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Athletes Launch Apps to Expand their Marketing Reach

June 12, 2013 No Comments

Featured blog by Josh Katlin, Famigo

Tech developers aren’t the only people launching mobile apps these days. Professional athletes from all over the world are starting to team up with software developers to launch their own apps in an ongoing effort to improve their personal brand and increase their marketing value. Olympic gold medalist Usain Bolt, golfer Tiger Woods, boxer Mike Tyson (whose app is no longer on the market), soccer player Cristiano Ronaldo, and football player Tony Gonzalez are all part of a new revolution of athletes entering the booming mobile app industry.

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With so many social media followers, athletes are looking for new ways to increase their personal value to endorsers by effectively utilizing those followers. Creating mobile apps might be the answer to improving that personal value. For example, Usain Bolt teamed up with a developer to launch “Bolt!” before last year’s Olympic gold medal run. The free app has since been downloaded over 3 million times, making Bolt’s brand that much more marketable for the corporations that endorse him, such as Gatorade, Puma, and Hublot Swiss watches.

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These athlete-created mobile apps might not be life altering for users, but they are still being downloaded millions of times. Most app developers have trouble with app discoverability, but athletes come into the mobile app market with a huge competitive advantage. The ability to use their own brand to market the app allows for a celebrity endorsement that can’t be matched by small app developers. The quality of an app developer’s product might be superior to an athlete’s app, but the marketing power of these athletes is just too hard to overtake.

In regards to content, athletes are taking different routes with their apps. Track star Usain Bolt’s app is a traditional endless runner game, with the user continuously running, swiping to avoid obstacles and picking up Gatorade for hydration. While the game is entertaining, I would credit it’s success to Usain Bolt’s brand power, because the game is not nearly as addicting as endless runner games such as Temple Run and Subway Surfer.

On the other hand, Tony Gonzalez’s app FitStar is a personal trainer app rather than a game. Within the app are countless videos of Gonzalez demonstrating workouts and providing words of encouragement for users. This is a great idea because it creates the feeling that an NFL star is personally training and motivating you at the gym. And Tiger Woods’ app provides expertise and lessons about how to swing a golf club properly. Receiving a digital golf lesson from Tiger Woods, the best golfer in the world, is incredibly valuable for consumers that love him or have a desire to learn golf.

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All in all, it’s very interesting to see all these athletes migrating over to join the rapidly growing mobile app market. I believe apps bring value to consumers of all ages, and I hope that these athlete-owned apps can bring new, enjoyable features to huge market of avid sports fans.

Looking for some awesome sports apps? Check out these hockey, soccer, basketball, and football games!

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