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The world’s highest-paid athletes, product endorsement, and Twitter

Gashaw Abeza (Simmons School of Education and Human Development, Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas, USA)
Norm O’Reilly (Department of Sports Administration, Ohio University, Athens, Ohio, USA)
Benoit Séguin (Department of Human Kinetics, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Canada)
Ornella Nzindukiyimana (School of Kinesiology, Western University, London, Canada)

Sport, Business and Management

ISSN: 2042-678X

Article publication date: 10 July 2017




The purpose of this paper is to examine the practice of celebrity athletes’ product endorsement in the context of social media, guided by meaning transfer model.


The study adopted a content analysis method based on data gathered from the official Twitter account of 17 of the highest-paid athletes over a period of five months.


Results outline the state, involvement level, roles, modes, preferred content types, discernible differences, shared features, and best practices employed in endorsement tweets. A framework of athletes’ product endorsement on Twitter is presented.

Research limitations/implications

The study presented theoretical and practical implications, and limitations and impetus for future research.


The study investigated professional athletes’ use of their own media channel for the purpose of endorsement, presented a framework that illustrates the practice of celebrity athletes’ product endorsement on social media, and identified a best practice and an exemplary reference.



Abeza, G., O’Reilly, N., Séguin, B. and Nzindukiyimana, O. (2017), "The world’s highest-paid athletes, product endorsement, and Twitter", Sport, Business and Management, Vol. 7 No. 3, pp. 332-355.



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Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited

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