Today, July 23rd, 2021, marks the first day of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. A strange sentence, right? Whether you’re a sports enthusiast or not, I’m sure that you’ll tune in to the Olympics at some point. And, with last year’s games being postponed due to the ongoing global pandemic, the anticipation this year has been immense.
The Olympic Games are officially running between the dates of July 23rd and August 3rd, in Tokyo, Japan. Not too long ago, an announcement was made that spectators would not be allowed at the games this year. But, don’t worry, because not only can you live stream the events, you can also stay up-to-date with all the action through some of the athletes’ social media pages. But, Olympic athletes aren’t the only social media sports people out there. Keep reading to see not just Olympic athlete content, but other sports influencers to inspire you too!
What are sports influencers?
Within the influencer marketing industry, the category of sports and fitness is incredibly popular, with athletes and sports personalities from all different backgrounds and sporting levels. In fact, you don’t even need to be athletic to be a sports influencer. You will find influencers in this category that are possibly coaches, presenters, photographers, and more.
When you think about sports influencers, you will most likely think of the most common types, such as footballers, hockey players, gym trainers, etc. There’s a whole variety of content available within the category, no matter what your sporting interests are. There’s not just a total variety of content, but also several social media platforms to find it on too.
Another typical assumption that we would all make is to believe that sports influencers are only working with sports-related brands. However, this definitely is no longer the case. In the past, you would see big-name sporting brands like Nike working with Olympic athletes for their social media campaigns or television adverts. However, as influencer marketing has grown to become one of the top marketing strategies in 2021, we are seeing small and large sporting people working with all sorts of brands. These days, it’s typical to see someone like your local gym trainer with 10K followers promoting a small food or hospitality business. Influencer marketing is expanding and growing, creating endless opportunities for sports influencers.
Top sports influencers
When we talk about the ‘top sports influencers’, this doesn’t necessarily mean those with the highest follower count. Some may refer to it as this. But, as you may know, follower count won’t always result in the best influencer campaigns.
So, let’s take a look at some popular sports influencers, not only covering the successful campaigns they have worked on, but some interesting sports content to watch out for too.
Michael Phelps is one of the most well-known former Olympic athletes. With 28 Olympic medals across five different games, Phelps holds not only the most Olympic medals, but also the highest number of gold medals too, combined between both individual and team events as an American swimmer.
You have probably seen Michael Phelps competing in an Olympic swimming race before, but have you seen the social media campaigns that he has worked on? Although working on several sports-related campaigns, Phelps has also partnered with big brands of completely different industries, such as with Colgate, and most recently a campaign with Reese’s.
Simone Biles is another American Olympic athlete, this time in gymnastics. She is considered the top American gymnast, and one of the highest performing gymnasts in the world, with a combined total of 30 medals across Olympics and world championship competitions.
Like Phelps, Biles has worked on both sports and non-sports-related influencer marketing campaigns across the years. One of the biggest campaigns being with Coca-Cola, the official sponsor of the Olympic games. However, one of her most recent campaigns has been with United Airlines, making sure that she made it safely to Tokyo for this year’s games.
Another Olympian that we have on the list is Naomi Osaka, a Japanese tennis player competing at the games this year. She is the reigning champion from the US Open and Australian Open, at just 23 years old.
As well as working regularly with Nike, Osaka spends her time modeling too, being featured on the front cover of Vogue. She also works with a variety of brands from small to big, such as her recent campaign with the American healthy food-chain restaurant, Sweet Green.
Looking at a slightly different type of content, British canoe-slalom athlete, Bradley Forbes Cryans, is a great example. This will be his first year competing in the Olympic games, although has been competing at international level since 2012.
Like many other athletes and sportspeople, Bradley has gained a large following on TikTok. If you’re wanting to stay up-to-date with the latest content from Tokyo, then TikTok is the place to look. Many of the athletes are posting content that has been going viral, such as videos taking a look inside the Olympic village.
Within just a few months, Bradley has grown his TikTok account to more than 15K followers, showing us everything about his Olympic experience so far. Check out the goodie bags sent to the Olympic athletes from Samsung!
Taking a step away from the Olympic athletes, let’s take a look at another type of influencer that you would find in the sports category. Chelsea Trevor is a Canadian social media influencer covering content from a few different categories, such as sports, lifestyle, and beauty.
As well as a large following on Instagram, Chelsea is probably most well-known for her YouTube content. She posts regular vlogs, following her daily lifestyle activities, as well as videos about her skincare routine, eating habits, and her sporty lifestyle with workout videos.
Micro influencers have become incredibly popular within the sports category. Many people look up to sports influencers for informative content, as well as opinions and inspiration. Micro influencers are considered the most authentic type of influencer, with the best engagement rates in the industry. We have an article about why nano and micro influencers have the fewest fake followers on Instagram, which i’d encourage taking a read of.
Kitty Jones, a sports micro influencer from England, is a great example of this. Getting into fitness throughout the pandemic in 2020, Kitty managed to grow her account with a group of loyal followers that trust her thoughts.
Influencers like this will often team up with brands to form a long-term partnership. This will typically involve regular content from the influencer, alongside discount codes being offered to their followers, like you can see in Kitty’s bio. This type of partnership is one of the most common amongst sports and fitness instagram influencers.
To sum up, sports influencers come in all shapes and sizes. Not only do you not need to be an Olympic athlete, but you don’t actually need to be an athlete at all to be a sports influencer. Yes, this group of influencers typically provide content surrounding their sporting interests and abilities, but as mentioned before, you may even spot a sports photographer or presenter!
Stay tuned with these influencers over the next couple of weeks to get all of the latest news and excitement from the Tokyo Olympics.