Sunday, January 7, 2024

Should Only Top Athletes Get Sponsorship?

I was in Australia for the past 2 weeks and happened to come across news of a 400m runner, Alica Schmidt of Germany. Questions arose on social media on why she was being sponsored by Hugo Boss despite her not so stellar performances on the track.

Schmidt's Hugo Boss ad
Though she had represented Germany at world and European level, and made the 4x400 m relay at the 2020 Olympics,  she did not compete at the Olympics. She has also never won a major individual title. Actually, she 'only' ran the 147th fastest time in the 400m in 2023. 

Schmidt revealed that she only gets 700 Euros while representing Germany so it is impossible to make a living from athletics. Her main source of income comes from social media where she has 4.8 million followers on Instagram and 2 million follwers on Tiktok which helps her pursue her sporting career.

Bella Hadid's picture from Nike 
This hate or backlash is is not new. Back in 2017, Nike announced that fashion model Bella Hadid would be the face of its previously popular Cortez sneaker, designed in 1972 for runners. If you're an older runner you will remember the Cortez, after all even Forrest Gump (pictured below) used it for his runs.

Picture from Sneaker news
The Cortez was being re-released as a fashion/ lifestyle sneaker. This followed a series of fashion models being chosen to front the campaigns of other sportswear brands - Kylie Jenner (Puma), Karlie Kloss (Adidas) and Gisele Bundchen (Under Armour) just to name a few.

Naturally, some professional athletes have picked up on this back then and commented against this trend (pictured above).

If you were the decison maker at Hugo Boss, would you also pick Schmidt? Both athletes and models can be influencers/ ambassadors for brands. Just because Schmidt is not a world or Olympic athletics champion means she is less valuable to Hugo Boss since Hugo Boss is not a sports brand. 

Shaunae Miller-Uibo
Schnidt has great looks, blond hair and blue eyes, essential in the entertainment industry but not mandatory in the sports arena. She will be able to showcase Hugo boss to a wider audience and increase their sales. She may actually bring more audience to athletics. Shaunae Miller Uibo (pictured above) won the 400 m event at the 2016 and 2020 Olympics. She looks good too, but would you pick her over Schmidt if you were looking for someone to front your campaign?

Should only top athletes get sponsorship? iI's a dog eat dog world out there. Athletes (and models) have short sporting lifespans and that can all end with a single major injury. So I say let all athletes and models take advantage of what they have while they can be it sporting ability, personality or looks.

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