Breaking the bias with women influencers in sports and gaming – Nielsen - Social Media Explorer
Breaking the bias with women influencers in sports and gaming – Nielsen
Breaking the bias with women influencers in sports and gaming – Nielsen

You will find the most influential people when you perform a Google search on movies or music. This month, many brands are celebrating women, with many embracing the #breakingthebias theme of International Women’s Day. With the ongoing fight for women’s rights globally, brands can amplify the effectiveness of their efforts by working with the top women influencers in the world of sports and gaming, two traditionally male-dominated areas.

While gender equality in sport is still a work in progress, fans are driving change. Global audiences trust over half of those who follow influencer marketing. However, 66% believe that brand sponsorships are a good way to support the sports events they see. Sixty-one percent of American fans identify gender equality as their most important cause. A great way for brands to communicate their inclusion is to align their events and engage fans through influencer marketing.

Last year, female athletes made headlines for championing change during the Olympics when they took a knee in support of racial equity, and again this year when the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team successfully won their fight for fair pay. Brands looking for more inclusion can look to these athletes because of their performance and fan base. For example, as brands look to connect with youth, it’s important that they understand that mental health is one of the most difficult issues that the youth are facing today. Working with an athlete like Simone Biles is a great way to build a deeper connection. She has spoken out about her mental health struggles. 

Additionally, women athletes can be globally admired. Naomi Osaka, one of the most influential female athletes in Japan is Naomi Osaka. Her achievement at No. 1 was unprecedented for an Asian athlete. She was the No. 1 singles tennis player in Asia and also the most-employable female athlete in the World. While she plays for Japan, over 40% of Osaka’s fanbase is in the U.S. 

Professional gamers are growing in popularity and increasing their influence through advocacy, media and business. This influence is so powerful that 10 of the most influential female gamers in gaming have a high engagement rate1According to SME InfluenceScope it was 11.7%. This is almost three times the number of influencers who have similar numbers. 

In light of all the gender discrimination in online gaming, this level of engagement represents a significant achievement. According to a survey conducted by female gamers, while both genders reported being subject to abuse, it was found that female gamers are much more susceptible than male gamers to suffer sexual harassment and be excluded from the game. Even Pokimane is the most powerful.2SME InfluenceScope reports that a female gamer recently ended her stream suddenly after another streamer began a hate campaign against her. 

There is a huge opportunity for brands to work with influential women gamers, who speak out against gender discrimination and hold their ground in the gaming world. SME InfluenceScope has found Valkyrae to be the second most popular female gamer. She also enjoys a higher engagement rate at 16%. Her outspoken advocacy for encouraging younger women to keep playing the game is what she has made a special point of. Co-owner of 100 Thieves, an esports company recently valued at $460m, and co-owner with esports team, She has led by example and encouraged her fans. Nearly 46% of gamers in America were women by 2021. Women now account for 40% to 45% of Asian gamers. Brands looking for authentic connections with consumers will be able to make a strong connection with them by working with female influencers.

1Engagement rate reflects the amount of interactions an influencer’s social media content earns divided by the influencer’s number of followers. 
2SME applied the InfluenceScope4R (reach. relevance. resonate. rising) method to over 100 million social media accounts worldwide in order to determine top female influencers in sports, gaming and acting.

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About the Author

Adam is an owner at Nanohydr8. He really loves comedy and satire, and the written word in general.

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