The reasons for why companies decide to invest in sports sponsorships vary. However, the key reason should no longer be just about brand visibility. It should be about creating engagement with fans by getting the athletes to tell a story.

A study by Catalyst Public Relations revealed that sports fans that follow their favourite athletes on social media are 55% more likely to purchase a brand if an athlete mentions it on Facebook or Twitter. How this study was created or whether it is 52% or 56% is not the point - I wish to discuss it because it's hard to dispute the power of the right endorsement within social media

Only recently have we seen the outcome of crafting a clever social media message in the case of Carl Icahn's multi-billion dollar tweet about Apple.

A sports start now has the ability to validate themselves with a brand by using social media data to create a match.  It can then be part of the content solution and finally they are able to distribute the campaign itself.

So why is it not being used more effectively? The reason I believe is because it sits right in the middle of two worlds - that of traditional sponsorship and digital media.  There in lies the challenge the two worlds don't speak the same language.

However, we are seeing smart brands bring these worlds together to activate great campaigns. They are able to get the best of these strategies to come together with impressive results.

Brands should be leveraging the engaging social content from influential advocates, sponsored athlete – it’s the most underutilised social marketing asset. Most importantly make it relevant and authentic!

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