In-season athletes are valuable to brands. The opportunity exists to advertise and execute a campaign when current athletes play and their recognition level is at a peak.
If you can work with a few limitations, hiring an in-season athlete can benefit your brand.
Here is a five point checklist for hiring in-season athletes:
Plan Far in Advance When Scheduling.
Brands tend to focus on the athlete’s game schedule rather than the entire schedule.
Professional athletes, regardless of sport, are always on the go. Their days are long, schedules hectic, and have limited time off to work for a brand. If you want to hire an athlete in-season, examine his/her schedule well in advance to be sure availability fits the campaign’s schedule.
When scheduling, avoid the post season altogether. Most teams do not allow players to work events or do commercials during this period. Even if the team doesn’t have a policy, a PR event with an athlete who could otherwise be practicing for an important game looks bad for the athlete, team, and the brand.
Long Days Won’t Work.
Professional athletes are the best for a reason; they are constantly practicing their craft. This is good for teams and bad for brands. Availability tends to be later in the day after practice, where energy levels are lower and less number of hours available.
To combat this, brands should plan on using and/or shooting shorter hours spread over a few days. Instead of one 12-hour day, schedule two six-hour days instead.
Be flexible with your schedule. On occasion, a mandatory practice or physical therapy session comes up outside of the athlete’s control leaving brands to adjust.
An Athlete’s Career is The #1 Priority.
An athlete’s livelihood and loyalty revolves around the current contract—all else is secondary.
In the prime of their careers, a brand’s compensation is a welcome source of supplemental income and a nice bonus. It won’t buy leverage to alter an athlete’s schedule.
Brands Need to Schedule Work and Shoot Days Where the Athlete is.
Athletes want to be a good partner. Yet, they cannot be expected to travel where the brand wants to shoot. Their schedule won’t permit it, or they may be contractually obligated to travel with their team.
A brand should anticipate shooting wherever the athlete resides. The logistics of the production can be more complex and expensive, but worth the investment.
There are Always Options.
An in-season athlete’s availability may be too onerous. If so, finding the right recently retired player, ex-player now commentator, or sports television personality who has more flexibility will impact your target audience as much.