As we approach the new year, some sport have just started their season, while others are closing in on championship games. Nonetheless, one thing is obvious. There is an increasing number of brands taking advantage of sports marketing. And, if your brand isn’t one of those utilizing this strategy, keep reading to learn why you should reconsider.
Sports Marketing 101
Why It Works
Many brands spend millions of dollars on sports marketing initiatives. In fact, in 2018 Sportcal did a survey of 30 of the largest alcohol brands in the world and found that those brands spend a combined $764.5 million per year on sports sponsorship.¹
And, this is just one industry…in one year. So why are they spending this much? It’s actually quite simple and it all has to do with the industry’s audience.
Tim Smith, President of Chemistry explained, “Sports cross all cultures and race. You will be hard-pressed to find many marketable events that bring such diverse groups together.”
How It Works
Sports are rooted in American culture. So much so that according to a study conducted by Creditcards.com, between 2016 and 2017 Americans spent $56 billion on sporting events.² By engaging in this form of marketing, your company has the opportunity to build a relationship based on an American pastime.
Britt Fero, Principal of PB& elaborated on why so many brands use sports to connect with their customers, “Sports carry conversation, emotional attachment, loyalty, passion – and most of all, fandom. Brands vie day in and day out for all of those things. Today, brands don’t just need to build ‘consumers’ — they need to build fans.”
“Today, brands don’t just need to build ‘consumers’ — they need to build fans”
– Britt Fero, Principal, PB&
In reality, consumers are more likely to choose a brand that they can relate to. This is why sports marketing works so well. When a brand engages in sports marketing they have the opportunity to create a shared interest with the fans of that sport and ultimately gain new customers.
Tausif Al Hossain, SEO at Sociallyin explained the significance of establishing this shared experience, “This point of connection makes customers feel a little more secure in their business transactions and in addition, makes the brand feel less like a business and more like a person they can relate to.”
Sports marketing can take on many different forms. A few years ago, sports marketing was pretty much limited to advertising inside of stadiums and airtime during the event. However, nowadays marketers are creating more authentic brand experiences.
Play by Play – Dick’s Sporting Goods
Al Hossain explained that in regards to social media marketing around a big sporting event or for a sports-related client, you have to take an offensive approach. In addition to this, you need to be creative.
As a sporting goods store, Dick’s had an obligation to stay on top of the 2017 NCAAF Playoffs and keep their audience in the know. In order to do this, they would need to be a conversation host.
Al Hossain said, “The SociallyIn creative team designed and posted real-time social content pieces to highlight significant moments that happened during the season to keep everyone in the loop.”
He elaborated on how they helped accomplish this campaign, “This was executed by using creative and engaging content to spark the imagination of the audience and keep them entertained as well as informed around the games.”
By starting conversations with their followers in real-time, they gave their audience a chance to be engaged and have fun while taking part in things such as giveaways and mini-games.
After the NCAAF Playoff games, Dick’s Sporting Goods’ Facebook posts received over 25K engagements and the Twitter posts received over 400 likes, retweets, and comments.
Thank You, Mom – P&G
In this moving ad, P&G shows us that you don’t have to be a sports brand to take advantage of sports marketing. Thank You, Mom proves that with creativity you can craft a relationship between a product and the sporting event it sponsors.
Making Good Things Happen With Every Can – Bud Light
Bud Light’s not new to the sports marketing scene, however, with the help of PB& they were able to activate their relationship with the Seattle Seahawks. Fero and the team at PB& helped showcase Bud Light as a brand determined to make a difference.
This is a fantastic campaign as Bud Light goes beyond simply trying to sell their product to customers. Not to mention, the brand was able to make a difference throughout the NFL season as Seahawks fans had the chance to clean up the tailgate alongside iconic Seattle sports legends and win an upgraded game day experience.
Understanding eSports Marketing
I’m sure you’re well aware that eSports are on the rise. And, this now billion-dollar industry has the chance to offer your brand some amazing opportunities. However, don’t let all those money signs give you tunnel vision. As a marketer, it is still important to do research beforehand to see if this is indeed the right opportunity for your brand.
Fero said, “Many brands may jump too quickly on the need to be in eSports without first taking the time to understand the nuances of this type of sport.” She elaborated, “The fandom of eSports carries a different and particular language. Brands need to really understand that, become fans themselves, and then figure out how to show they share their values.”
“The fandom of eSports carries a different and particular language.”
– Britt Fero, Principal, PB&
However, if your research proves that this is a good outlet for your brand then you’re in luck. Just like traditional sports, eSports are global and cross all cultures. In addition to this, the industry’s statistics are extremely promising.
Chemistry’s Smith revealed that “The consumption, hours watched has grown a billion hours each year since 2013. The average time is about 3 hours a week for the 18 to 25-year-old market. Those viewers are targeted by the streaming services and produce detailed data, that is why ad revenues will be crossing the billion dollar mark soon.”
Consult The Professionals
The world of sports offers so many marketing opportunities for your brand…football, baseball, basketball, soccer, hockey, tennis, golf, swimming, gymnastics; seems a little overwhelming, doesn’t it? There are countless opportunities, but don’t let yourself get lost in the chaos of it all.
Sometimes the best thing you can do is consult a professional. With Agency Spotter you can search by industry expertise and audience specialty so you can find the perfect partner to help you navigate this saturated field.
¹ Sportcal | ² CNBC