Why Should Athletes Monetize Themselves?

Swimmer Pushing Through Lokkaroom Brand Box

In the sport industry, it is a common stereotype that many professional athletes struggle financially after their careers end. According to a study by the National Basketball Players Association, 60% of NBA players are broke within five years of retirement (more on this can be found here). With a heightened focus on social media and digital profiles, athletes and sport players are presented with more ways to monetize and distinctively brand themselves as a new means to generate revenue and income. Not only does this offer a sense of financial security for the future, but it also allows athletes independence and control over their own image. 

To answer the question, ‘why should athletes monetize themselves’, let’s break it down into 4 sections: emerging athletes, ageing athletes, injured athletes and retired athletes. 

Emerging Athletes 

An emerging athlete refers to an athlete who is relatively new to their sport and is working to establish themselves and gain recognition within their field. At such an exciting and crucial part of their career, emerging athletes should try to monetize themselves as it opens up opportunities for sponsorships and endorsements, helping to improve visibility and build up their fanbase. To have multiple streams of income, an athlete can fund events, tournaments and focus on developing their skills in a sustainable manner. Utilizing social media, digital profiles and digital sport marketplaces is a great way to ensure that athletes can focus on training and competing whilst building their own personal brand. 

Ageing Athletes 

An ageing athlete is an athlete who is in the later stages of their career, typically nearing the end of their competitive years. Challenges such as decline in physical ability and performance, or mobility around their role as a coach or mentor, can impact an ageing athlete financially as their income will become less in value and frequency. They should monetize themselves through various ventures such as  sponsorships, fan experiences and speaking engagements. For many, the point of this will not only be to provide a source of income and financial security, but to maintain their image and relationship with their fans.

If an ageing athlete is pursuing a career in coaching, commentating or even sponsorships, monetization is a great way of keeping them in control of their own image. 

Injured Athletes 

Monetization is especially important for injured athletes, as a threat or occurrence of an injury can completely take away an athletes competitive career. An injury can cause an athlete to miss significant amounts of playing time but in the worst case scenario it can force them to retire early. Whether an athlete is emerging or well-established, injured short-term or long-term, the effect of injury can hinder the ability of one's chances of earning a  steady income 

Monetization provides injured athletes alternative sources of income, such as endorsements, sponsorships, and other business ventures. This can help to offset the financial losses caused by their injury and provide financial security for them and their families. Additionally, monetization can also help injured athletes maintain their public profile and increase their brand value, which can be beneficial for future business opportunities. By monetizing oneself in the early stages of their career (as an emerging athlete), athletes can protect and extend their position within sports. 

Retired Athletes 

A retired athlete is a person who has ended their career in a sport or athletic activity. This can be a voluntary decision or may be forced upon them due to an injury, loss of form or other reasons. Retired athletes will no longer be participating in professional or competitive events in the sport they were involved in, but they might still be involved in the sport as coaches, analysts, commentators or other related roles. Whilst some retired athletes may pursue different careers or completely retire all together, the benefits of monetization still remain. 

Aside from the most obvious reason, financial security, maintaining a public profile is a huge reason: this increases their brand value without being an active player, as well as maintaining their relationship and reputation with fans. As well as this, keeping a connection within sports allows retired athletes to pursue roles that are closely related to their sport, such as analysis, commentary and mentoring.  Monetization allows foundation to leverage expertise and knowledge in a form that generates sustainable income. 

How To Build Financial Security

The ways in which athletes, across all of the above categories, can monetize themselves is proving to become more digital as we enter a tech-driven era. Apart from social media being the most obvious way to start monetizing oneself, digital sport marketplaces offer an athlete a broader package. Because the athlete can offer their fans experiences that reflect the real life excitement, this makes marketplaces, like Lokkaroom, a powerful tool for athletes to create a social image and brand whilst enhancing the fan experience. These marketplaces allow athletes to sell their merchandise, autographed memorabilia, and even digital assets such as video content and virtual experiences directly to their fans.


To conclude this article, it is invaluable that athletes should monetize themselves because it can provide them with financial security, maintain their public profile, keep a connection with the sport, leverage their expertise and pursue new interests. Emerging athletes can monetize themselves by seeking sponsorships and endorsements to build their fanbase and fund events and tournaments. Ageing athletes can monetize themselves by seeking speaking engagements, fan experiences and coaching roles. Injured athletes can monetize themselves by seeking alternative sources of income such as endorsements and sponsorships to offset the financial losses caused by their injury. Retired athletes can monetize themselves by leveraging their expertise in coaching, analysis and commentary or pursuing new interests and career opportunities.

Annie Williams


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