Jun 2023 / Blog / Responsible Influence

Responsible Influence in the Sports Industry

Sports KOLs are true ambassadors for social and environmental causes. They are trusted advisors to a committed audience and many position themselves on segments and issues that are part of the issues of the moment. In this article, we’re looking at how brands use social causes to create impactful campaigns.

This is an extract from the 2023 Kolsquare Sports Report.

Key Takeaways

  • Brands are embracing social transformations to reach their consumers expectations through athletes
  • Racial equity, gender equality, authenticity, mental health and inclusivity are the center of the influencer marketing campaigns


In recent years, as influencers have found their place among different target audiences, sports personalities have become spokespersons. Many causes are represented through various Influencer Marketing campaigns, but these really take off thanks to the KOLs who embody them. Among the causes addressed are:

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Racial equity

Racial equity in sports campaigns and sports in general aims to ensure fair and equal treatment for all, regardless of ethnic origin or race. The aim is to combat racism, promote diversity and inclusion, and create equitable opportunities for all individuals, whatever their origins. The german brand Adidas (27.4m followers on Instagram) is also heavily involved in this fight, with their landmark #impossibleisnothing campaign featuring athletes from all over the world as they go about their business.

Gender equality

Gender equality in sports refers to the promotion of equality between men and women, both in terms of access to sporting opportunities and the recognition and support of athletic performance. This includes the elimination of gender-based discrimination and the creation of inclusive and equitable environments for women and girls in sports. One brand that stands out is Brooks Running Canada (13.1K followers on Instagram), which is committed to this dynamic and advocates accessibility of sport for all with their promise of «Diversity, equity and inclusion at Brooks».


Authenticity in sports is linked to the integrity and transparency of those involved in sports, including athletes and influencers. Decathlon (317k followers on Instagram) is an expert in the field of authentic and transparent communication thanks to its products, which meet the primary needs of all sportsmen and women at accessible prices while maintaining recognized effectiveness. The KOLs associated with Decathlon are athletes, like Marie Patouillet (5k followers on Instagram), who promote the brand’s values while respecting their convictions. This means promoting values of sincerity, honesty and commitment to the sport, while avoiding the deceptive practices that many influencers promote, particularly for sports betting. A deception that has recently been banned in France thanks to the law passed on March 23 2023, aimed at notably framing the commercial actions of KOLs.

Sports can also be used as means of promoting equal voting rights for all individuals. Athletes and sports influencers can engage in campaigns or initiatives to raise awareness and promote fair, inclusive and accessible voting rights for all citizens. Under Armour (8m followers on Instagram) is an American brand that is notably committed to social issues such as equal rights, inclusion and social justice. They have supported athletes who have taken a stand on political issues and have been associated with campaigns that address social issues accompanied by Stephen Curry (52.1m followers on Instagram).

Mental health

The mental health of athletes and those involved in sports is a growing concern. Responsible influence in sports can include promoting mental health awareness, destigmatizing mental health issues and providing appropriate resources and support for those in need. Fitbit (697k followers on Instagram) is a pioneering brand in wearables and fitness and mental tracking technologies. Although not strictly a sports brand, Fitbit offers a range of products focused on health and well-being, which are often used by active people and sports enthusiasts to track their physical activity and thus effect a change in mindset. A healthy mind in a healthy body is also Fitbit’s strength, with collaborations highlighting rest time with sportsman Bradley Thoren (715k followers on Instagram).


Inclusivity in sports refers to the creation of an environment where all people, regardless of origin, gender identity, sexual orientation, physical ability or any other characteristic, are welcomed, respected and have equal opportunities to participate, express themselves and succeed in the sport. Hoka (941k followers on Instagram) in collaboration with True Colors United (21k followers on Instagram) aims to address these issues through committed awareness campaigns that activate sports personalities like Jim Walmsley (178k followers on Instagram).

These issues are key to promoting an inclusive, fair and respectful sporting environment. Sports influencers and market players can play an important role by using their influence to raise awareness, promote change, defend these values in sports and beyond, and of course empower their respective audiences. A commitment that has proved its worth over the last few years.

About Kolsquare

Kolsquare is Europe’s leading Influencer Marketing platform, a data-driven solution that allows brands to scale their KOL Marketing strategies and implement authentic partnerships with KOLs (Key Opinion Leaders).

Kolsquare’s technology enables marketing professionals to easily identify the best Content Creators profiles by filtering their content and audience, and to build and manage their campaigns from A to Z, including measuring results and benchmarking performance against competitors.

Kolsquare has built the largest community of influencer marketing experts in the world, and offers hundreds of customers (Coca-Cola, Netflix, Sony Music, Publicis, Sézane, Sephora, El Corte Inglés, Lacoste, …) the latest Big Data, AI and Machine Learning technologies to drive inspiring partnerships, tapping into an exhaustive network covering 100% of  KOLs with more than 5,000 followers in 180 countries on Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.

As a Benefit Company, Kolsquare has been pioneering Responsible Influence by championing transparency, ethical practices, and meaningful collaborations to inspire change.