On social networks and YouTube, sport is the third most viewed content segment after music and lifestyle. Sport requires such an implication that many internet users go there to look for examples to follow on networks and dedicated blogs. So content creators stand out, they are the sports influencers. Their audience is skyrocketing, and they enjoy above average engagement rates. How can you involve them in your campaign? We’ll guide you with a look at some examples for France.

Running influencers

Running or jogging has no less than 6 million regular enthusiasts in France (source: Le Parisien, 2013). It’s a mass sport par excellence, performed at any age, by both sexes, either occasionally or more regularly. So one of the most active online communities is none other than digital moms (source: Linkfluence), who publish their testimonials on their blogs, seeking recognition as much as encouragement.

Another big group of followers are the techies, who’ve found in jogging the connected sport par excellence. This hasn’t gone unnoticed by major brands: in 2015, Adidas acquired the leading Runtastic app. On their blogs, tech enthusiasts also publish their tests of the latest gadgets or dedicated apps allowing them to track their performance.

For running, we find more micro-influencers than real connected stars. (Photo credit: antas singh, Pexels)

With social networks, one way to find these profiles is to search for the most followed profiles by searching on the hashtags #Runtastic or #NikePlus for the Nike app. For blogs, look to a platform linking advertisers to influential sites like getfluence.

Fitness influencers

We have spoken about micro-influencers for running, but when it comes to fitness we’re more in the realm of macro or mega-influencers. If these nuances aren’t clear to you, before continuing, delve into our article on different types of influencers and their respective effectiveness.

YouTube is certainly the leading platform for fitness enthusiasts and bodybuilders. One of the reasons for the dominance of YouTube can be found for this fun fact revealed by Google France (in French): 39% of Internet users viewing sports videos are actually doing physical exercise at the same time!

This ranking of the 2017 French fitness influencers, aggregating data from several platforms (YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat), gives a good overview of the most popular profiles. (Source: Vidclust, 2017)

Despite the sheer size of their audience, mega-influencers still manage to achieve high engagement rates. It must be said that fitness enthusiasts eagerly seek motivation and inspiration and are more willing to offer mutual encouragement.

The most popular of them in France, Tibo InShape, even became the 10th biggest influencer in France in 2018, all categories combined! The MyProtein brand had the right idea in using the star’s services during a visit to its factory, posted in this dedicated video, reaching a million views. Tibo also offered a discount code to use on the MyProtein website, generating many orders.

Football influencers

It’s the most played sport in France, with more than 2.1 million club members. A real national passion, which has made the Blues the best team in the world (source: FIFA rankings, 2018). Such popularity generates its share of influencers, and they’re everywhere: YouTube, Instagram, blogs…

On YouTube, it’s freestyle football that has taken off, influencers publishing their acrobatic performances on video. In this area, Séan Garnier is a leading figure, with 2.1 million subscribers. Unibet also used his services during the Football World Cup this year in Russia, with the video below. Result: 250,000 views and 11,000 blue thumbs.

Major sports equipment manufacturers can also combine their sponsorship efforts with influencer marketing, for example by inviting a YouTuber to meet one of the stars under contract with them. That’s exactly what Puma did by inviting Footstyle to train with Giroud, the face of the brand.

On Twitter, influencers have emerged, in particular through commenting live football games. One of the most popular is called Philou with 80,000 followers. He has become an ambassador for the PMU brand.

Lastly on the editorial side,  there’s a wealth of resources on the getfluence platform, a dozen French blogs and specialized sites have made their columns available for you, among which football365.fr, Zone-Foot, Top-Football, or the most specialized, Foot-anglais.net.

Football 365 has 2-3 million hits per month. A partnership with this influential site won’t go unnoticed! (photo credit: screenshot football365.fr)

E-sport influencers

We can’t talk about sports and the web without mentioning e-sports. It is a theme of choice for targeting millennials, followers of this new largely underestimated phenomenon. In fact, in France, 7.5 million Internet users(!) follow e-sport news.

Unsurprisingly, football also has a prominent place. Players publish their games online, sometimes live when streaming to YouTube or Twitch. A YouTuber like Abdoulaye Sarr (265 000 subscribers) didn’t take long to be noticed by EA France. Since then, he has published multiple videos for the official game FIFA 18.

They don’t really have the charisma of great champions, but they generate gigantic audiences, so Orange didn’t hesitate… (Photo credit: screenshot Millenium.team)

A good way to associate your brand with e-sport is to sponsor either an official competition like the ESWC or a specific team such as the Millenium team which has an exclusive partnership with Orange. All this visibility is of course costly, you have to pay for such an audience.

Sport conveys positive values, and appeals to all audiences: you don’t necessarily need to be directly involved to associate with influencers. If you’re a small brand, football or e-sport may not be the most affordable choice. On the other hand, running and dozens of other sports have influential influencers and bloggers who will spread the word about your brand!