Watching the Women’s U.S. Gymnastics Team in Rio was such a spectacular visual treat. The level of athleticism, strength, skill, and grace is mind-boggling. They seem to defy the laws of physics and gravity.
Like Gabby Douglas before her, Simone Biles was an Olympic standout. It’s a no-brainer that an Olympian’s media visibility is going to spike during the Games, but Ms. Biles’s climb from relative media obscurity to media sensation was Olympic indeed.
At 38%, the petite and talented gold medalist generated some of the most positive media sentiment of any athlete over the August news cycle. Her breathtaking feats of athletic skill and focus, unsullied by even a hint of controversy or scandal, earned her a very strong 83 media rating, up +26 points over her pre-Olympic numbers. Among female athletes, this ranks her #3 in media visibility, behind Katie Ledecky (#1) and Serena Williams (#2).
Simone Biles took an additional gold medal in media value at Rio Games, with $12 million in earned media value for August, contributing to a respectable $41 million in trailing 12-month cumulative value. The athlete already has $2 million in endorsement deals, including a range of TV, print and online campaigns for brands like Procter & Gamble’s Tide, United Airlines, Hershey’s, Core Power and GK Elite Gymnastics. Now, with four golds and a bronze under her belt, the biggest star to come out of the 2016 Olympics is on track to becoming a powerful brand ambassador.
The opportunity from an earned media perspective is to bridge the gap between athletic events to keep the trusted, adored Simone Biles brand front and center in relevant media segments. A focused approach with proactive measurement should see Ms. Biles through continued brand endorsement opportunities. And you can bet I’m looking forward to seeing her compete in Tokyo in 2020!