50K which accounts for over 5% of her total audience. Lauren has 20 branded posts overall which brings the total engagement over 750K.

    Female athletes in other college sports have also been able to successfully create partnerships with brands. Hanna Cavinder a Fresno State basketball player, Jordan Chiles a UCLA Gymnast & Brooke Roberts who plays soccer for Arkansa all have 10 or more endorsements. Not a bad stat to have in under a year! Cavinder & Roberts each have over 2M social followers, though Cavinder doubles Roberts following with 4.4M. With such a large following, Cavinder’s brands see an average engagement of nearly 100K. With TikTok being her most used social platform (making up 4M of her total following), 17 of her 22 brand deals have been tagged on TikTok.

    Within the women’s college sports landscape, WingStop, H&R Block, Degree, UPTIME Energy & Outback Steakhouse are the top five brands signing female college athletes to deals with each brand having over nine deals. Social Media is the top asset utilized in these deals as 85% of the time the athletes are tagging their brand partners in social media.

    Governors Ball

    May 30, 2022

    Festival season is in full swing and given the cancellation of many festivals due to Covid, artists and brands are ready to take center stage. The Governors Ball at Citi Field kicks off today with headliners Kid Cudi, Halsey and J.Cole.

    Cole & Kid Cudi both have a strong social following of over 15M however, shockingly enough J. Cole doesn't have a single deal and Kid Cudi only has one (Cadillac since mid-2021). Halsey on the other hand has leveraged her social media presence of over 45M for her four endorsement deals- Verizon, Ipsy, Magnum Ice Cream & About-Face Beauty.

    While the headliners are heavy in followers but light in terms of deals, Jack Harlow stands out amongst the artists having a staggering 140% increase in social followers YoY and brands have jumped on the opportunity to partner with the rising star.

    Although Harlow has seen a massive increase in social following due to his rising popularity, Harlow has consistently had 7-10 endorsements over the last three years. A few of his current deals include Sprite, Venmo, KFC, New Balance, & Verizon.

    Born in Kentucky, Harlow has stated in an Instagram post that he was going to be the biggest music artist ever to come out of Kentucky. Once he started to establish his dream, there was no better brand to partner with the rising KY star than KFC. As part of the partnership, Harlow’s face and name can be seen on KFC buckets and carryout bags. This is a unique collaboration that very few other artists have had the opportunity to do. Other artists with a unique QSR partnership within the last two years are Travis Scott x McDonald’s, Burger King x Nelly, Lil Huddy x Anitta.

    The PGA Championship concluded this Sunday as Justin Thomas took home the Wanamaker Trophy in a nail-biting three-hole playoff victory against Will Zalatoris.

    16 new brands signed on with the PGA tournament as broadcast advertisers this year, including adidas, First Horizon Bank, and Morgan Stanley.

    PGA Championship IR

    Sunday saw Max Verstappen win the 2022 Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona. After their home race, we compare the two Spanish drivers - Carlos Sainz of Scuderia Ferrari and Fernando Alonso of BWT Alpine.


    Over the last two years, it’s no shock there has been a rise in family social media accounts and family social media influencers. This goes for those who want to stay in touch, to those who want to rake in the deals. Four semi-known families have managed to turn their family social media accounts into a semi-empire (and no, we’re not talking about the Kardashians’).  The Royalty Family, The Holderness Family, The Bee Family and The Bee Family have all established a name for themselves in the Family Influencer space.

    Which brands have leveraged these families' followers?

    With 2.1M followers between their Tiktok and Instagram,  the Royalty Family utilizes their 17.1M subscribers to showcase their 11 brands deals including notable deals with Chime, Staples and Centrum.

    Coming off being crowned the winners of Season 33 of the Amazing Race, the Holderness Family features nine brand deals showcased across their five social media platforms with over 6.5M followers. Some of their more notable deals include AT&T, King’s Hawaiian and Great Clips.

    With the most combined followers of the group, the LaBrant Family has over 50M followers across their five social media platforms. With eight brand deals including King’s Hawaiian, Cash App and SHEIN.

    Lastly, the Bee Family has secured five brand deals to their 32M followers across five social media platforms. Some of the most notable brands include Welch’s, Kraft Heinz and Team Seas.

    These four families have quickly gained popularity over the last two years and enjoyed increased followers and brand deals over this time. As the rest of the year plays out, the family influencer space will be one to monitor for an increase in followers and brand deals.

    Checkout some of the brands they partner with and how they leverage brand deals across their social media platforms.

    Family Influencer accounts (4)

    The final round of the FA Cup took place this weekend as Liverpool defeated Chelsea in a penalty shootout.

    We compare the social media presence and deals of Chelsea striker, Romelu Lukaku, with Liverpool defender, Trent Alexander-Arnold.

    Liverpool Vs. Chelsea

    On Thursday May 12th the world celebrated International Nurses Day. A day filled with gratitude toward a profession which has been working tirelessly over the last few years. During the Pandemic, there was a massive uptick in nurses taking to social media to share their stories and shed light on their heroing industry.

    Miki Rai, a nurse, now nurse and social media influencer, has secured over 10 deals and has over 2.1M followers across Instagram, Facebook and Tiktok. This nurse's quick rise to fame has opened the door for unique categories (in particular healthcare brands) to leverage social media like never before.  

    Rai has endorsed popular healthcare brands including Vicks, Lubriderm, and Unisom. Rai also works with brands to help encourage and educate the next generation of Nurses. Rai alongside the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses and BoardVitals are using her social media presence to help raise awareness for various health issues and help walk prospective nurses on the process of the board exams.

    Overall in the healthcare space, BetterHealth leads the way with 60 sponsorship deals. 82% of the sponsorship deals come in the podcast industry with influencers coming in 2nd with nine sponsorship deals. Invisalign comes in second with 49 total deals. 25 of those deals come from the NFL with 10 deals with teams, one with the league, and 14 with NFL Athletes.

    Next on the list is Kaiser Permanente which has 39 deals including deals within four of the top five Pro Sports leagues. AdventHealth, Florida Hospital, comes in 4th on the list with 25 sponsor deals spread across various leagues and the state of Florida. Lastly, American Medical Response comes in 5th with 25 deals. These deals are spread across multiple sports teams and leagues including three Buffalo based teams with the Buffalo Bills, Buffalo Bulls and Rochester Americans.

    With Mother's Day coming up this Sunday, we take a look at the sponsorship and media activity of four notable celebrity mothers: Serena Williams, Kris Jenner, Kate Hudson, and Cardi B.

    Mother's Day

    MLB Endorsements

    April 21, 2022

    International superstar Shohei Ohtani has garnered an impressive 188% increase in social followers YoY. That has translated into signing more than 10 endorsements with brands globally. How does that compare to teammate Mike Trout? Trout’s social following has only grown 2% over the past year but it has not slowed down the amount of deals he has which are in the double digits.

    How does this compare to other star players around the league?

    Signing mega deals for a player's “performance” has not always meant endorsement deals off the field. Two examples of this are Max Scherzer & Gerrit Cole who are the two highest paid pitchers in baseball. Each player totals only two deals, both have a deal with Rawlings, while Scherzer has a deal with Indeed and Cole with Nike. Notably, both of these players are not as active on social media as some other star players having under 1 million followers each.

    Philadelphia Phillies outfielder Bryce Harper comes to mind when thinking about players like Trout having more than five endorsements off the field while signing big contracts for his game play. Harper has over 2 million followers on social media that his brand partners like Dairy Queen, Gatorade & Fanatics leverage. Harper's followers average a 4% engagement rate on his social posts totaling over 380k engagements, the most of the five athletes mentioned. Ohtani leads the group with 11 total deals and highest.

    The Masters is such an exclusive event when it comes to tournament sponsors, therefore it allows more room to highlight golfer’s individual partnerships. Scottie Scheffler took home the coveted green jacket Sunday, and it’s fair to assume his brand partners also felt like they won. Scheffler, the #1 ranked golfer in the world, works with six brands including Nike, Veritex Community Bank, TaylorMade, and Titleist. Congratulations to these brands on their maximum exposure during the Masters, and as Scheffler continues his hot streak on top.

    While Scheffler’s brand partners are capitalizing on his green jacket win, let’s see how his sponsorship numbers par up to the top five finishers. And what about those other guys favored to win?

    Top 5 Finishers

    1st Scottie Scheffler | 6 Brands

    2nd Rory McIlroy | 19 Brands

    T3rd Shane Lowry | 7 Brands

    T3rd Cameron Smith | 8 Brands

    5th Collin Morikawa | 12 Brands

    Top 5 Favorites to Win Masters

    Justin Thomas | 10 Brands

    Jon Rahm | 10 Brands

    Brooks Koepka | 7 Brands

    Collin Morikawa | 12 Brands

    Cameron Smith | 8 Brands

    Interestingly enough, Scheffler has the least amount of deals when compared to his competition, but that stat will likely not stick around for long. Take Collin Morikawa for example, after winning his first major back in 2020, his deals increased by +140%. This year he was a fan favorite to win along with his 12 brand partnerships. It will be interesting to see how Scheffler’s Masters win, and first PGA win, will affect his number of deals. Will his endorsements skyrocket like that of Morikawa? What brands will be next to leverage Scheffler’s game and highly engaged social media following?

    Golf | Endorsements

    April 7, 2022

    The most anticipated golf tournament of the year is finally here as the Masters tees off in Augusta. Over 280 brands have an endorsement deal with golfers across the world, and these brands use the Masters as their runway to showcase their partnerships with the best of the best. On average, each professional golfer has 5 endorsements. Brands are eager to get premium placement on players hats, shirts, bags, and shoes. In regards to the most partnerships with golfers, ROLEX and NetJets lead the way for non-apparel brands while Titleist and TaylorMade are #1 and #2 respectively across all categories (no surprise there).

    So who are the top betting favorites we’ll see on the course this weekend? And which lucky brands are capitalizing on these players' social following?

    The top five betting favorites heading into the tournament are Justin Thomas, Jon Rahm, Scottie Scheffler, Dustin Johnson, & Cameron Smith. Johnson leads the group in terms of social media followers with over 2 million across IG / FB / channels. Having the least amount of followers is Scheffler. However, his followers are highly engaged making Scheffler’s average engagement rate over 65% on his branded posts. Four of these five golfers have deals with both NetJets and Titleist, brands that are sure to garner extra exposure throughout the weekend.

    Aside from Apparel & Accessories, Watches & Jewelry, Banking, and Software companies are the most frequent categories signing golfers to endorsement deals with their brands. The top three brands within these categories are Rolex, Veritex Community Bank, & respectively.

    Golf Endorsements

    With March Madness wrapping up earlier this week, it signifies the end of the first ever March Madness tournament in which many athletes participating have NIL deals. Before the tournament began, Chet Holmgren and Paolo Banchero signed a deal with Yahoo! Sports in order to promote the company’s bracket “Pick’em game”. In addition to this deal, Sheets and Giggles (a mattress company) signed five athletes to be a part of their “Sleep Sixteen” campaign. This initiative promoted the effects of a good night's sleep by partnering with five female and male athletes who played the least amount of minutes on their teams, educating fans on the importance of rest.

    During the tournament, two unlikely athletes were able to capitalize on big time moments.

    The first being Doug Edert, who helped lead the 15th seeded Saint Peters Peacocks to a historic Elite Eight run. During this run Edert capitalized by signing a NIL Deal with Buffalo Wild Wings. Another unlikely deal came from an athlete, but not on the court. During the Saint Mary’s vs. Indiana first round game, a ball got stuck on top of the hoop. When nobody could get the ball down, Indiana cheerleader Cassidy Cerny saved the day by getting the ball down. Days after the game, BreakingT signed a deal with Cerny creating a shirt to encapsulate the moment.

    Five popular basketball players have been taking advantage of the new NIL rules. Azzi Fudd, Zia Cooke, Paige Bueckers, Hailey Van Lith, & Paolo Banchero all have over four deals and more than 250k social media followers.

    March Madness #1 Seeds

    The first round of the 2022 Women's NCAA Tournament starts today as the 64 teams look to make deep runs in the six-round tournament.

    We highlight the partnerships and social media presence of the four #1 seeds schools: South Carolina, Louisville, Stanford and NC State.

    Over 115 brands have taken advantage of signing a men’s college basketball player to a NIL deal since granted access in July 2021. Mercury NFT claims the #1 overall spot with 11 total NIL deals. The brand’s college portfolio includes Dontaie Allen, Keion Brooks Jr., Davion Mintz, Jacob Toppin, TyTy Washington, along with Coach John Calipari of the Kentucky Wildcats.

    Rounding out the top four spots are Morgan & Morgan (10 deals), FTX (7 deals) and Raising Cane’s (7 deals). 48% of Morgan & Morgan’s total sponsorship deals are with collegiate basketball players while FTX continues to expand their portfolio across numerous colleges and leagues during the 2021 and 2022 seasons.

    The technology category has over 30 endorsements within the NIL space with NFT’s accounting for nearly 50% of tech category deals. Ranked by sub-categories in technology, NFT is second after Non-Athletic Apparel/Footwear. Cryptocurrency is 5th as brands lean on the younger generation to promote the blockchain technology that has recently revolutionized the technology industry. Instagram is the most utilized social media platform by these athletes as it beats out Twitter in terms of the number of branded posts.

    10 of the Kentucky Wildcat players have landed in the top 30 for NCAA men’s basketball players in terms of NIL endorsement deals. Here is the full list of the top athletes with 5 or more endorsement deals:

    NIL deals

    2HYPE | Endorsements

    March 14, 2022

    YouTube sensation 2HYPE was founded in 2019. The members have been growing their gross social following of 20+ million since early as 2014.

    Checkout some of the brands they partner with and how the group leverages brand deals across their social media platforms.

    The Lineup 2HYPE
    SXSW Endorsements

    Billboard and Samsung Galaxy will host three nights of concerts during SXSW 2022.

    We highlight the endorsement deals from 4 of the biggest performers at the event: KYGO, Shawn Mendes, Young Thug, and Sebastian Yatra.

    Paralympics Endorsements

    With the Beijing 2022 Paralympics coming to an end this weekend, we spotlight some of the amazing Paralympic athletes and their endorsement deals across the world.

    Securing five medals at the 2022 Paralympics in Beijing, the ParalympicsGB (Great Britain) have signed a three-year agreement with Salesforce that will aim to bring fans and athletes closer than ever before. Within the partnership, Salesforce will engage fans around the globe creating different visualizations to deepen the reach of the athletes and achievements of the ParalympicsGB team.

    As the 2022 Paralmypics come to an end in Beijing, SponsorUnited highlighted four of the athletes with over 10 endorsement deals each.

    Millicent Knight competes in alpine skiing and has multiple brands endorsed on her jersey including LEKI, HEAD, Booster Straps and UVEX on her helmet and goggles.Mike Schultz leverages his Instagram to promote his brands and has an impressive average engagement rate of 13.61% with a total engagement over 145,000. Within the social posts Schultz has, Bridgestone, Tempo, Intel, and Visa can all be seen all across Schultz’s Instagram.

    Mark Arendz and Owen Pick each have over 10 endorsements. Owen is a snowboarder and has brands on his jerseys featured during the games, while Mark also hits the slopes in the Para-Nordic skiing events with brands on his jersey as well.

    Heading into March Madness, Degree has launched a “Bracket Gap Challenge” to raise awareness around the NCAA Women’s tournament. The announcement comes during International Women’s Week as the brand teamed up with WNBA star Candace Parker encouraging fans to fill out a women’s bracket. Degree has deals with female athletes in the college volleyball space as well as with Ali Kreger, soccer player for the U.S Women’s team.

    In addition to Degree’s support of women and college athletes, the top two brands supporting women’s empowerment causes are Simmons Bank and Chase. This week Chase and the Golden State Warriors announced activations scheduled throughout March aimed to amplify women’s voices and to help establish an equal playing field.

    Simmons Bank created a multi-university initiative with 10 schools becoming the presenting sponsor of Women’s Athletics at each. The goal of these sponsorships is to expand beyond the traditional elements of a sponsorship deal and emphasize custom programming and increased career opportunities for female student-athletes.

    The top ranking NFL players in terms of endorsements during the 2021 season were: Rob Gronkowski, JuJu Smith-Schuster, Russell Wilson, and Travis Kelce. Each player has over 25 brand deals; Gronk leads the way with 30 deals leveraging his 8.7 million social followers. He ranked #7 among NFL athletes for most social followers. Gronk has starred in commercials for T-Mobile alongside longtime teammate, Tom Brady. He also has appeared in a Wolf & Shepherd commercial and USAA. Although having the most deals, the highest average engagement per post comes from rival tight end, Travis Kelce, who has a 4.33% avg engagement compared to Gronk’s .78%. Russell Wilson leads the group in total engagement with over 3 million likes/shares.

    Over 1,000 brands had endorsement deals with NFL players during the 2021 season, a big uptick from 2020 seeing a 51% increase. The most active brands partnering with players were Verizon, adidas, BodyArmor, Nike, and Bud Light, while the fastest growing categories were Apparel, Technology and Financial.

    The average engagement per branded post for players was 12.6K compared to the slightly higher engagement for teams with 14.5K. For players with a minimum of 10 branded posts, the average engagement was 16K, inferring that the most active NFL athletes are getting more engagement on posts than teams.

    This past Sunday was Love Your Pet Day, and over 130 brands have bought sponsorships / media with pet influencers.

    Two of the most notable pets who have entered the endorsement scene are Kingsley and Chai - Goldendoodle siblings. The duo was made famous on TikTok and are ranked #22 in total following for pet influencers, with 773k social media followers.

    Kinglsey and Chai Goldendoodles

    Shaun White's Final Ride

    February 23, 2022

    The fourth most followed extreme sports athlete, Shaun White has accumulated 7.5M social media fans while leveraging 15 brands across his portfolio. His most engaged post was inspired by his relationship with Louis Vuitton as a tribute to Virgil Abloh.

    White is ranked fifth in total brand partnerships within extreme action sports athletes. Marco Odermatt ranks second in total deals and has an amazing average engagement rate of 78.8% compared to White's engagement of 1.6%. On average each brand White has a deal with has had two social media posts in the last 12 months while having  a total engagement of over 800k with his 29 posts.

    After qualifying for the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics, Shaun White signed a major deal with energy sports drink CELSIUS, joining numerous athletes such as Dustin Poirier, Amanda Nunez, and Julius Randle as the brands newest athlete partner.

    Sunday, February 20th, Team LeBron takes on Team Durant in the 2022 NBA All-Star Game hosted at Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse.

    Los Angeles Lakers superstar, LeBron James, has seen a 21% increase in social followers and a 75% increase in brand endorsements this season. On the other side of the court, Kevin Durant of the Brooklyn Nets has seen a quick boom in endorsements featuring Coinbase, Weedmaps, Degree, Master & Dynamic, and Nike. Not to mention his investments with the Philadelphia Union.

    This Sunday, Team LeBron takes on Team Durant in the 2022 NBA All-Star Game hosted at Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse.

    Los Angeles Lakers superstar, LeBron James, has seen a 21% increase in social followers and a 75% increase in brand endorsements this season. On the other side of the court, Kevin Durant of the Brooklyn Nets has seen a quick boom in endorsements featuring Coinbase, Weedmaps, Degree, Master & Dynamic, and Nike. Not to mention his investments with the Philadelphia Union.

    NBA All-Star Weekend LeBron James Endorsements
    NBA All-Star Weekend Kevin Durant Endorsements
    NBA trade deadline

    On the final day of the NBA trade deadline, the Brooklyn Nets and Philadelphia 76ers pulled off a blockbuster deal trading James Harden for Ben Simmons among other players.

    Simmons, who hasn't played this year, still ranks #10 in the NBA in total endorsement deals and has outperformed Harden in terms of branded post engagement, with almost 1% of his total followers liking/sharing/commenting on posts where he promotes a brand. Playing has its benefits, however, as Harden has grown his follower base by 129% this year, compared to 9% by Simmons.

    According to SponsorUnited data, Nike and adidas lead the way in terms of sponsorship deals with NBA athletes. Similar to the overall NBA, the two brands battle back and forth to land more deals. In this instance, adidas has landed Harden while Nike has Simmons. BodyArmor, a Harden partner, and Verizon, a Simmons partner, both also are in the top 7 in terms of sponsorship deals while Verizon edges out BodyArmor narrowly.

    Karl-Anthony Towns leads the way in the NBA with 16 endorsement deals followed by Trae Young with 13 followed by Jayson Tatum with 12. Lebron James has the most total social followers in the league north of 185 million with Steph Curry behind him over 60 million. Although Bron may take the lead in followers, Curry has a .91% engagement rate while Bron's is .38%.

    Opening Ceremonies for the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games took place today. Spotlighted are endorsement deals for some of the top competitors from around the world competing in the games.

    Alexis Pinturault from France competes in his 3rd Winter Olympics as an alpine skier. Pinturault has 14 partnerships across 10 categories, including deals with Red Bull, Agence, Zoom, and Bollé.

    It's National Girls & Women in Sports Day and we are highlighting female college athletes who are leading the way in NIL endorsement deals.

    Notably, the WWE has signed the Cavinder twins after the two broke into the industry July 1st signing duel NIL deals with Boost Mobile. Boost Mobile and the WWE touted their new endorsers with billboards in New York's famous Times Square. Hayley Cavinder edges out her sister Hanna, having one more deal for a total of 10.

    Similar to college football athletes, Raising Cane's also targeted woman college athletes being the second most active brand signing NIL deals with woman in college athletics. Degree is currently the top brand in the space having social posts incorporated into all of their deals, while 80% of all NIL deals include social posts according to SponsorUnited'a data.

    On average, every female in college sports with 1 endorsement deal actually has at least 2 deals. Over 100 brands have entered the space in the 6+ months that College NIL deals have been legal. There is still tons of opportunity for partnership growth tied to female college athletes as there's over 475 brands with Men's college athletics deals.

    Ariana Grande and Fortnite created a campaign in game called the “Rift Tour” giving players the ability to navigate throughout the game for an in game concert experience.

    Looking for more insights on partnerships in the technology category? Stay with us this week as we release our Technology Sponsorships Annual Report!

    In an article published by Forbes earlier this month, the two top earning TikTok influencers in 2021 came from the same family. Charli D’Amelio took the #1 spot with 134M followers earning nearly $18M and older sister Dixie D’Amelio has 57M followers earning just about $10M over the course of last year earning her the #2 spot.

    Reported by SponsorUnited own data, Charli has partnerships with 10 brands including Dunkin, Cerave, Takis, and Simmons Sleep. Utilizing not only TikTok, Charli posts here endorsements on all of her social media channels including Twitter, Facebook and Instagram brining her total following to nearly 200 million overall. Rather than having static images for her endorsement deals, Charli creates TikTok videos which incorporate her partners into them, most notably with Dunkin’ and Takis.

    Simmons Sleep tapped into both of the D’Amelio sisters followers partnering with both influencers providing their fans the opportunity for a bedroom makeover. Dixie has 9 deals, one less than her sister while partnering with higher end brands such as Versace and Valentino. These partnerships differ from her younger sis, as they are more centered around a "high-end photoshoot" v.s the videos created by her sister. With Dixie approaching the age of 21 later this summer, makes us wonder what other brands will leverage the her massive social following of over 86M.

    The NFL playoffs are here after the first 17-game regular season. Josh Allen’s Buffalo Bills will host rookie Mac Jones and the New England Patriots on the CBS Saturday Primetime spot for NFL’s Super Wild Card Weekend.

    Josh Allen leads the QB matchup on the field as his team won the AFC East and also off the field in total social followers and total partnerships. Working with 14 brands across 12 categories during the 2021-22 season, Allen has notable deals with West Herr, Buffalo Wild Wings and Labatt Blue.

    Mac Jones comes in slightly behind Allen with 11 total deals and 70k less social followers. Jones was part of the Bose NFL Draft 2021 campaign which featured the five rookie QB’s selected in the first round including Zach Wilson and #1 Draft pick Trevor Lawrence. Following in former Patriot QB Tom Brady’s footsteps will be no easy feat, but Mac Jones is on his way after a stellar start on and off the field his rookie year.

    The players with the most deals in the NFL are Rob Gronkowski and JuJu Smith-Schuster, both have 29 total deals. Gronkowsi has nearly 10 million followers on social media giving his brand partners like Bud Light, Hims & Hers and Hisense tons of visibility. Juju Smith-Schuster, who is known to be a gamer, has over 257,000 followers on Twitch and has deals with tech brands like HyperX, HP, & Microsoft Surface.

    Over 890 brands have signed an endorsement deals with a NFL player this season. Adidas leads the way in terms of total deals while Verizon is a close second followed by Nike. On average, each player in the league signed a total of four deals while each brand has an average of three. 77% of all deals include a social media post as brands look to leverage the athletes platforms to attract fans towards their campaigns.

    NFL 2021 Wild Card Weekend Patriots vs. Bills

    With the start of a new year, fitness resolutions are top of mind for many.

    We highlight the top fitness trainers and influencers in the sponsorship and media space. Remi Ishizuka has six deals in the retail category as well as food products which include Kohl's, Walmart, Nuun Hydration& Tic Tac.

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