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Why Verizon Partnered with an Undrafted Player for 2024’s NFL Draft

Why Verizon Partnered with an Undrafted Player for 2024’s NFL Draft

May 21, 2024

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Corey Bruno

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Sports Marketing

During this NFL Draft, Verizon teamed up with athlete-creator and former college football player AJ Greene, opting for a non-traditional route. Here are the factors beyond on-field performance to consider when selecting an athlete.

From April 25-27, 2024, 257 football players were selected nationwide. Amidst the excitement, one of the country's largest cell phone service providers made a unique choice: partnering with an athlete whose name wasn’t called.

Meet AJ Greene

A former Division II wide receiver from the University of New Haven whose professional football career was derailed by the COVID-19 pandemic. However, he has thrived as a prominent athlete-creator, leveraging his love and passion for the sport through engaging content creation. Here’s why Verizon chose AJ Greene as their marketing star this year.

Unrivaled Audience and Immense Reach

AJ Greene's approach to content creation has amassed an incredibly loyal and active following across major platforms - a staggering 3.1 million on TikTok, 632,000 on Instagram, and 1.4 million YouTube subscribers. His multi-million audience reach is unparalleled, providing Verizon's marketing team with an invaluable asset that virtually no traditional athlete can match.

The Power of an Athlete-Creator

In many NIL campaigns, brands partner with athletes for their name recognition, but someone like AJ Greene offers something truly special. He's not just a name—he's also a brand himself. His content feels genuine because it is; AJ produces it in his own unique style, which his followers love. This isn't your typical NIL advertising, but the future of how brands should think when partnering with athletes. He's already proven that his advertising works, securing partnerships with Manscaped, Crocs, The NFL, and Raising Cane's, showing he knows how to deliver real results. 

Authenticity -> Engaged Audiences

As an Athlete-Creator, AJ's creativity leads to organic engagement, and his sound knowledge of the creator industry makes him not only easier, but also insightful to work with. Overall for Verizon, collaborating with AJ represents engaging with innovative and impactful athlete marketing strategies. This approach offers a more authentic and influential brand presence, transcending the outdated practice of merely placing a logo or product on images.

The Future of Athlete Partnerships 

Forward-thinking brands like Verizon choose athlete-creators for their unique blend of athletic credibility and authentic content creation skills, giving them athlete partners who engage digital audiences beyond stale endorsement deals. By leveraging their ability to organically integrate products into genuine personal brands and content, deals like this one show how athlete-creators like AJ Greene represent the future of innovative, effective sports marketing on social media. 

Ready to stay ahead in the world of Athlete Marketing?

Ready to stay ahead in the world of Athlete Marketing?