A college athlete and TikTok star is competing with world famous female athletes for valuable endorsements.
Professional soccer player Alex Morgan is the most endorsed female athlete of 2022 with 27 brand deals, overtaking Ali Krieger, Serena Williams and Naomi Osaka after placing fourth in 2021.
In another striking development, brands showed interest in NIL college athletes (now permitted to benefit from use of their “name, image or likeness”). Hanna Cavinder, a guard with the Fresno State Bulldogs, debuted in this year’s list at number six. Her path to fame, along with her twin sister Haley, took the TikTok route where they have millions of followers. They are believed to have earned more than $ 1 million from NIL deals.
The brands. Alex Morgan has struck deals with Coca-Cola, Google, Chipotle, Michelob Ultra and AT&T among others. The Cavinder sisters have been working with sports, nutrition and apparel brands.
The list is based on data collected by SponsorUnited, a global sports and entertainment intelligence platform and published in its “Women in Sports 2022” report. SponsorUnited tracks 700,000 sponsorships across 200,000 brands. Cavinder is the most searched athlete on the platform, beating Williams and Morgan.
Why we care. We’ve been following the story of the marketing opportunities created by the youth and authenticity of college athletes for some time, including their ability to connect with younger consumers. That’s valuable in itself, and it’s also good to see NIL athletes able to translate their fame into dollars; colleges have been translating their talent into dollars for years.
What’s fascinating here is the addition of social media stardom to the mix. The Cavinder twins have over four million followers on TikTok alone — leading to a college basketball guard being of more interest to potential sponsors than a winner of 23 tennis grand slams or a soccer World Cup star.
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