- Data suggests women athletes, who generally earn less on-field than men, rely more on sponsorships for their income.
- Some sports-marketing firms have emerged to fill the gap, connecting women athletes with brands.
- Below are seven agencies and firms focused on helping athletes in women’s sports score brand deals.
As women’s sports surge in popularity and brands jump in, female athletes are starting to get more business opportunities off the court or field.
More WNBA stars, such as Elena Delle Donne and Sabrina Ionescu, are landing signature sneaker deals with top brands like Nike. Star athletes like Sue Bird and Naomi Osaka are starting their own businesses. And, at the college level, brands are finding young women athletes like Olivia Dunne are among the best-performing partners on social media.
But, while industry experts say investment in women’s sports can be summed up in a word, “more,” as of 2022, 90% of partnership dollars in sports were still being directed to men athletes, per a sports” data-analytics-product-module=”body_link”>recent report by The Collective, a women-focused division of the sports-marketing and talent-management agency Wasserman, which cited data from SponsorUnited.
The report also found women athletes, who generally earn less on-field than men, depend more on sponsorship dollars — with endorsements making up 82% of the highest-paid athletes’ average income, compared with 37% for men, according its analysis of Forbes data on athlete pay in 2022.
A crop of sports-marketing companies has emerged to bridge this gap with a focus on helping women athletes partner with brands. As Marketing Brew has reported, some of these firms were created in the past few years by veteran marketing execs. Specialized teams are also forming within larger agencies, such as The Collective within Wasserman.
Insider is highlighting seven sports-marketing companies focused on partnerships between women athletes and brands in 2023, based on our reporting and nominations from industry experts. Some of these agencies represent or work directly with female talent and help them score business opportunities off the court or field. Others advise brands interested in women‘s sports, including at the athlete level. For each of these companies, women’s sports is core to their business.
The firms are listed below in alphabetical order:
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