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MKTG'S 2018 Marketability Watch: Athlete Edition

MKTG'S 2018 Marketability Watch: Athlete Edition

6 Minute Read

  • The #HumansOfMKTG met to discuss a list of Athletes to Watch for 2018 from a marketability perspective.
  • MKTG’S list stems from the sport categories of baseball, basketball, football, hockey, tennis, boxing, soccer and snowboarding.
  • Two of our picks are “Athletes to Watch” that will be present at this year’s Winter Olympics and FIFA World Cup.

As we enter a new year, MKTG recognizes the many athletes who have been popularized throughout 2017. Based on how these athletes have increased their marketability - we sent out a survey asking the #HumansOfMKTG to submit an “Athlete to Watch for 2018”. The next step was to take these submissions and discuss a shortlist with the broader group. The following athlete picks are some of MKTG’s favourites that were discussed at our Roundtable.

#HumansOfMKTG Featured: Iain SimeMatthew Logue, Alex Maryuen, Artsiom Biba and Kyle Goncalves

Quotes were taken from our featured Humans at our Athletes to Watch for 2018 Roundtable. Our list is not ranked and in no particular order.

#1 Aaron Judge



After a successful 52 home run rookie year, Aaron Judge is one of the most talked about athletes in the MLB and has begun pulling in Tier-1 endorsement deals.

Iain: For years, baseball has lacked compelling young stars - but now Judge is part of a young and exciting movement of athletes who act as the face of the league. He’s unique and talented – being on the Yankees will only support his growth.

Artsiom: He’s the gentle giant playing for the right team at the right time. He’s on a team that has high brand recognition – it’s a perfect match.

#2 Marcus Stroman

Toronto Blue Jays pitcher has taken his MLB career to the lifestyle market. Brands have leveraged Stroman’s style, persona and connection with millennials to create authentic partnerships. For example, his deal with the new American Express Cobalt Card – a credit card campaign rooted in using social media and influencers that millennials love and recognize.

Matthew: He embraces what his personal brand means and communicates that through his active social media platforms.

Kyle: Marcus to me breaks the mold of traditional sport sponsorship by not being shy to integrate lifestyle brands that want to partner with him. He’s a man of many talents – he plays well and he’s in the music and fashion scene which makes him well-rounded.

#3 Auston Matthews

Auston Matthews is currently the face of the Toronto Maple Leafs and brands are starting to tap in such as Scotiabank who has signed him as their newest Teammate and Brand Ambassador where one of his roles will reinforce Scotiabank’s commitment to kids community hockey.

Matthew: He’s smart and focused. He doesn’t comment on things that are outside his realm and maintains the interest of viewers. He is truly focused on being an amazing and respectable player on the ice.

#4 Joel Embiid



As one of the most exciting and talented young players to enter the NBA, Embiid catches and maintains the attention of fans with his entertaining persona.

Alex: Aside from his performance, he is known to post controversial content that sparks a large online conversation. He’s another great example of an athlete that establishes his personal brand. He is consistent on his social which develops a great relationship with his fans - basketball fans find Joel entertaining and appreciate his transparency.

Iain: Philadelphia is huge basketball city so Joel is playing for the right team. The controversial posts and conversations get him the attention he needs for brands to reach a large scale audience.

#5 Sloane Stephens

Sloane has won the 2017 US Open despite potentially being hindered by foot surgery earlier that year. Her high performance, strong family bond and relatable personality has garnered the attention and recent 2018 partnership with Nike

Iain: She’s been an up and coming player in the American circuit and now, has recently won the 2017 US Open. She’s young, charismatic, social media savvy and fresh to the sport scene which is extremely attractive for brands.

#6 Lonzo Ball

Lonzo’s growth in 2017 has landed him a spot on the Lakers and his high-profile family dynamics have earned him notable brand collaborations with retailers such as Foot Locker.

Alex: He is someone that doesn’t even need to be as engaged online because his Dad will do it for him and he shows no signs of slowing down. With the Big Baller Brand and their reality TV show on Facebook titled “Ball in the Family” - Lonzo will continue to make headlines in 2018.

#7 Aaron Rodgers



As one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL and with consistent performance, Aaron has secured multi-year deals with brands and has helped propel the success of brands such as State Farm.

Matthew: Regardless of age or injuries, he has all the attributes and is a savvy endorser who has done compelling work for State Farm and others. Aaron is front and center as the leagues focal point and is winning big for himself and for the brands he partners with.

#8 Anthony Joshua



UK’s favourite Anthony Joshua is an Olympic Gold Medalist, holds one of the longest combined title streaks in modern boxing history and has been recently ranked as the world’s best active heavyweight.

Artsiom: Boxing is still developing. When you look into the history, you have the household names such as Ali and Pacquiao - Josh has the full potential to become one. He’s a great boxer and an Olympic champion. The entire country (UK) is standing behind him, which doesn’t always happen with athletes.

#9 Jamie Anderson

As another successful Gold Medalist, Jamie has a strong sense of her personal brand and what she stands for which puts her on the radar for the 2018 Winter Olympics. Jamie is expected to defend her gold medal as she placed first in the U.S qualifying rounds.

Kyle: Aside from her accolades, Anderson is quoted as a role model for young women due to her dedication to fitness, self-love, passion for sustainability and dedication to the sport. Something special to look out for is her unique style of snowboarding which is noted as confident and feminine which helps her stand out among her competition which is an attractive attribute for brands.

#10 Joshua Kimmich



With this year’s FIFA World Cup around the corner, Kimmich's talent has landed himself a role as “the future of the club and the country” (Germany).

Kyle: Germany is a favorite at the 2018 FIFA World Cup where Kimmich is expected to be a breakout performer. Brands who invest now can position themselves as early partners in his success.

Who is your favourite Athlete to Watch for 2018?

 Tweet us @MKTG_Canada.

Picks of the Week: January 8, 2018

Picks of the Week: January 8, 2018

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