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How to Make Money as an Athlete with Affiliate Marketing

How to make money as an Athlete with Affiliate Marketing | Affiliate marketing for Athletes - Featured Image
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If you’re here, it’s likely, you’re either an athlete or you know someone who is. You know that being an athlete is very physically intense, and most athletic careers last 20 years or less. It’s important to build other income streams outside of the active income streams that come from playing sports, working with fans, or coaching.

In this article, I plan to demonstrate to you how to make an additional stream of income for your sports career with affiliate marketing.

Athletes and Passive Income

Regardless of what type of business or career you have, its always a good idea to have active income and passive income–this is why many athletes monetize with things like endorsement deals, advertising, stocks, bonds, and real estate. You may be competing in various events, coaching others, and staying fit so you’re “on your game”, but it’s equally important to make sure you have an income “off of the court”.

What happens when you hurt yourself or when you need to take days off to support a loved one? Do you want to see your income dip? Probably not.

It’s important to establish passive streams of income that can make sure you’re paid when you’re playing sports and when you’re not. While passive income takes effort to get set up, once there’s momentum, you can be paid even while you sleep. Some examples of passive income streams athletes usually build are:

  • Book royalties
  • Royalties from movies or entertainment deals
  • Real estate investment
  • Venture capital investments or giving money to startup businesses in exchange for equity
  • Brand deals or Sponsorships
  • and, Affiliate marketing!

You may have tried some digital marketing things (like starting a Youtube account, setting up a Facebook page, or growing an Instagram account), but if you’re here, I want to show you how to use your platform and influence to make lots of money with affiliate marketing (even if you’re a new athlete with a small audience).

Examples of Affiliate Marketing in the Sports Industry

You might be wondering whether or not other athletes are using affiliate marketing to make money, and the good news is THEY DO!

Unfortunately, many don’t post income reports or reveal the details of their contracts, it’s common for athletes with audiences to monetize with endorsement deals. The endorsement deals can be set up where they’re told specifically what to do, how many videos to shoot, what to wear, and what time to show up. In exchange for their fulfillment of the endorsement contract, they can be paid a lump some up front.

Alternatively, an endorsement deal can be arranged thru affiliate marketing where an athlete could make an agreement with a brand that in exchange for a percentage of every sale they make, they earn a commission–this is actually more ideal.

Become a Sponsored Athlete or an Affiliate: Which is Best?

As a sponsored athlete, you have strict guidelines to follow and you get paid in various arrangements: sometimes all up front, sometimes a portion up front and draws throughout the duration of the contract. With sponsorships, you may have to be exclusive to a brand, and your commitment may last over several years.

Sponsorships can be great, but what if you can get paid a percentage of the sale for the life of your endorsement? What if you had the creative freedom to promote the product with minimal rules and requirements, and you get paid per sale? What if you could expect payments from a video, article, or piece of content you made years ago?

Affiliate marketing can offer this. Both, sponsorship deals and affiliate marketing can be cool ways to monetize your content, but don’t limit yourself solely to sponsorships. Affiliate marketing has it’s perks too! Some include:

  • Ability to start earning even before you have a large audience
  • Location freedom
  • Schedule flexibility
  • Lots of brands to work with
  • No glass ceiling on your income potential
  • and, Typically you have full creative freedom with your promotions as long as you’re ethical and making sales

What is Affiliate Marketing?

Let me explain what affiliate marketing is with an example…

Let’s say you have a game coming up and your feet have been hurting, so you decide to find some good insoles.

You want to find the best shoe insoles for your sports shoes, so you go online and type in “Best insoles for sports”.

Several articles and videos pop up. You decide to choose the result that sticks out to you the most, and you visit that website.

In the article, the author did a thorough comparison and made some very valid points. You agree that the insoles they’re saying are the best, probably are the best, so you decide to click the link in the article to visit the page where you can buy the insoles.

If the author included an affiliate link in their article and you click and buy, the website owner would get a commission–this is affiliate marketing in a nutshell.

How Affiliate Marketing Works

People use the internet all the time to find solutions to problems they’re having. Things like:

  • Dinner ideas
  • Gift ideas
  • How to do sports moves
  • what sports gear to buy
  • and where to find sports gear

…Are things people search for online. When you can participate in helping them solve their problems in a genuine and honest way, you can be paid with commissions.

How Affiliate Marketing can Work for You as an Athlete

As an athlete, you’re likely to have large audiences watching you play sports. While you play, people are likely to be attracted to:

  • The way you play
  • The things you wear
  • The gear you use
  • The lifestyle you grow
  • The places you go
  • And much more

As a result, you’ll have the ability to influence their buying decisions when you mention products or services you’ve enjoyed, tried, or feel strongly about.

Many celebrities get paid for mentions of products and services they use or recommend, and as an affiliate, you can too. If you decide to become an affiliate partner with brands you don’t mind recommending to others, you can be paid commissions for your recommendations.

Step-by-Step: How to Get Started with Affiliate Marketing as an Athlete

If you think affiliate marketing could be a good income stream for you to grow, here are the steps I’d recommend you take to get started:

1. Choose a Niche or Target Audience

As an athlete, it’s possible you could have several different types of people watching you, but it’s important to choose a group of them that have similar interest, and create a profile of who they are. You want to know:

  • Who they are
  • What types of things they’re interested in
  • and, What types of things they might buy from you

2. Build a Website

After you know who your target audience is, it can help you to build a website that attracts and engages them. Although, you may have social media accounts or even a Youtube account, it’s important to have a website.

On social media, there are guidelines that make those platforms achieve the vision and mission of the platform, and you can easily be banned without warning (even when you feel like you haven’t done anything wrong). When you have your own website, it serves as “your hub” where your audience can go to hear from you, see your recommendations, and even get on your email list.

Website building might sounds intimidating, but you can actually create a website in 30 seconds or less using the website builder below…

3. Choose Relevant Affiliate Partners

Once your website is live, and you know your target audience, you want to choose relevant affiliate partners. It’s important to choose affiliate partners who provide a solution to your customers (even if it’s entertainment or passion-items like fan gear), and who you’re confident about their business ethics and customer satisfaction. You can check out my full guide on choosing good affiliate partners here.

Some cool affiliate programs for athletes

Here are a few affiliate networks you can check out:

Here are a few affiliate programs you can check out:

  • Fanatics (earn up to 10% per sale on Sports memorabilia)
  • Fitbit (earn up to 10% per sale on purchases of Sports watches)
  • Under Armour (earn 5% commissions on sales of sports gear)

There are many more companies you can make affiliate partnerships with that I haven’t mentioned. Can’t you see the power in this yet?

4. Get Traffic or Build an Audience

Once you’re website is set up, you have good partners, and you know what your audience likes, it’s important to grow your audience. The more people that know you, the more people you’ll be able to influence in a positive way. Your service as an athlete is to entertain. You can bring hope, excitement, a teamwork ethos, and overall community thru your sports.

Your affiliate partners can add onto the help you can offer your audience. They can give them something to take home to remember the games, things to practice sports with themselves, ways to get fit and in shape, and so much more. When you grow your audience, more people will become aware of you and your affiliate partners, which means you’ll be valued more as an athlete and as an influencer.

5. Make Money

When you have an audience and people make buying decisions thru your affiliate tracking links, you get paid for the sales, and MAKE MONEY.


While athletes typically make money actively by playing sports or coaching them, the most successful athletes also diversify their investments by having passive streams of income. Affiliate marketing can be a great passive stream of income for an athlete, and hopefully, this article demonstrated to you how to take action.

If you’d like to get started with affiliate marketing, I’d love to help you even more. I coach enthusiasts on how to make money with affiliate marketing everyday, and I’d love to help you. If you’re ready to get started, join me here and get the website, networking, software, and coaching you need.

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