18 Top Sports Influencers Every Sports Brand Should Know

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Influencer marketing has spread like wildfire in the online world. Due to the ease of launching campaigns and the massive returns on them, many marketers around the world have started using this powerful marketing strategy.

Major industries, including beauty, fashion, and ecommerce, have started using influencer marketing and the sports industry is no different. Various sports brands around the world have begun collaborating with sports influencers and athletes to spread the word about their brands.

Let’s take a look at 18 of the top sports influencers you should know.

1. Cristiano Ronaldo

The famous footballer, Cristiano Ronaldo, is definitely one of the biggest sports influencers out there. With over 169.5 million followers on Instagram, he’s also one of the most popular users on the platform. Numerous sports brands lineup to collaborate with him due to his solid engagement rate of 3.24% in spite of the massive following.

2. Leo Messi

Yet another famous footballer, Lionel Messi is also very popular on Instagram. With more than 121 million followers and a solid engagement rate of 3.12%, he’s the go-to guy for brands. Being one of the best football players in the world, he’s definitely one of the best sports influencers on Instagram.

3. Rafael Nadal

With a fan following of over 15.6 million on Twitter, Rafael Nadal is one of the most famous sports influencers on the platform. He’s collaborated with various sports brands such as Nike and endorsed their products. Nike Pays him approximately $53,000 per tweet.

4. Roger Federer

Just like Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer has collaborated with top brands such as Nike. He’s got about 12.5 million followers on Twitter and 6 million on Instagram, and that makes him one of the biggest sports influencers on social media. However, the fee charged by Federer is less, at about $33,000 per tweet owing to his smaller audience.

5. Carly Manning

Carly may not be a sportsperson, but she definitely is one of the best sports influencers on Instagram. With over 474k followers, she’s the go-to person for many sports brands who want to take advantage of her huge follower base. This is one cheerleader you must reach out to for getting your brand out there.

6. Paul Pogba

Paul Pogba is yet another famous footballer. He plays for the French national team and has gathered over 30 million fans on Instagram. With a total of over 43 million fans across Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, he’s one of the best sports influencers on social media. You can collaborate with him to reach this massive audience with ease.

7. Luis Suárez

Luis Suárez plays football for FC Barcelona and the Uruguay national team. He’s got an enormous fan following totaling to 64.7 million on all major social media platforms, and that makes him one of the best sports influencers out there. It’s common to see him collaborate with major brands such as Puma

8. Lewis Hamilton

One of the few Formula 1 racers out there who has gathered a huge follower base on social media, Lewis Hamilton has to be on this list of sports influencers. With over 8 million followers on Instagram, he’s the one person brands can rely on to promote themselves on the platform to F1 fans.

9. Fernando Alonso

Fernando Alonso is yet another popular Formula 1 racer, and he drives for the McLaren team. One of the best F1 drivers in the history of the sport, Alonso has also garnered a massive fan-base on Twitter with almost 2.5 million followers. This has made him one of the most famous sports influencers on the platform.

10. Mohamed Salah

Mohamed Salah, the famous footballer from the Liverpool FC is one of the best sports influencers on Instagram. With a little over 28 million followers, he’s got quite an audience for brands. However, he performs a lot better than many other sports influencers when it comes to engagement as his engagement rate is 6.36%!

11. Dude Perfect

Dude Perfect has over 42 million subscribers on YouTube. While this isn’t an individual sports influencer, the entire team of Dude Perfect is definitely one of the best sports influencers on YouTube. They became popular quickly on the platform for their trick shots and comedy. Brands collaborate with them frequently to reach their huge audience.

12. Furious Pete

Furious Pete has over 5 million followers combined across different social media channels. He’s one of the best sports influencers out there when it comes to eating food. A holder of 6 Guinness World Records, he’s eaten 15 hamburgers in 10 minutes in the past! He’s also one of the most famous bodybuilders on YouTube and Instagram.

13. Shaun White

A snowboarder, Shaun White, is one of the most famous sports influencers on Twitter and Instagram. He’s got 3 Olympic gold medals to his credit, and he regularly shares photos and videos about his life on social media. Several brands have collaborated with him in the past to reach his audience.

14. David Price

David Price is a baseball player and has garnered a huge fan following on social media. He’s got over 400k followers on Instagram and 1.8 million on Twitter. With a solid engagement rate of 2.4%, he’s one of the best sports influencers for brands to collaborate with to spread their message.

15. Travis DesLaurier

Travis is a fitness enthusiast, and when it comes to bodybuilding, he’s one of the best sports influencers on social media. He’s got a combined fan following of 2 million across all the social media channels. He frequently posts about building muscles, basketball, acting, and animals.

16. Kalaniballfree

Kalaniballfree, or Kalani Ahmad, is one of the finest social media sports influencers out there. He shot up to fame when he started posting videos of himself doing some basketball tricks on Vine. In the past, he’s worked with major brands such as Samsung and HP. Also, he’s performed on America’s Got Talent.

17. James Rodríguez

James Rodriguez is a Colombian footballer and plays for Bayern Munich. He’s gathered over 41.4 million followers on Instagram, and that makes him one of the biggest sports influencers on the platform. With an engagement rate of 3.19%, he’s a great person to help brands spread their word on social media.

18. Grant Wahl

Grant Wahl is an American journalist who’s known for his articles in Sports Illustrated. He also serves as a correspondent for FOX Sports. With 856k followers on Twitter, he’s one of the biggest sports influencers on the platform. You can also expect high engagement on all of his posts.

Final Thoughts

If you want to promote your sports brand to a mass audience, you can collaborate with sports influencers. They have huge fan followings and high engagement rates that can ensure that your products are seen by a lot of people on social media. As of the sports influencers mentioned above are macro influencers, so you may need to have a big budget to collaborate with them.

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Written by GRIN Contributor

GRIN is the pioneer behind the world’s first Creator Management platform built to support every brand’s journey to connecting with consumers through authentic creator relationships. Thousands of the world’s fastest-growing brands—including SKIMS, Warby Parker, Allbirds, Mejuri, and MVMT—use GRIN to make creators feel like trusted, empowered partners and work with them to build their brands into household names.