In the age of social media, professional athletes’ retirements aren’t just grand last hurrahs — they’re also marketing opportunities.
Veteran NFL player Vince Wilfork announced his retirement Monday on Twitter, in a video post sponsored by Kingsford Charcoal, a Clorox brand.
Wilfork wrote: “Well y’all – it’s been a great run, but the time has come.”
The announcement heralds the end of a 13-year career for Wilfork, who played 11 seasons for the New England Patriots and two seasons for the Houston Texans. The nose tackle won the Super Bowl twice with the Patriots, and was selected for the Pro Bowl five times, according to the NFL.
His branded announcement could signal a new trend in social media, as Wilfork’s post says he and Kingsford will host a “farewell tailgate” in September outside the Patriots’ stadium in Massachusetts.
Often, high-profile athletes will announce their retirement through publications or media appearances, such as Michael Phelps’ interview with the TODAY Show during the 2016 Rio Olympics or Ray Allen and David Ortiz publishing stories with the athlete-driven website The Players’ Tribune.
But social media announcements are becoming increasingly en vogue, as professionals utilize platforms like YouTube to speak to their fans, such as Tony Stewart in 2015 for on the Stewart-Hass Racing channel.
Twitter posts are also popular, like with Marshawn Lynch’s simple picture of his cleats in 2016.