How Champs Sports Partnered with Mavrck to Activate Athlete-Influencers and Exceeded Campaign Benchmarks on TikTok & Instagram
As a long-standing Mavrck customer, Foot Locker approached Mavrck’s team of experts about prioritizing a name, image, and likeness (NIL) program for its Champs Sports brand in the summer of 2021. Since brands didn’t have the opportunity to work with student-athletes on sponsored collaborations until July 2021, Champs Sports had previously partnered with “lifestyle” influencers. However, given its more niche target demographic, it wanted to transition into the NIL space.
Initially, this transition proved challenging since a lot of the influencer applicants did not align with the demographic Champs Sports was looking for, with these creators focusing on the “lifestyle” content that the brand wanted to shift from.
With the main key performance indicator (KPI) being engagement rate, with a focus on video views, it was vital that this program involved creator partners with high average engagement.
Champs Sports had a specific audience it wanted to target through this NIL program, with a goal of broadening its consumer base and appealing to a more inclusive group of 16-34 year olds who identify with the “weekend warrior” persona. This persona type included those who have a habit of going to the gym in between living their life as a parent, for example — people who have an active lifestyle and buy running shoes to walk in. Alongside this weekend warrior, student-athletes within the millennial demographic were, of course, a focus for the brand.
Given the target demographics and program goals, Champs Sports and Mavrck worked together to carefully curate the applicant pool to prioritize influencers with higher engagement rates.
The teams also limited partnerships with influencers who posted more generic lifestyle content, since they wanted to ensure all partners represented the brand’s products authentically through sports-specific influencer-generated content (IGC).
The working relationship between Champs and Mavrck was strong, with the teams splitting responsibilities and owning certain aspects of the program. The Champs team led the charge for the campaign concept and brief creation, final selection of creator partners, product distribution, posting schedule organization, approval of content, and some of the influencer communication. Meanwhile, the brand looked to Mavrck’s team of experts to own the campaign creation, influencer sourcing and negotiation, agency communications, and campaign reporting.
Within the overarching NIL program, there were four Champs Sports campaigns activating athletes and fitness-focused influencers, each with varying content requirements united through the chosen #WeKnowGame hashtag:
Champs Sports x Pembroke Pines:
- 1 TikTok video
- 1 Instagram Reel
- 1 Instagram Story
Champs Sports x Crocs:
- 1 TikTok video or Instagram Reel
- 2 Instagram Stories
- 1 in-feed Instagram post
Champs Sports x Legends:
- 1 Instagram Reel
- 4 high-res images
Champs Sports x Converse:
- 1 Instagram Reel
- 3 high-res images
For each campaign, it was important that every creator used original audio, to avoid copyrighted music or music from popular artists. In addition, Mavrck needed to source influencers whose quality of content was very high, with a particular preference towards creators who hire photographers and videographers when producing their IGC. Creators were carefully selected and compensated in cash payment along with Champs Sports products.
As a result of the program, there were 24 creators activated across all four campaigns, generating 91 pieces of content, 3 million total impressions, and 353.1K total engagements — with an average engagement rate of 11.8%.
This overall average engagement rate — incorporating Pembroke Pines: 2.9%, Legends: 10.2%, Converse: 14.2%, and Crocs: 9.7% — was right on par with Mavrck’s benchmark for the retail/ ecommerce vertical, which is 13.7% as of Q4 2022. In addition, the program achieved an average cost per engagement (CPE) of $0.16 and an average cost per thousand impressions (CPM) of $19.14 — greatly exceeding Mavrck Q4 2022 benchmarks for retail/ecomm, which were $0.52 CPE and $69.54.
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Total Pieces of Content
Average Engagement Rate