Nielsen Sports reveals the tennis stars set to capitalize on and off the court

This story was provided by Nielsen Sports

Nielsen Sports, the global leader in sports industry analytics, has released its analysis into the digital performance of the next generation of rising tennis stars, who are set to pick up the torch from the legendary Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Serena Williams, all of whom are nearing the end of their illustrious careers.

The Nielsen Sports Influencer Selection & Measurement framework analyses athletes’ social media profiles to create a ‘scorecard’ out of 20 – based on key indicators such as follower growth, engagement levels and overall media value per post – which can then be used by brands to inform their decision-making process behind selecting a brand ambassador or sponsorship of an athlete.

Nielsen Sports used the tool to analyse the digital performance of the tennis players aged 25 and under who currently sit within the top 20 of the world tennis rankings.

The analysis ranked the 2019 U.S. Open Women’s Singles champion, Bianca Andreescu, and the 2019 U.S. Open Men’s Singles finalist, Daniil Medvedev, as the two best ‘digital performers’ of the past six months, a reflection of the success they have enjoyed on the court but also an indication of the commercial success they can expect to enjoy off the court as brands seek the next tennis superstar.

Andreescu, who misses the 2020 Australian Open through injury, enjoyed a 585% follower growth in the past six months and averaged 97,000 likes and 1,100 comments per post, making her the most highly performing athlete. Her impressive engagement levels make her a particularly appealing prospect for brands, with a media value of €32,000 per post. Her absence from Melbourne this month will be felt away from the courts as much as on it.

Like Andreescu, Russia’s Medvedev enjoyed a huge rise in his social media following over the past six months – 473% – and his digital performance peaked during a successful U.S. Open, in which he reached the final. He was given a scorecard of 16/20 by Nielsen Sports – compared to Andreescu’s 19/20 – and interestingly for brands, fashion represents the key interest of his social media audience, with 48% interested in this trait.

Nielsen Sports’ research highlighted further opportunity for fashion brands, with 68% of Alexander Zverev’s fanbase interested in the sector – the highest proportion for all of the players measured. At 57%, he also has the highest percentage of female followers, bucking a trend which sees most players enjoying a predominantly male following. Meanwhile, Matteo Berrettini (62%) and Stefanos Tsitsipas (60%) have a similar proportion of fans interested in the fashion industry.

This creates an exciting opportunity for brands within the sector, given the three have a combined following of over 2 million, a figure which continues to grow – particularly for Berrettini, with a 197% increase in six months – in a sport which is watched by a relatively affluent fanbase.

Nielsen Sports Head of Digital, Europe, Salvatore De Angelis commented: “With the Australian Open set to captivate a global audience once again this year, our research highlights the impressive influence held by the stars of tennis.

“The sport has enjoyed a golden generation of athletes such as Djokovic, Federer, Nadal and Serena Williams, but our Nielsen Sports Influencer Selection & Measurement framework shows that the future for tennis is bright, both on and off the court.

“Of course, success on the court breeds greater commercial opportunity for the athletes, but these findings demonstrate the ways in which brands in specific sectors – such as the fashion industry – can capitalize on the changing of the guard, as the sport’s established superstars begin to give way to a new generation.”

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