Player Transactions: LeBron and Ronaldo Make Moves
In the past 10 days, two of the biggest athletes on the planet have rocked the sports world by signing with new teams. The Lakers landed free agent LeBron James Sunday, July 1, for a cool $154 million over four years, as he said his goodbyes to the Cleveland Cavaliers. And on Monday, July 10, Juventus announced the signing of Cristiano Ronaldo from Real Madrid, worth a reported $350 million over four years.
While both of these contracts are massive for the basketball and soccer superstars, what we’re most interested in is the effect these players have had and will have on their new teams as it relates to social media followers, sponsorship exposure, and overall engagement. A few months back we reviewed the Zlatan Effect, as the storied Swede made his way to the LA Galaxy from Manchester United, causing a flurry of social media growth and sponsorship exposure for not only Zlatan, but also the LA Galaxy, the MLS, and the Galaxy’s kit sponsor Herbalife.
The Lakers and Juventus: Instagram Wins Big
Both the Lakers and Juventus saw the largest follower growth on Instagram after the LeBron and Ronaldo signings. The Lakers’ Instagram following grew by more than 135,000 after the LeBron announcement. Juventus’ Instagram followers skyrocketed by 780,000, a more than 7 percent increase in 24 hours.
Jersey Patch and Kit Exposure: Wish and Jeep
Besides gaining a significant number of social media followers, both the Lakers and Juventus scored exposure for their sponsors. Wish, the Lakers’ jersey patch sponsor, received more than 3.3 million engagements, and Juventus’ kit sponsor Jeep earned more than 3.9 million engagements — from each team’s owned and operated channels, roster players’ social channels, and media companies’ social channels. If you notice on the graph below, due to the rumors about Ronaldo heading to Juventus, July 6 and July 9 saw Jeep exposure increase substantially compared to the other days before he officially signed.
As the summer rolls on, we’ll be watching for more player trades, keeping an eye on the LeBron and Ronaldo Effect, and getting ready for the Juventus – Real Madrid showdown in Maryland in one month’s time.