Now that the flame has officially been extinguished on the Rio Paralympic Games, the summer of Rio is officially passed. It was a summer that saw Canadian athletes shine at both the Olympic and Paralympic Games. New heroes emerged while established veterans cemented their legacy. And the sponsorship industry was watching. While there is never any guarantee an inspired performance at the Olympics or Paralympics will translate into significant sponsorship dollars for an athlete, it certainly doesn’t hurt to take full advantage of the opportunity in the spotlight. I’ll take a look at a few of the athletes who made headlines this summer, and who I’ll have my eye on to see how their existing partners, and new ones, look to leverage their accomplishments and all that they represent in the eyes of Canadians.
Burst on the Scene
Notable Results: 4x Rio 2016 Paralympic Medalist (3x Gold), Two world records, Closing Ceremony Flag bearer
Klout score: 59
Fan breakdown: Instagram: 1,724 Twitter: 928
Full of youthful optimism, energy and humility, this athlete had a tremendous games. She is only 20 years old, fully bilingual, exhibits incredible determination and has a relatively clean slate of sponsors, which could make her attractive to new potential partners.
Notable Results: Gold, Silver, 2x Bronze Medalist in Rio, Closing Ceremony Flag Bearer
Klout score: 70
Fan breakdown: Instagram: 84.6K Twitter: 53.6K
Given that this absolutely sensational athlete is currently in GRADE 11 (!!) she may have some time yet before she decides to turn pro and seek sponsors, but her appeal amongst youth, her digital savvy, and the fact she is unavailable will only drive demand. Penny catapulted into the national conversation, perhaps best evidenced by her social media following, which increased by 50,000+ on Twitter and Instagram quite literally, overnight.
Notable Results: Gold Medalist in Rio
Existing Sponsors: KPMG, Nike, The Main Dish, GenEthix, Skinny Pasta
Klout score: 65
Fan breakdown: Instagram: 5,908 Facebook: 2,408, Twitter 5,172
Stittsville, Ontario. Home of Olympic Champion Erica Wiebe. While not exactly a newcomer, as she already has a Commonwealth Games Gold to her name, Erica Wiebe shocked the world and has elevated herself into the hearts and minds of Canadians with her sheer athleticism, personable demeanour, and inspiring outlook on the journey to Olympic Gold. #bewiebe
Enhanced Their Value
Andre De Grasse
Sport: Athletics – Sprints
Notable Results: 3x Olympic medalist in Rio, World Championship Bronze medalist
Existing Sponsors: Puma, BMW, P&G, Pizza Pizza
Klout score: 70
Fan breakdown: Instagram: 139K Facebook: 75,724 Twitter: 54.9K
Is it possible to enhance one’s value after signing an $11.25 million dollar sponsorship deal with Puma in 2015? Well, winning 3 of the most coveted Olympic medals will help see that value skyrocket. Andre De Grasse is young, ambitious, and his athletic potential seemingly knows no bounds. Look for big things from Andre, and his sponsors, in the near future.
Sport: Athletics – 800m
Notable Results: 2x Olympian, World Championship Silver Medalist, Pan-Am Champion, Canadian Record Holder
Existing Sponsors: Nike, RBC
Klout score: 62
Fan breakdown: Instagram: 30.7K Twitter: 16.3K
A gutsy performer, who ran an unbelievable personal best, smashing her own Canadian record, on her way to finishing 4th in an 800m race mired by controversy. However, more impressive than the race itself was the character Melissa displayed in what is being described as a quintessentially Canadian post-race interview. Her respect, integrity, and class is unmatched. #yabish
Notable Results: 20-time Paralympic medalist
Existing Sponsors: CIBC, P&G, Canadian Tire, Visa, Speedo, Néosynergix
Klout score: 58
Fan breakdown: Instagram: 1,262 Facebook: 5,187 Twitter: 3,833
For an athlete whose dominance has endured this entire millennium, spanning 5 Paralympic Games, his presumed retirement may in fact boost his sponsorship portfolio as he moves to more of a leadership and mentorship role in Canadian sport. Not since Chantal Petitclerc has their been a Canadian Paralympic athlete who has had such a dominant career in their respective sport.
Feature Image Source: COC/Mark Blinch