There are few sports that I like so much of which football is the best: I love to play table tennis, volley ball, long tennis – among few others.
Something that I consider joyful, at this age, is that sports have become massive sources of employment generations, especially, among the youths – serving as forces for strengthening cordial relationships between states and nations of the world.
However, while some have become successful through sports; many others are counting their losses over their bid to enter the sporting world.
It, therefore, appears that private organisations, government and parents have a synergy role to play. Yet, there are good reports coming from sports corner, at the present.
Sports marketing is a subdivision of marketing which focuses both on the promotion of sports events and teams as well as the promotion of other products and services through sporting events and sports teams. It is a service in which the element promoted can be a physical product or a brand name. The goal is to provide the client with strategies to promote the sport or to promote something other than sport through sports. Sport marketing is also designed to meet the needs and wants of the consumer through exchange processes. These strategies follow the traditional four “P”‘s of general marketing Product, Price, Promotion and Place, another four “P”’s are added to sport marketing, relating to the fact sports are considered to be a service. The additional 4 P’s are: Planning, Packaging, Positioning and Perception. The addition of the four extra elements is called the “sport marketing mix.”
Sports marketing is an element of sports promotion which involves a wide variety of sectors of the sport industry including broadcasting, advertising, social media, digital platforms, ticket sales, and community relations.
Sport fans are crazy! Like all sectors of business, sports relies on market segmentation to effectively market itself. Sport fans differ according to a number of attributes including motivations to attend sporting events, emotional attachment, economic attachment, identity, and loyalty. These attributes also make sports different than other forms of entertainment as sport fans behave differently than consumers of other products and services.
Attributes such as loyalty can be recognized through the contracts players and athletes sign with sports companies in which they get paid to wear or use their products in each game or sporting event. By doing so, the players and athletes and also their fans develop a loyalty to the products for a longer time.
Types of Sports
With such an array of differences of sports fans, different types and levels of sports are found across the globe. For example, in many countries cricket and soccer are extremely popular while in the United States football, baseball, and basketball are most favored while college sports are also preferred. In addition to the classification of sports by levels, sports have also been classified as either mainstream or non-mainstream, also known as niche.
There are seven product attributes that differentiate mainstream sports from non-mainstream sports: accessibility, popularity, uniqueness, affordability, star power, player skill, and player similarity. Accessibility, affordability, and similarity are strongly related to niche sports while popularity, player skill as well as accessibility are strongly related to mainstream sports. Meanwhile, fans that are less-identified with a team are drawn to player similarity as they feel they can relate more with players while highly identified fans prefer the star power of players. Affordability also is a distinguishing factor among fans, as less-identified fans place greater importance on price. A practical marketing example of this is the National Lacrosse League mandating players to attend receptions of restaurants who sponsor the team. Other strategies that niche sports utilize to differentiate themselves from mainstream sports are providing easy access to team and player information, especially online, as well as offer affordable ticket prices and valuable promotions such as dollar beer nights and 25-cent hot dog nights. In contrast, popular mainstream sports like Major League Baseball (MLB) and the National Basketball Association (NBA) highlight the star power of players, which is why teams go to great effort to promote their best players. This is also seen in media as nationally televised sporting events often promote specific players leading up to games.
New challenges for sports marketing
With millennials switching to new platforms to access sport, the role of traditional media and sports marketing is changing. Outmoded inflexible contracts can leave little budget for the all-important activation, and with fans choosing rival unofficial channels for gossip and insider information, the rewards can be hard won. New and accessible ways to view sports, from mobile to social to VR, means there is less incentive for fans to attend events in person, while more expectation is placed on sports stars to pull off an authentic natural voice for their brands. The environment is extremely tough for small college athletics (e.g., NCAA Division III schools), who rely on fan attendance for revenue generation to keep their sports afloat – requiring communicators and marketers to become more creative in the ways they promote their sports to their target audiences.
The marketing of sports teams and events
According to different authors and organizations the marketing of sports events and teams is defined as “Designing or developing a ‘live’ themed activity, occasion, display, or exhibit a sporting event to promote a product, a team, cause, or organization. Which in other words it can be defined as follows: The marketing of sports events and teams is the marketing strategy which is designed or developed a “live” activity, which has a specific theme. Mostly this kind of strategy is used as a way to promote, display or exhibit different things, such as a sports team, a sport association among others. There are different events that can clearly exemplify this concept, such as the Super Bowl, the Olympic Games, the UEFA Champions League, the World Marathon Majors, and the FIFA World Cup.
Major sports brands compete to link up with the best marathons in the world, the test for excellence in ‘running’, in what is a genuine showcase for strengthening its marketing strategy to its target audience. Adidas, Asics and Nike are dividing the market into the ‘World Marathon Majors’, the international athletics competition created in 2006 that brings together the most prestigious marathons on the planet. They are not title but technical sponsors, but these runs are popular and are not to be missed events for these brands, which create specific advertising campaigns to one of the few competitions that brings together professionals and amateurs under the same chrono.
Examples of marketing of products through sport
Sponsorship of events
One of the oldest examples of the marketing of products through sports is Slazenger’s supplying of the official ball of Wimbledon (1902- 2015).Another international example of marketing products through sport is Adidas’ sponsorship of FIFA, which includes the company supplying the balls used in the World Cup and having its logo on the side boards along the field of play. In what it described as a “world first” in corporate sport sponsorship, in 2016 BNY Mellon and Newton Investment Management announced they had donated their title sponsorship of the annual Oxford and Cambridge Boat Races to Cancer Research UK.
Sponsorship of teams
Sponsorship of teams is found throughout sports. Some of the most visible examples are found in the MLS as company names and logos are featured on team jerseys. For example, Alaska Airlines is the official jersey sponsor of the Portland Timbers while Valspar is the official sponsor of the Chicago Fire. These are examples of sponsorships of companies that are not related to sports.
Turkish Airlines established a sports marketing strategy involving high-profile sports teams, players, and sport associations including Manchester United, FC Barcelona, the Euroleague basketball competition, NBA player Kobe Bryant, the Turkey national football team, and tennis player Caroline Wozniacki.
Another example of sports marketing through sponsorships of teams is the apparel contracts seen throughout sports. In 2011 Nike agreed to become the official apparel company of the NFL in exchange for around $220 million per year, a deal that has been extended through 2019.
Sponsorship of athletes
Apparel companies also sponsor professional athletes such as Kevin Durant who receives $30 million per year from Nike. Stephen Curry is speculated to receive even more money than Durant from his contract with Under Armour. Meanwhile, Puma pays sprinter Usain Bolt $10 million per year.
Many athletes maintain contracts with a variety of companies, some that are related to sports and others that are not. Roger Federer holds agreements with Nike, Wilson, Rolex, Mercedes-Benz, and Gillette, worth in sum close to $60 million each year. LeBron James’ contracts with Nike, Beats by Dre, Coca-Cola, Kia, McDonald’s, and Samsung accrue the NBA player more than $40 million per year. Peyton Manning meanwhile holds sponsorship agreements with companies including Buick, DirecTV, Gatorade, Nationwide and Papa John’s worth in sum approximately $12 million per year. Fellow NFL quarterback Drew Brees earns $11 million each year from his contracts with Wrangler, Vicks, Verizon, Nike, and Microsoft.
Another example of marketing through sports is the strategy used by Gillette to promote its personal hygiene products through representative figures of each sport on television during broadcast sports events. Gillette uses athletes such as tennis player Roger Federer, golfer Tiger Woods, and soccer player Thierry Henry. In the commercial these celebrities appear using the products of the company showing the results in order to demonstrate that if successful people use the products you should use them to. It is a clear example of this concept, because the company using this marketing strategy is not related to sports at all, but through important personalities of each sport it has the possibility to get to its target audience.
The promotion of sport to the public increase sport participation
Grassroots sport marketing is part of the field of marketing known as social marketing. This refers to marketing something that is of benefit to the public, and is normally done by government or charities rather than private sector organizations. It is normally done with a much smaller budget than marketing of sports teams and event or marketing of products through sports as it does not bring any direct financial benefit. Although this marketing normally drives people to clubs where they will pay to play sport it still needs to be subsidized in order to be run. The money therefore comes from local councils with a remit to increase participation or from public health sector which wants to decrease the cost of disease.
Examples of the promotion of sport to increase participation is the United States Golf Association’s initiatives to increase golf participation as well as MLB’s One Baseball campaign, which attempts to unify baseball organizations at all levels with the overall goal of increasing youth participation and consequently creating new fans.
Sport marketing through social media
Professional leagues, teams, and athletes have begun using social media as part of their marketing strategy in recent years. The most popular social media platforms are Facebook and Twitter, but athletes and teams have begun using sites including Instagram and Snapchat. Like all business, the advantages of social media use in sports include building brand awareness, reaching a large audience in an easy and cost-effective way as well as creating brand advocates and engaging passionate sport fans. Numerous examples exist within sports of athletes and teams using social media well to execute their strategy.
For a brand like Babolat, for example, having a world icon like Rafael Nadal as its top representative is priceless. There is no better way to stand up to your competition than by joining up with the strongest. But you must know how to do it, it is not a case of anything goes. And this is where knowing how to use social media is fundamental. “A message on Twitter is not just an advertising channel with which you can win an audience. Its power lies in the message being relevant and credible”, explains Edwin Schravesande (professor of e-marketing at the Johan Cruyff Academy of Tilburg).
Baylor Rewards Program: When fans decide to “Like” or “Follow” Baylor athletics on either Twitter or Facebook, they are given day-to-day updates on their favorite teams. From a marketing aspect, the Baylor athletics page on Facebook and Twitter (@BaylorAthletics) keeps track of fans who have “tweeted” or “commented” on certain links, posts, or tweets. There is an incentive for these fans to post and tweet because at the end of each year, the top three posting or tweeting fans who are selected receive prizes, from free jerseys and merchandise to season tickets.
Culled from WikiPedia but edited by us.