Alisha Lehmann is a household name when it comes to women’s football. At just 24, she is a recognizable face on the pitch for Aston Villa, known for her striking abilities and commendable tenacity. But beyond the grassy expanse of the football field, Lehmann’s visibility extends into the world of social media and brand endorsements. Today, she is not just a player, she’s an icon, standing tall as a powerful influencer and brand in her own right.
Carla Speight, a PR expert, likens Lehmann’s career to that of the legendary David Beckham. A striking comparison, but certainly not without grounds. Like Beckham, Lehmann has embraced the reality that football is a fleeting career, but the brand one builds can and does, last beyond it.
Her impact can be gauged from her staggering Instagram following of over 15.2 million. Numbers that dwarf the follower count of any other Women’s World Cup player. And it isn’t just quantity but the quality of engagement that she garners. And similar to Beckham, Lehmann too has her fingers in multiple brand pies.
With contracts from Boohoo, a popular fashion retailer, Adidas, the reputed sports brand, and EA Sports, the gaming giants, she’s certainly making her mark. Recently, she became the first female ambassador for sports drink Prime, a deal which could be worth up to $2 million.
And that’s not all. Lehmann’s profile extends further with an impressive 2024 calendar launched recently. Limited edition copies, autographed by Lehmann, are available for $290, while regular ones can be purchased for a cool $95.
She’s found herself facing some criticism though, often being told she’s too ‘glam’ to play the sport. Lehmann is known for hitting the field in full make-up, long nails, and a well-groomed appearance – for many, a sight too unusual on a football pitch. Detractors often harp how she should spend lesser time on make-up and more on training.
The Swiss-born striker, however, has a fitting response. Unfettered by the criticism, she has always maintained that her looks or lifestyle choices don’t dictate her skills on the pitch. “You can literally be however you want and still play football,” she said, fighting back the stigma surrounding her appearance.
The golden rule of her life, one that runs like a thread through all her endeavors, is to be unapologetically herself. And it is indeed working for her, as the millions of followers and the hefty contracts suggest.
Alisha Lehmann’s journey, undoubtedly, sets a new precedent. A transformed sporting world where athletes are far more than just ‘players’. They are influencers, human brands with the power to impact and inspire. And in that world, Alisha Lehmann, both glitzy and gritty, is not just a part, she’s a trendsetter.
But Lehmann is not just about raking in the millions and establishing a brand. She is also committed to breaking societal norms. Her take on the criticism she receives for looking ‘too glam’ on the pitch is telling. She insists that just because she likes to use make-up and maintain her looks, it does not in any way infringe on her ability as a player. And she wants her fans and critics to understand just that.
What adds an interesting dimension to Lehmann’s persona is the fact that she is not just dabbling in these projects because she likes to. These ventures, these appearances are also a source of formidable revenue for her. PR specialist Jack Cooper explains, “Her diverse content, from football training videos to lifestyle and fashion showcases, means she can attract a broader range of brand partnerships.”
These brand partnerships, in turn, lead to financial gains that far outweigh what she earns on the pitch. For instance, if only 1% of her Instagram followers were to buy her cheapest calendar, she would still generate over $14.4 million in sales. The numbers are astronomical and serve as a shining example for other athletes who are looking to leverage their personal brand.
Along with her brand tie-ups, Lehmann also has an active FanTime account where she shares personal photos and interacts with her fans. This comes with a subscription fee, with charges ranging from $130 per year to $15 per month. Using similar projections, if 1% of her Instagram followers subscribe to the minimum fee, she could be looking at an additional $1.6 million per month.
“In the sporting world, Alisha is breaking the mould,” says Cooper.
Not only is she setting new aesthetics standards on the football field, but she’s also paving the way for athletes to understand and utilise the power of social platforms to create brands of their own. She demonstrates that there is more to a successful career in sports than just the game. A lesson that is echoed by many contemporary sports personalities worldwide.
In conclusion, Alisha Lehmann’s journey is an extraordinary one. From being a star footballer to becoming a social media sensation and brand influencer, she has proved that one can excel in multiple realms simultaneously. Lehmann’s story serves as an inspiration and invites us to broaden our perspectives on what it means to be a successful sportsperson in the present day. She stands as a beacon, lighting the way for others to follow, reinforcing the idea that one’s potential is indeed limitless. And while she continues to flourish both on and off the pitch, the world watches on, anticipating her next move.