I would not have guessed this one, but if you look back 4 years and try to pick the NFL player with consistently strong and advancing media numbers, you find yourself looking straight into the cooly quarterback eyes of none other then 3rd round draft pick (yes, Wilson went #72 after graduating from Wisconsin) Russell Wilson, quarterback extraordinaire for the Seattle Seahawks.
Wilson’s April 2015 media rating is up +6 points or +9 percent at a 64. What’s interesting about his current rating number is simple – IT’S APRIL – we’re talking off-season and Russell Wilson is only 2 points off his January Superbowl high of 66. Now there’s plenty of media coverage around his contract negotiations, but overall Wilson is playing the media as well off-season as he’s been playing on-field for the Seahawks.
Take for example his attendance at the White House Correspondents Dinner, a huge media opportunity for anyone seeking broad media exposure. First, his date for the event couldn’t be more ideal for his athlete brand development. The singe Ciara brought non-sports media credibility. A classic move by savvy athletes seeking endorsements outside athletic apparel, beer and cars.. There were rumors that Wilson might even sign with the Seattle Mariners! Again, a powerful athletic endorsement outside his football fan base.
His media momentum is strong post-season, +28% this month on 6 months of advanced media coverage. Media fluctuations around his rating numbers is fairly tight, suggesting his brand is not dependent upon isolated event coverage, i.e. he is a consistent media draw.
Some of the endorsements benefiting from Russell Wilson’s rising media ratings include Nike, Alaska Air, Levi’s and American Family Insurance. Wilson is also very active in Seattle charities which is important to his off-season media development. The media has begun to draw some parallels to the New Orleans Saints’ Drew Brees, who’s media rating is currently off -3 points or -6 percent at 53, considerably below Russell Wilson.
Media coverage around Drew Brees has been focused on his reaction to NFL spring trade activity in and out of the New Orleans Saints’ roster and the affect any recent draft picks may have on the offensive line-up come September. The media character cues are just not there for Drew Brees compared to Russell Wilson.