Out of all the different types of marketing out there, sports marketing genuinely seems to be the most popular form of marketing. Sports means so much to so many people, and being able to market sports has become overwhelmingly attractive to many college students today, especially since sports are experiences and not necessarily tangible items. Sporting events are coming more popular than ever, and methods of fan engagement, as well as the increasing amount of corporate partnerships, could be responsible for that.
In 2018, we have seen such a transformation in sports marketing. In a world becoming more and more reliant on digital communication, so many sports outlets have resorted to the use of social media content and digital strategies. As a result, these efforts have sparked fan bases and enabled to grow a personal connection to the team or player they root for. Fans now have access to professional photos, an endless variety of statistics, and opportunities to be recognized by sports organizations themselves.
Sports teams also love to jump onto pop culture trends as well. Take a look at a video the Milwaukee Admirals made based off the popular song, “Gangnam Style”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rpylkJ6xYAw
Now take a look at the Milwaukee Brewers rendition of Pharrel’s “Happy”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lyi677lwdnE
A popular way of recognition nowadays actually takes place at events. Many sports organizations give fans the opportunity to submit photos of themselves enjoying the game and have a chance to be featured on the video board or social media fan photo contests (WNAX). Not only that, more and more sports venues are now doing fan cams and other different promotions that get fans involved. These promotions range from tangible items to events that get a crowd involved (The Intell). Ultimately, these efforts are geared towards keeping people engaged to what is going on in the stadium, and keeping them in the stadium longer. It’s easy to get up and leave a game at any point, but if there’s so much to be a part of, why would you want to leave?
One prominent example of in-park promotions includes the Beat the Freeze promotion at Suntrust Park in Atlanta: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7asw5Vd8lIY
In addition to experiences, companies have used sports more than ever to get their messages across. Whether it’s sponsoring the National League Championship Series, or it’s having an entry gate named after you, companies are taking every possible opportunity to get their name out there. They try to connect it to something a fan base has passion for as well. A prominent example is companies sponsoring t-shirt tosses, the seventh inning stretch, a fan cheer at a sports game, or even a series of chairs in an arena (BizTimes). Another prominent example is companies being the official sponsor of a specific food item at a stadium, like Johnsonville and Miller Park (Cait Covers the Bases). So many opportunities are out there to throw a name on something, and companies do not pass those opportunities. It seems like there is not one inch of a sporting venue nowadays that is not sponsored. Millions of spectators on an annual basis see their name, so sponsorships are their way to go.
We have also seen a growth in the amount of reach sports teams have in terms of viewing markets. Many mobile and tech companies are now developing breakthroughs that allow residents of countries overseas to view each and every major American sports game (Portada Online). For example, China has become one the largest markets for the National Basketball Association. Broadening the reach of the product and tailoring to the engagement of certain cultures has truly allowed sports marketing to transform and be revolutionized in the process.
As you can see, sports marketing is truly larger than ever. So, using what methods have sports teams been the most effective in marketing their product? Also, if given the opportunity to get into the sports marketing field, what steps would you take to further the growth of sports marketing?