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Exclusive: Female athletes are the most effective influencers—and brands like Skims and Nike are reaping the benefits

- Slam dunk. Brands are investing in female athletes like never before, from Skims' recent campaignwith WNBA players like recently-retired Candace Parker and rookie Cameron Brink to Caitlin Clark's $28 million eight-year Nike deal. Even the WNBA pregame tunnel is now a fashion showwhere luxury brands can showcase their designs on players including A'ja Wilson and Breanna Stewart.

Those brands are getting a return on their investment, according to a new report. Parity, a platform that connects female athletes with brands, conducted a study in partnership with SurveyMonkey. They found people are 2.3 times more likely to purchase a product when it's endorsed by a female athlete, compared to another kind of influencer, Fortune is the first to report. For people who identify as fans of women's sports—even watching just a few times a year—that goes up to 2.8 times more likely.

Parity CEO Leela Srinivasan hypothesizes that people's admiration of female athletes—and their understanding of the obstacles women face to forge careers in sports—make these players effective marketers compared to both male athletes and influencers across entertainment and culture. Fifty-seven percent of people trust that female athletes believe in the product they promote, compared to 50% for male athletes. Eighty-eight percent see female athletes as role models. In some markets, the effect is even more pronounced. In Germany, women's sports fans are five times more likely to purchase a product endorsed by a female athlete compared to anyone else.

"Trust and authenticity are everything in marketing," she says. "Combine these signals—role model status, overcoming obstacles to succeed, and trustworthiness—and it's not surprising that women athletes have a strong influence on purchasing behavior."

From longtime athletic sponsors like Nike that are investing more in women players to brands like Skims and Glossier getting into sports for the first time, this data is a sign their choices will pay off.

"With the odds historically stacked against them, people admire professional women athletes," Srinivasan says, "because they have to work even harder to make it in the sporting world."

Posted: 5/16/2024 8:16:48 AM by Jordan Davis | with 0 comments
Filed under: Brand, Marketing, WNBA