Sports Marketing Blog: Week of 10/2/2017

Linking a brand with fan loyalty — The business of sports marketing

Companies from around the world continue to eye sports teams as profitable business partners. Through strategic sports marketing campaigns, businesses have the potential to enhance their brands and solidify customer loyalty. Gaining leverage in sports marketing is very important because you’re trying to engage an extremely passionate fanbase with a team that will create a lifelong loyal consumer for the brand. On October 4th, there will be a panel, "The Business of Sports Marketing," at the 2nd Annual Chicago Sports Summit, hosted by Midwest Orthopedics at Rush and sponsored by Athletico Physical Therapy.

There are four key reasons corporate brands seek sports team partnerships:

Sports team partnerships provide companies with an opportunity to showcase their product or service and get direct business results from their investment.

Through the partnership, companies have the ability to build and enhance brand awareness.

Companies can create "memorable hospitality experiences that money can't buy for their customers, prospects and employees" through sports partnerships.

A chance to highlight a company's community and philanthropic efforts, establishing it as a good corporate partner and citizen.

If a company decides to pursue a sports marketing partnership, it should make sure the sport team's goals and your companies vision align. When searching for a partnership, you want to look for a team/league that allows you the ability to have an exclusive relationship with them. You want to be aware of who currently has a partnership with the team already because for example if you are a bank, you don’t want to make a partnership if the team you are trying to market to has four other bank partnerships already. The real benefit comes from the relationship between the brand and the team. Athletico is creating authentic partnerships with local sports teams and trainers and through its partnerships, they place their trainers in direct contact with teams' players. They are mainly saying if Athletico physical therapists are good enough for professional athletes, they are good enough for my child is what can be used to market the partnership.

Wintrust Financial wanted to create an image as Chicago's bank by becoming partners with the Chicago Cubs. By joining forces with a team that has not just a Chicago presence, but a national fan base, Wintrust developed a narrative for fans: if the Cubs bank with Wintrust, I should too, because I'm loyal to the Cubs on and off the field. If ready to jump into a sports partnership investment, you need to map out a fully detailed marketing plan up front and a way to measure the success of the partnership.