Lehmann most influential women’s player on Instagram ahead of World Cup

MANCHESTER: Switzerland’s Alisha Lehmann, arguably as well known for her social media presence as her prowess on the pitch, is the top Instagram influencer heading to the Women’s World Cup, according to Nielsen Sports, amassing 13.5 million followers to pass American Alex Morgan in the last year.

“The soccer players participating at World Cup 2023 are not only exceptional sportswomen but also social media powerhouses, capable of driving impactful conversations and fostering genuine connections with their followers,” Jon Stainer, Nielsen’s global managing director, said in a statement.

Lehmann’s followers jumped 75 per cent over the last year, according to Nielsen InfluenceScope, taking the striker – who has posted on behalf of fashion brand Boohoo, perfume company Gisada, British jeweller MJ Jones, EA Sports and Coca Cola – past Roger Federer as the most popular Swiss sportsperson on Twitter.

The 24-year-old has also been outspoken about the toxic world of online trolls and featured in UEFA’s 2022 “Respect” campaign about online bullying.

Lehmann told talkSPORT recently: “Some people just see Instagram and social media and don’t even know I actually play football … When I don’t post a football picture for a week, people say, ‘Oh she doesn’t even play.'”

Lehmann, who scored six goals in 31 games for Aston Villa this season and has 38 caps, comes in ahead of Spain midfielder Alexia Putellas, U.S. striker Morgan, and England captain Leah Williamson, who will miss the World Cup with a knee injury.

Each Instagram post from Lehmann and Putellas, who in 2021 was the first player to win the UEFA Women’s Player of the Year, Ballon d’Or Feminin and The Best FIFA Women’s Player award in the same year, deliver over $100,000 of media value to brands.

Germany’s Jule Brand, a forward at VfL Wolfsburg, had the greatest growth of followers by any player in Nielsen’s top-10 most influential, with an increase of 517 per cent over the last year.

Rounding out the top 10 are: Megan Rapinoe (U.S.); Marta (Brazil); Jordyn Huitema (Canada); Brand; Alessia Russo (England); and Sakina Karchaoui (France).

The rankings, created ahead of the World Cup that kicks off on July 20 in Australia and New Zealand, are based on Nielsen’s measurement tool InfluenceScope.

It evaluates followers and follower growth, engagement rate, audience reachability and average brand value per post on Instagram to determine which players deliver the most social media value to their sponsors.

Cristiano Ronaldo has the most Instagram followers among male players with over 530 million.

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