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The Tweet Heard Around The Endorsement World

Twitter
Twitter

I'm not sure about the future of Twitter, but it's worth mentioning that the social networking site was part of sports marketing history last week.

That's when Shaquille O'Neal announced, in a tweet, that he had signed an endorsement deal with Enlyten, the electrolyte strip brand.

O'Neal might not be considered to be among the most popular athletes anymore, but he's the most popular athlete in the Twitter world.

The Phoenix Suns center currently has more than 500,000 people following him on Twitter, which ranks as the eighth biggest following on the entire site, according to Twitterholic.com.

The only people ranked ahead of O'Neal are Britney Spears, Ashton Kutcher, Barack Obama and Jimmy Fallon.

What's groundbreaking about O'Neal "breaking" the endorsement deal on Twitter is that it's believed to be the first time an athlete has reported such a deal without the typical middleman, the media.

When an athlete signs an endorsement deal, he or she goes through the media to announce it first. And while a select few have their own Web sites, they've usually used the forum for non-business related matters, like Tiger Woods updating his surgery progress.

As a journalist who reports on endorsement deals, I have to be honest, I'm already pretty concerned about the Twitter way.

Why?

Well, think about the fact that with a couple words O'Neal has announced to everyone who has cared to follow him that he is now with Enlyten.

The potential for reaching O'Neal's fans faster than one of my blogs or articles is certainly out there.

And think about what the endorsement relies upon. It relies upon the athlete having purchasing power sway and that normally happens with people who are fans of the star.

I'm not saying Twitter is here to stay or that it's going to necessarily change the reporting game, but it has already done its part to change the sports marketing landscape.

I guess I have to follow every athlete now.

Questions? Comments? SportsBiz@cnbc.com