3 Emerging Athletes to Consider for your Next Endorsement Deal

SponsorPulse Staff
  • September 20, 2022
  • SponsorPulse Staff
Find out which up-and-coming athletes are catching the eye and interest of consumers, providing the best sponsorship opportunity for your next campaign.
For sports fans, there's nothing more thrilling than witnessing the rise of a superstar athlete. For marketers, there’s nothing more lucrative than partnering with one—early in their career. Endorsing up-and-coming athletes encourages loyalty and trust between all parties, setting the foundation for a sustainable working relationship that goes the distance. With athlete endorsements holding the sponsorship weight that they do, connecting with emerging athletes is just smart business. Here are 3 up and coming athletes to consider reaching out to for your next endorsement deal:

Football: Quinn Ewers

There’s no denying that 19-year-old Ewers is a star on the rise. While the football quarterback for the Texas Longhorns is new on the scene, he’s generated major buzz. Before reclassifying and enrolling at Ohio State, he was considered the best collegiate prospect of the 2022 high-school recruiting class. After a short-lived college career at Ohio State University in 2021, Ewers transferred to Texas post-season and hasn’t looked back. 

Football prowess aside, one of Ewers’ defining highlights is the fact that he’s the first amateur athlete to land a $1M+ deal as a result of name and likeness rules—making him a trailblazer in the sponsorship space.

Quinn Ewers

Gymnastics: Olivia Dunne

A rising star in the world of gymnastics, 19-year-old Olivia Dunne is already a success story. A former member of the USA national gymnastics team, Dunne is currently competing at the NCAA level for Louisiana State University, to much success. After competing in the opening match against Centenary, Dunne’s uneven bars scored 9.925, the second highest of the night behind only her teammate. 

While Dunne is an emerging powerhouse in her sport, her sponsorship value is bolstered by her tremendous social media presence that sees 5.7M TikTok and 2M IG users tuning in to engage with her content on a daily basis.

In July 2021, due to her massive following, Dunne was projected to earn more compensation than any other collegiate athlete when the NIL era kicked off. Just one month later, she had already signed to WME sports, becoming their first NIL athlete. Shortly after, she announced her first exclusive brand partnership with Vuori, an activewear brand. 

Olivia Dunne

Hockey: Connor McDavid

Canada’s golden boy, Connor McDavid is considered one of the top players in the history of the NHL. He started his hockey career with a bang, being named to the NHL All-Rookie Team and becoming a finalist for the Calder Memorial Trophy. 

In his second season, at the age of 19, McDavid was named captain of the Edmonton Oilers, making him the youngest captain in the history of the league, recording 100 points that season. It was that year that McDavid also became the youngest player to win the Art Ross Trophy for leading scorer in the league. He was also selected to the NHL First All-Star Team. Not bad for a sophomore season!

Often compared to the greats before him, like Sidney Crosby and Wayne Gretsky, McDavid has cemented himself as one of the top players in the history of hockey. This makes him the first pick for brands looking to connect closely with hockey fans far and wide. 

Connor McDavid

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