The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Redefining Fame: MLB WAGs and Their Rising Influence in Digital Culture


As digital platforms evolve, so too does the concept of fame. In the realm of sports, particularly Major League Baseball (MLB), a significant shift is underway. The spouses and partners of MLB players, collectively known as WAGs (Wives and Girlfriends), are no longer just bystanders in the sports world. They are becoming pivotal influencers in their own right, shaping fan interactions and setting trends across social media landscapes. This article, inspired by a recent study by Doc’s Sports, delves into how these women are redefining fame and their impact on digital media trends, with a specific look at their impressive earnings from social media.

The Digital Spotlight

Why are MLB WAGs gaining such traction in digital culture? The answer lies partly in the accessibility and relatability they offer—traits that traditional celebrities often lack. This recent study by Doc’s Sports highlights the impressive social media reach and earnings of these women, pointing to a broader shift in public interests.

From Sidelines to Headlines

Initially perceived as mere extensions of their famous partners, MLB WAGs are now headline makers. They engage with fans, promote personal and philanthropic initiatives, and even endorse brands, turning their social media platforms into lucrative ventures. Jessica Verlander, for example, uses her platform to connect with over 100,000 followers on health and wellness, enhancing her brand beyond her association with her husband, Justin Verlander.

Harnessing Social Media Influence

The power of these women is magnified by their strategic use of social media. Vanessa Hudgens, partner to Cole Tucker, epitomizes this with potential earnings of $58,511 per post across her platforms, thanks to her massive following of over 56 million across Instagram and TikTok. Their connection not only boosts their personal brands but also enhances their partners’ visibility and marketability.

Transforming Fan Engagement

MLB WAGs are not just influencing trends; they are transforming how fans interact with the sport itself. Their social media activities offer fans a more holistic view of the lives of baseball stars, thereby enhancing fan engagement. This deeper engagement is crucial in an era where fans crave authentic connections and behind-the-scenes insights, which are generously provided by these influential figures. Their posts, stories, and interactions do not merely highlight the glamorous aspects of sports but also the everyday realities and challenges, making the sport more relatable and approachable.

Building Communities

These women often spearhead community-building efforts, such as Olivia Dunne, partner to Paul Skenes, who utilizes her 13.1 million combined followers on Instagram and TikTok to engage fans, with each post bringing potential earnings of $16,199. Beyond her earning potential, Dunne’s content often includes motivational posts, behind-the-scenes training videos, and mental health advocacy, which resonate deeply with young athletes and aspiring gymnasts. This creates a sense of community and support among fans who look up to her not just as an influencer but as a mentor and advocate in the sports community.

A New Venue for Sponsorships

As their followings grow, brands view these influencers as valuable partners. Kate Upton, for instance, can command up to $9,381 per Instagram post due to her strong follower base of 6.7 million, showcasing the high marketability of MLB WAGs. Upton’s partnerships are not limited to fashion and beauty; they extend into wellness and family-oriented products, reflecting her personal life stages and interests. This alignment allows brands to reach specific demographics in the sports community through authentic, targeted marketing campaigns that feel more personal and engaging.

The Business of Being a WAG

Being an MLB WAG in today’s digital age is more than just a social role; it’s a business. These women are savvy entrepreneurs who know how to monetize their influence and craft their own brand identities. They navigate the complexities of personal branding with a keen understanding of market dynamics and fan psychology, positioning themselves as key figures in the sports industry.

Monetization Strategies

Effective use of platforms like Instagram and TikTok has allowed these women to not only engage with fans but also to monetize these interactions. Mallory Pugh, for example, engages her 633 thousand Instagram followers effectively, yielding potential earnings of $1,043 per post. Pugh combines her sports insights with lifestyle content, offering a blend of training tips, nutritional advice, and personal life updates, which broadens her appeal and enhances her engagement rates. Her approach demonstrates a strategic diversification of content that appeals to both sports enthusiasts and lifestyle audiences.

Impact on Player Brands

The fame and activities of MLB WAGs can also positively impact the brands of the players themselves. A popular WAG brings additional attention to the player, enhancing his marketability and even bargaining power in contract negotiations. This influence is significant in negotiations for endorsements and contracts, where a player’s public persona can be just as important as his athletic performance. The positive public image fostered by a charismatic and influential partner can make teams and sponsors more eager to associate with the player, viewing their relationship as a holistic package that can attract fan interest and media attention.


The influence of MLB WAGs in digital culture is a vivid example of how fame is being redefined in the age of social media. They are more than just partners to high-profile athletes; they are trendsetters, community leaders, and savvy businesswomen who actively shape the digital landscape. As this recent study by Doc’s Sports illustrates, their rise is not just a fleeting trend but a significant shift in how we perceive influence and engagement in the digital era. Their continued evolution will undoubtedly offer even more insights into the convergence of sports, media, and personal branding.

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