How I Perform is Not Enough: Exploring Branding Barriers Faced by Elite Female Athletes

Jami Lobpries
Gregg Bennett
Natasha Brison

The purpose of this investigation was to examine the perceived barriers elite female athletes face attempting to create a personal brand. Utilizing a criterion purposive sample of elite female athletes and agents who represent elite female athletes, the authors employed a qualitative analysis to obtain a rich understanding of the barriers elite female athletes grapple with regarding branding initiatives. Two central categories, with five broad themes, emerged from the literature review, theoretical underpinning, subsequent research questions, and data analysis on perceived barriers in the brand building process for these elite female athletes and their agents. These themes were identified as being bold and assertive, assumption attractiveness matters, performance and something else, invisible and lacking, and proper brand management. These findings add to the extant literature by identifying specific barriers that arise when seeking to build and manage the female athlete brand.

Open Access