With anticipation for the new NFL season reaching a fever pitch as the Kansas City Chiefs host the Detroit Lions tonight at Arrowhead Stadium to officially kick it off, brands are eagerly eyeing buzzy new partnerships with league athletes. But beyond on-field success, savvy marketers need to consider these star players’ other attributes—like social media performance—especially if social is a key component of a brand's campaign asset mix. With the league already tracking to blow past its record staggering 100M social media engagement record set last year, 69% of NFL player deals currently include a social media asset. Let’s take a closer look at some of football’s social superstars.
Garnering a dazzling 6.1M in total engagement from 36 unique branded posts, Tyreek Hill leads the league in engagement across all social media. The Miami Dolphins wide receiver’s TikTok post with Soul Runner, in which he ran track for the first time since college, scored the highest engagement of all NFL player posts last year with 3.6M, while the Hill/Soul Runner campaign was also the most engaging campaign between a player and sponsor, at 5.8M. The 2020 Super Bowl champion partners with 8 brands–adidas, Hublot, and Manscaped among them.
Patrick Mahomes takes second place with total engagement of 3.2M across 47 posts. With more than 20 deals with brands including Oakley, State Farm, and Walmart, the two-time Super Bowl Champion and MVP has the most partnerships and highest engagement of all NFL quarterbacks, as he prepares to lead his team in its quest for a fourth championship ring and back-to-back Super Bowl victories.
George Kittle scores the third spot with 1.6M in engagement across 30 unique posts, making him the tight end with the highest engagement in the league. The 49ers player’s sponsorship stable includes 18 deals with brands like Adobe, Bud Light, and Playstation. Little Caesars recently partnered with Kittle on a series of commercials to activate its partnership as the league’s Official Pizza Sponsor for the second consecutive year.
Kittle’s teammate Christian McCaffrey takes the title of the NFL’s most engaging running back on social media, with 61K across 10 posts. The Colorado native endorses 7 brands, including BodyArmor, Dolce & Gabbana, and Hyperice.
Cade York has the highest engagement of any NFL kicker, totaling 13K with 3 posts. The Tennessee Titans player has deals with Sarchione Auto Gallery and Russell’s BBQ.