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  • MAP Asia Pacific Ltd

Why Brands Should Act Like Athletes

Not that long ago, if you wanted to interact with your favorite athlete, your best and only shot was to go to a game and plead for an autograph. We can all bring to memory those endearing black-and-white photos of kids at a game, arms extended and eyes wide in admiration as they yearn for even a nod in their direction from their sports heroes. For decades, the fan/player relationship was high on mutual respect but low on meaningful touchpoints. The only true engagement was relegated to the brief moments when the two overlapped at a game.

Those days are over.

Beginning over a decade ago with the advent of social media and expanding via fast-emerging technologies that have become widely accessible, professional athletes have begun to forge new, stronger and more dynamic bonds with their fans that have brought the two closer together.

In short, many athletes are modern-day omnichannel marketers, leveraging a wide range of tools to connect with their fans in ways that give them the flexibility to engage how, where and when they want. Today's brands would be wise to take note of this unexpected model.

Athletes As A (Brand's) Role Model

Today, the channels in which fans can access athletes are myriad. Athletes' social media accounts give a unique window into their personal and professional lives, and a surprising number actually post and reply to fan comments themselves. Many have popular podcasts or YouTube channels where they talk to fans and answer questions. Some have retail or alcohol brands accessible to anyone.



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