Sports has the power to influence masses, apart from being just about fun games and accolades. Professional sports people can also use their names to make monetary gains for themselves. There are brands that when you think of, a certain athlete crosses your mind. An example for this is the relationship between Puma and Usain Bolt, Tiger Woods and Nike as well as Lionel Messi and Adidas to mention a few. Brands are continuously changing the game when it comes to creative marketing campaigns focusing on an athlete endorsement

Such endorsements usually continue beyond an athlete’s active years in sports, even after retirement some of these athletes engage in ambassadorship deals with these brands. A lot of brands are receiving a good feedback from such deals, so much that they are even endorsing upcoming athletes who have not yet made a name for themselves at an international stage.

So what can a budding athlete do to secure sponsorships and also make monetary gains off the field? Here are a few pointers on how to go about doing that.

Be the brand: Before brands can endorse you, make sure you take good care of yourself. You live like an athlete, behave in a manner in which brands can see value in endorsing you. Your behaviour off the field will most likely determine whether anyone would want to be associated with you or not.

Be more than just an athlete: Most brands pride themselves for being able to give back to communities, you can also try on your free time to visit NGO’s who might need help. Do this out of the goodness of your heart. Try as much as possible to be a people’s person. This will surely help improve your outlook.

Knock on doors: It is important for you to create your portfolio of what you do as a sports person and what you also do off the field for the greater good of the community and your contributions to society in general. This will help to give you contactable references for when they want to do a background check on you.  Once you have a portfolio, you can try to knock on certain doors and see if anyone might be willing to work with you. You will be surprised as to how many people are willing to endorse you. And besides you will never know until you try.

Utilize social media: Nobody would want to endorse an invisible person, be active on social media. Brands want to know that if they give you soccer boots or running shoes, you will be able to post on your social media pages thanking them, in that way they know that your followers know which brand you are using or associated with and they too can also want to buy that brand.

The sooner you realize your potential as your own business entity, the sooner you will generate off-field revenue opportunities and endorsements.  Some of today’s athletes who have created a strong brand image earn more off the playing field than on it.  Here are three athletes who make more from endorsements than they do from their sports career:

TIGER WOODS has been one of the best-paid athletes in the world for around two decades, and he is now valued at $640 million. Regarded by many as the greatest golfer that the world has ever seen, Woods won his first major in 1997, having turned professional at the age of 20. He has won a total of 14 major golf tournaments over his career, and been ranked world number one for longer than any other golfer in history. After a slump in form, Woods’ annually earnings are down to $600,000, yet he is still earning $50 million in endorsement deals, meaning around 98% of his earnings are not through golf.

ROGER FEDERER is the most successful and many consider the greatest tennis player of all time. He has won 17 Grand Slams, more than any other man in the history of the sport, and is still world number 2; his longevity and success is unprecedented. He has made more money in winnings than any other tennis player in history, earning $6.5 million through his success on the court annually; but this is still dwarfed by the $65 million a year raked in through endorsement deals. Federer’s biggest deals have been with Nike, Mercedes-Benz, Moet & Chandon and Gillette, he is estimated to be worth around $350 million.

MARIA SHARAPOVA is one of the finest female tennis players of her generation, with the Williams sisters being the only active female players who are more successful than her. Sharapova made a huge impression as a youngster, becoming world number one at the age of just 18. She has struggled for injuries for much of her career but has managed to win at least one singles title every year between 2003 and 2015. Sharapova is the highest earning female athlete in the world. She earns $6.7 million through her tennis playing and $23 million in endorsements. Sharapova has a number of major brands she endorses, including Head, Cole Haan, Nike, Porsche and Samsung.

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