10 Performing Sportswear Brands Ranked by MIV® (August-September 2022)

Charlotte Gillet

Looking back at the origins of athleisure and sportswear brands, they reached a turning point in the twentieth century as a result of social and cultural changes. At the time, athleisure represented the comfortable clothes women wore to observe spectator sports. They were described by the Nation's Business in 1997 as depicting ensembles of casual clothes designed to create the appearance of athleticism. 

Since then, the term has evolved to encompass more than just the resemblance of sportswear but also to serve its functional purpose. On top of that, far from only wearing athleisure for protection from contact sports or wearing more breathable materials to help in aerobic exercises, sportswear has moved on to also concern the fashionable features of clothes. Yes, the tables have turned since the twentieth century, with streetwear influencing the design and target market of athletic clothing collections.

With athleisure playing such a dominant role in today’s market, understanding where each brand stands is predominant. According to the Athleisure Market Size, Share & Trends Analysis Report by the Grand View Research consulting company, the global market size of athleisure was valued at 307B USD and held a share of over 60% in 2021. Furthermore, according to market research company, Allied Market Research, the global activewear industry is forecasted to reach nearly 547B USD by 2024.

In order to maintain their positions in the complex market that comprises the athleisure industry today, brands need to acknowledge where their competitors stand and the results they’re attaining to be able to fine-tune their strategies accordingly. What’s more — the best way to capture these insights is through data analysis. 

Consequently, we benchmarked the performance of 10 remarkable brands in the sportswear sector.Thanks to our proprietary algorithm, Media Impact Value™ (MIV®), we were able to measure and benchmark the impact of all media placements and mentions across different Voices during a selected period of time. Additionally, we were able to deep dive into why some brands are performing better than others, as well as the tactics that led to their successes.

Which are the 10 Sportswear Brands we Selected?

For this competitive benchmarking report, we analysed the MIV® data from August 1, 2022, to September 30, 2022, for the following 10 sportswear brands:

  1. Nike
  2. Adidas
  3. New Balance
  4. Puma
  5. Converse
  6. Reebok
  7. Under Armour
  8. Lululemon
  9. Fila
  10. Athleta

Sportswear Insights: A Report on the Global State of the Sector

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The infographic below displays the overall rankings of the selected sportswear brands by Media Impact Value™ between August to September 2022. It also displays the number of placements each of the ten brands had within the time frame. These placements take into account social media posts, articles pertaining to specific search queries (e.g. the brand, products, or even events) as well as the interactions consumers made with the posts such as tags and comments. 

10 Performing Brands in Sportswear in 2022

The second bar chart below demonstrates the breakdown of the Voice Mix Benchmark.

10 Top Performing Brands Ranking by Voice Mix

This chart represents the Voice Mix metric which provides the percentage of each of the five Voices that consumers are exposed to: Media, Influencers, Celebrities, Partners and Owned Media. The percentage is based on the total MIV® which each Voice generated for the sportswear brands. 

Notable data points to takeaway from this chart would be the prevalence of Media for every brand as a Voice-centric approach in terms of a dominant strategy. Adidas and Under Armour appeared to have leveraged the Partners Voice more than the other brands whereas Converse singularly tapped a lot into their Owned Media Voice. 

These insights are intriguing, but what placements in each Voice found themselves to be most engaging to the consumer audience? What were the essential trends and strategies which can easily be applied to your own brand? Why are Nike, Adidas, New Balance, Puma, and Converse at the forefront of the rankings in terms of MIV®? 

Read on to find out more about the benchmarking and analysis of these 10 sportswear brands.


Coming at the top of the rankings for the selected sportswear brands is the multinational association Nike. Renowned for its partnership with high profile athletes, the brand garnered $366M in MIV® across 142K placements from August to September 2022. 

Its success can be predominantly attributed to their use of the Media Voice as it pitched in $236M overall of the total MIV®. The Online and Social Media Channels being the most prominent with Instagram having accumulated 32% of the MIV® for the brand. It is worth noting, that the Print Channel did not contribute as much to the brand’s overall Media Impact Value™.

Between Nike’s 50th anniversary campaign “Never Done Evolving” featuring Serena Williams, Drake’s tribute to the brand in his live concert, or even simply the brand’s loyal ambassadors — Nike has often found itself in the media spotlight in 2022. 

Consequently, looking back as to what makes Nike stand out amongst other brands is its distinguishable sponsors. Just the top three placements for Nike from August 1st to September 30th 2022 are from high profile athletes with extensive reach: Christiano Ronaldo’s instagram post generated $2.31M in MIV®, Kylian Mbappé instagram post generated $822K in MIV®, and Serena Williams’ instagram post generated $678K in MIV®. 

Nike’s long term partnerships has been a great leverage for the brand by not only garnering significant MIV® but also by leading considerable social and online media coverage. Their success can assuredly be attributed to their Celebrity and Influencer’s Voice-centric strategy campaigns. 


What started as a small sportswear brand being registered in the small town of Herzogenaurach in 1949 has become a brand recognizable worldwide. Coming in second out of the ten significant sportswear brands selected for this report, Adidas accumulated $347M in Media Impact Value™ across 106K placements between August and September 2022.

Like all brands in this ranking, Adidas can attribute a lot of its success to the Media Voice with it independently pitching in $171M, 49% of the total MIV®. What sets it apart from some of the other brands, however, is its weighty Owned Media Voice with an impressive $72.6M in MIV®. To push the matter further, the top of Adidas’ Key Voices is the Partner Voice, with an accumulated $33.4M in MIV® across 1010 placements mostly on the Chinese social media platform Douyin.

Sportswear Ranking - Adidas Channel Mix by MIV

Having taken into account the Voice mix, we can dive a bit deeper into Adidas’ strategies through the Channel Split bar chart above. Around $62.2M of MIV® was generated through Chinese social media channels Bilibili, RED, WeChat, Weibo, and most dominantly Douyin. The success of presenting sustainable coverage across these Asian platforms, not forgetting the prominence of Instagram as well with $111M overall, gives Adidas a competitive foundation worldwide.

Sportswear Adidas - Blackpink post

Tapping into Asian resources is a step which Adidas has already successfully taken, but another valuable one they have accomplished is leveraging influential Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs). K-pop stars are increasingly popular in the West with BTS winning the IFPI Recording Artist of the Year Award 2022 for the second year in a row. Other infamous K-pop groups have been just as popular — notably BLACKPINK, a significant group sponsor of Adidas. Their influence for the brand is not only predominant in Asia, but also everywhere in the world. The top three placements for Adidas were from the instagram posts of three of BLACKPINK performers: J, Jisoo, and Rosé. As the top placement for the brand, J’s post amassed $1.44M in MIV®.

New Balance

As the name stands, New Balance started as an orthopaedic footwear company to give customers better “balance” and support. Now, it stands comfortably in third place at the top of the selected brand rankings in the world of sportswear. Having collected $79.8M in MIV® across 36.4K placements from August to September 2022, readers won’t be surprised to read that it’s the Media Voice which contributed the most with $50.5M — more than half of all of the Media Impact Value™.

The success of media coverage for New Balance is highlighted by the large quantity of placements the brand illustrates across different Key Voices. At the top, Hypebeast US generated $5.13M in MIV® for New Balance across 293 placements and Sneaker News US garnered $4.09M across 187 placements, a significant amount. The highest amount of MIV® between both, nonetheless, was capped at Hypebeast US’ instagram post which accrued $128K MIV®.

When it comes to optimising exposure, Influencer sponsorship is a great qualifiable marketing strategy which New Balance, similarly to Nike and Adidas, demonstrates to have leveraged successfully. Japanese influencer 千千進食中 wore the New Balance XC-72 in her YouTube video and the placement came second place for New Balance generating $203K in MIV®.

Sportswear - Jack Harlow x New Balance

Most recently, New Balance’s new special collaboration with American Rapper Jack Harlow gained traction for the brand as consumers await the release of the New Balance 550 collection. As it celebrated the release of the artist’s second album “Come Home the Kids Miss You”, Jack Harlow’s post on the new collection came first as the top placement for the brand with $560K in MIV®.


Though now separate entities, German multinational brands Puma and Adidas retain their positions at the top of the rankings for sportswear brands. With an overall MIV® of $68.2M across 30.4K placements, Puma gains much of its success from its partnerships and collaborations with distinguished athletes. At a neat 50% with $34.3M in MIV®, the Media Voice takes over, once again, as the most prominent Voice in the mix. 

Puma, similarly to Nike, has demonstrated the successful implementation of collaborating with credible high-profile athletes. At the top placement for the brand, Neymar Jr’s instagram post generated $1.01M in MIV® for Puma whilst also at the top, Usain St. Leo Bolt’s instagram reel accumulated $384K. 

Sportswear Ranking Neymar

Puma was able to launch a new collection featuring Kareena Kapoor Khan, a famous Indian actress. This collection leveraged not only the brands Owned Media channels but also with the aid of the Celebrity Voice. This is a similar occurrence of a cross-Voice strategy we observed with New Balance and Jack Harlow. The success of the launch can be emphasised by the success of Kareena Kapoor Khan two instagram posts which garnered $407K and $324K in MIV®.
By leveraging Celebrity Voices across multiple platforms, the brand is able to maximise MIV®, but also increase Social and Online Media coverage.

Sportswear Market Asia

Do you want to know how much MIV® your marketing strategy in China is driving?



Though Converse didn’t start out in 1908 to become the renowned athleisure brand it is known to be today, its success in the industry is nevertheless undeniable. This success is highlighted in this report’s ranking as between August and September 2022, the brand gathered an overall $48.0M in MIV® across 13.5K placements.

An interesting statistic regarding the data collected on Converse is that as the Owned Media Voice gathered $14.1M in MIV® for Converse across 2,16K placements, it has the highest MIV® per placement with 9.28K. In other words, its Owned Media strategies are proving to be most successful by placement in contrast to all of the other Voices. On top of that, out of the top ten Key Voices of Converse, seven of those are Owned Media. Taking into account, however, that the Media Voice is, as always, the one generating the most Media Impact Value™ for the brand.

Ultimately, the success of Converse’s Owned Media strategies concerns another cross-Voice strategy as the brand’s own channels leverage the Influencer Voice to optimise its exposure. The promotion of Converse and Keem’s collaboration, for example, was very successful by contributing to the $1.26M in MIV® collected by the Owned Media Voice Converse in the US.

How to Benchmark Your Sportswear Brand

The aim for this report is to help you gain more awareness about the successful marketing strategies and tactics some of the top sportswear brands use to optimise their MIV®.

If you want to learn more about the position of your own brand and how it compares to your competitors, you need a deeper dive into the analytics of your brand’s performance. This tailored data will help you in measuring the effectiveness of your campaigns by analysing the performance of each Voice and Channels as well as benchmark your key results against those of your competitors.

If this report has sparked your interest, scroll to find out more below. 

Sportswear Insights: A Report on the Global State of the Sector

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