Top Sports Brands Highlight Motivational Sports Speakers

Here is our list of the Top 10 Sports Brands Endorsing Athletes and why they are important to consider when hiring your next motivational sports speaker.



In today’s Wild West of brand marketing, sports brands continue to spend millions upon millions of dollars to utilize the image, likeness and services of today’s most reputable athletes. Collectively, the money spent on athlete endorsements from major corporations eclipses the billion-dollar mark each year! As an event planner or simply the lucky employee chosen to hire a sports speaker for your upcoming corporate event or fundraiser, some simple research into who the top sports brand’s find relevant could make your job a lot easier.

Why do companies spend so much money in order to secure the marketing services of an athlete? It’s simple; athletes have proven to be one of the most marketable forms of celebrity, able to market sports related products and regular consumer goods with a great ROI for the brand. What does this mean for you? Well, an athlete’s ability to effectively deliver a brand message often directly relates to their ability to connect with an audience at a keynote speaking engagement or any type of paid speaking engagement for that matter. If these top sports brands are willing to invest their time and efforts into an athlete for an endorsement deal, you should be taking notes. Maybe the LeBron James and Derek Jeter’s of the world are out of your budget range, but keying in on past and present sports stars who double as great brand ambassadors can be crucial when pinpointing the right sports speaker for your event.

1. Nike: This sports apparel giant is consistently at the threshold of innovation in the sports industry. Similarly, they are able to secure some of the biggest athletes in the world in every sport. Yes, the likes of iconic Nike athletes like Rory McIlroy or Kevin Durant are going to come with a pretty pricey fee for paid speaking engagements, but you can be sure if they’re sporting that Nike swoosh, you’re looking at the cream of the sports endorsement crop.

2. Adidas: Over the years, the 3 stripes brand has endorsed an impressive roster of top tier athletes that can only be rivaled by Nike. Adidas is the official apparel manufacturer for the NBA and they have a number of active and former NBA brand ambassadors including Dwight Howard, John Wall, and Dikembe Mutombo. The brand has also embraced a decidedly international flavor as an official sponsor of the FIFA World Cup. The diverse group of current and former Adidas athletes should provide you with plenty of options to investigate.

3. Under Armour: The last of the big three has a collection of products that have revolutionized the way athletes train and perform in any weather. Under Armour utilizes successful athletes that play into the “tough” mentality their products convey. These athletes and motivational sports speakers include but are not limited to former NFL player Ray Lewis, NBA player Brandon Jennings, and MLB superstar Bryce Harper.

4. Subway: Just take a look at the number of reputable sports stars they have used for commercial purposes in the past few years. The numbers are astounding and the wide-ranging sports and achievements of each athlete even more incredible. Robert Griffin III, Mike Trout, Nastia Liukin and Michael Strahan are just a few of the names that come to mind. Subway hires sports speakers with inspiring backstories that would make for the perfect topic of conversation at a leadership conference or fundraiser.

5. Gatorade: This go-to sports drink isn’t just for the Florida Gators any longer. Gatorade is perhaps the most widely recognizable and consumed sports drink in the U.S. and potentially the world. Gatorade uses athletes as a way to script their winning narrative on the sports field. Today, the company endorses current and former champions such as Dwyane Wade, Mia Hamm, and J.J. Watt to name a few. Keep an eye out, the next sports star to take a Gatorade bath could be the perfect motivational sports speaker for your event.

6. Body Armor: New to the game is a sports drink company that created a product that practically sold itself to some big NFL superstars most notably Richard Sherman and Andrew Luck. Now the sports drink has spilled into the professional basketball ranks with NBA legend Kobe Bryant and one of the WNBA’s biggest personalities, Skylar Diggins. New brands are often pursuing “hot” athletes in a way that is similar to your approach to finding the right sports speaker for hire. It is important to keep in mind the notable signings by emerging companies like Body Armor.

7. Coca-Cola: This global brand needs little help in the area of brand recognition. Coca-Cola carefully selects celebrities and athletes that will truly bring value to the company. They employ some of the biggest names in professional and Olympic sports including the legendary Michelle Kwan and the ever-present LeBron James (He has a lot of endorsements!). In the past Coca-Cola has also produced some of the most iconic television ads featuring athletes… the name Mean Joe Green may come to mind. Current and former Coca-Cola athletes have become synonymous with success and certainly have the ability to inspire your audience.

8. McDonald’s: The world’s greatest fast food chain is no stranger to partnering with the top athletes of the age to create marketing campaigns. Although their food isn’t exactly healthy, they sponsor some of the biggest sporting events from the amateur level to the professional ranks. They continue to capitalize on the success of Olympic athletes and well-known sports speakers such as Charles Barkley, Ryan Lochte, and Larry Bird.

9. Procter & Gamble: P&G is a massive consumer goods conglomerate that owns 23 subsidiary brands such as Bounty, Head and Shoulders, and Mr. Clean. Procter and Gamble is a family friendly company that has a rich tradition of brand awareness and promotion in sports. Of the brands that Proctor and Gamble manages, Head and Shoulders has featured Troy Polamalu (and his impressive hair) as well as Joe Mauer in several advertisement campaigns.

10. Samsung: In recent years, the global technology company has seen the value of athlete endorsement deals firsthand. Samsung currently has major deals in place with superstars such as LeBron James, David Beckham and David Ortiz. Athletes that are employed as brand ambassadors for non-sports related products must have charisma and a warm personality that radiates off the field. If an athlete has the ability to market a seemingly unrelated product to consumers, they can certainly give your audience just what they need to hear at your next event.