Gen Z & Millennials’ 15 Favorite Pro Athletes Today

Millennial research, Millennial insight, Millennial marketing, Gen Z research, Gen Z marketing, Gen Z insight, youth research, youth marketing

Young consumers might be watching sports differently from previous generations, but they still have favorite athletes—and the name on top beat out some serious competition…

There is little doubt that Gen Z and Millennial viewers are changing the way that sports are watched. (Ypulse has been tracking the shift in sports live-streaming versus live TV viewing—more on that tomorrow.) But watching differently doesn’t mean they’re not watching—and it certainly doesn’t mean they don’t have favorite athletes. In fact, thanks to social media, today’s athletes are full-blown influencers. According to Ypulse data, 34% of 13-35-year-olds on social media follow athletes or sports teams. When we ask which type of celebrity they trust most, athletes topped the list, over online celebrities, music celebrities, and TV/movie celebrities. We see a similar pattern when we ask what public figures they trust: 20% of 13-36-year-olds say athletes, who rank above TV stars, movie stars, bloggers, Instagrammers, and all politicians on the list. When choosing between music celebrities, Hollywood celebrities, online celebrities, and athletes, young consumers are most likely to say that they admire athletes the most, and that they would like to see athletes as a spokesperson for a brand.

Thanks in part to Gen Z and Millennials’ high opinion of athletes, and the influence they have as public figures, we continue to track who the favorites are—and this year we saw a bit of a shake up. In our recent survey on sports and athletics, we asked 13-36-year-olds, “Who your favorite professional athlete?”* After three years of two names battling it out for number one, a new contender came out on the top of the ranking:

*This was an open-end response question to allow us to capture the full range of athletes that…

 
 

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The Newsfeed

Quote of the Day: “I think we’re already seeing alcohol lose its health halo. Next, the assumption that alcohol is essential to a good, sophisticated life will fade.”—Joy Manning, Deputy Editor, Edible Communities (Medium)

“The doofus dad” TV stereotype is being remade for role-resisting Millennial parents. Inept at care-taking and almost everything else, the tired stereotype is saying its last “D’Oh!” as The Simpson’s Homer Simpson and Peppa Pig’s Daddy Pig get replaced with a new wave of capable fathers like Bluey’s Bandit. The switch could have a real impact on the way kids understand family life, with one research fellow explaining, “The media reflects reality and also constructs reality.” (SMH)

Apple's new subscription gaming service Arcade will cannibalize its own App Store downloads—and that’s a good thing. Downloads in the App Store are on the decline, despite mobile gaming maintaining popularity and raking in revenue. If Apple can turn Arcade into young gamers’ go-to for mobile play, they’ll be poised for success that could outstrip even Apple TV and Apple Music. (The Motley Fool)

Gen Z music artists are “post-genre.” Mixing several influences into one song has become a way for rising artists to set themselves apart, and thanks to self-upload services like SoundCloud, they don’t need music industry exec’s approval. Meanwhile, the Genreless Generation can curate blended playlists via Spotify to fit moods and occasions rather than “rock” or “pop” and are streaming has also globalized their content consumption, so U.S. genres are no longer a limit. (Vice)

Carl’s Jr. has a CBD-infused burger that costs exactly $4.20. The chain restaurant is giving fast food a Cannabis Infusion, but only at one Denver, Colorado location, and only for one day. The Rocky Mountain High Cheese Burger Delight packs 5 mg of the chemical that won’t get you high. CBD is the trendy ingredient du jour, with 57% of 18-36-year-olds telling us they’re interested in trying it, and the chemical has made its way into everything from lotion to La Croix-like beverages. (LAT)

Axe is challenging masculinity with “bathsculinity.” The brand has been blurring gender lines for the Genreless Generation for years now, and their latest series of YouTube spots is showing that men can take baths, too. They’ve enlisted comedian Lil Rel Howery, who takes bubble baths surrounded by candles in the humorous videos. And they couldn’t be more on-trend: bath time is seeing a surge as a salve for Millennial anxiety. (Marketing Dive)

Quote of the Day: “I think for a cohesive strategy and for really helping to build awareness as well as grow the market size for new things, there's definitely digital and social media. But also, there has to be this in-real-life element.”—Alicia Yoon, Founder, Peach & Lily (YPulse)

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