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Sports marketing

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Sports marketing

Sports marketing.

Sport 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.[1] 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."[2]

Sport marketing is divided into three sectors. The first is the advertising of sport and sports associations such as the Olympics, Spanish Football league and the NFL. The second concerns the use of sporting events, sporting teams and individual athletes to promote various products. The third is the promotion of sport to the public in order to increase participation. In the first case, the promotion is directly related to sports. In the second case, the products can but do not have to be directly related to sports. When the promotion is about sports in general, the use of this kind of strategy is called “Marketing of Sports.” When the promotion is not about the sports but sports events, athletes, teams or leagues are used to promote different products, the marketing strategy is denominated “Marketing through sports." When the promotion is about increasing participation amongst the public it is called "Grassroots Sports Marketing." To promote the products or services, the companies and associations use different channels such as sponsorships of teams or athletes, television or radio advertisement during the different broadcast sports events and celebrations, and/or advertisement on sporting venues. “Street marketing of sport” which considers sport marketing through billboards on the street and also through urban elements (street lighters and sidewalks, etc.) to help promote and gain publicity during major worldwide sporting events such as the Football World Cup, the Olympic Games, the Super Bowl or the Winter Olympic Games.

One element that sport marketing takes advantage of is that athletes tend to be brand loyal and fans tend to be loyal to their favorite athletes and teams. This 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.[2][3]


  • Benefits of Sport Marketing 1
  • Sports Marketing, Revenue & The difference between indirect and direct sources 2
  • The marketing of sports teams and events 3
  • The marketing of products through sport 4
    • Examples of marketing of products through sport 4.1
      • Sponsorship of events 4.1.1
      • Sponsorship of teams 4.1.2
      • TV advertising during broadcast sports events 4.1.3
      • Marketing of Athletics through Social Media websites 4.1.4
  • Grassroots sport marketing 5
  • References 6

Benefits of Sport Marketing

Stickers on a NASCAR racecar from companies with large advertising contracts.

Sport marketing impulses memberships, sales, and recognition. These factors represent the biggest benefits for the companies, the athletes, the associations, the leagues, and sport event managers. Well planned, effective marketing helps to understand the customer and the marketplace. Also, informed marketing decisions help increase status and importance in people's lives, sport is considered a profitable and sustainable marketing source.[4]

Sports Marketing, Revenue & The difference between indirect and direct sources

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 and the FIFA World Cup.[5]

The Super Bowl is an example of this concept because it is a massive sport event organized by a sport association, the NFL, which looks to promote the event itself, the sport itself and as well the different football teams. The way this event is promoted is by TV and radio commercials but also by the contracts signed with other companies in order to transmit the event. For example in Mexico the NFL signed a contract with a Mexican movie theater, Cinemex, so some of the most important games of the event were transmitted in its different theaters. With this the NFL obtained the promotion of the event in its country and in national TV but also it obtained the possibility to promote the event at major scale in the foreign countries, which means more audience, therefore the NFL achieved the goal of promoting the sport event and the teams involved.[6]

The marketing of products through sport

'Marketing through sport' is a concept that's been used since the 1980s, but has increased in importance in the last two decades due to the growth and expansion that the different types of sports have enjoyed since then. “Marketing through sports” it is a marketing strategy that can be used in sports in two different ways. First, the use of marketing and promotion can be carried out through the sport or through the sports club. In the first case, the use of marketing is under responsibility of the different sporting associations, while in the second case, the responsibility falls on the different sports clubs. In this manner, marketing and promotion through the sport and through the club involve sponsorship, corporate events and boxes, licensed merchandise, names and images also known as “endorsement”, advertising through broadcaster, advertising such as advertising as ground signage/clothing/equipment advertising, promoting games, promoting using players/club/league or developing ‘business opportunities.’ The peculiarity of sports is that “sport is the only entertainment where, no matter how many times you go back, you never know the ending.” This singular fact is used by marketing companies as an advantage: every time the audience attends an event it will see the advertisements again and again, providing a wide range of opportunities for the different companies which operate on this field.[2]

Examples of marketing of products through sport

Sponsorship of events

One of the oldest examples is Wimbledon ball official supplier Slazenger (1902- 2015[7]).The modern concept of products official supplying derives from the Victorian ages, for example in the past some of the companies supplied Royal Family for cheaper prices or even on cost because of the associated quality.

Sponsorship of teams

A real life example for representing the concept of marketing through sports is the case of the Spanish bank, BBVA Bancomer, and the Spanish Football league. In this case Bancomer which is the major sponsor of the Spanish league increased its period of participation in the league until 2013. So as the definition of this concept says, the company that is using this marketing strategy is not necessarily related to sports. In this case it is a bank and through sports or sports events it promotes its trademark and the services that it gives.[8]

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, is the renovation of the contract between Adidas and the Mexican Football Federation (FMF). In August of this year the CEO of Adidas Herbert Hainer in companion of the president of the FMF, Justino Compeán announced the renewal of the contract in order to permit Adidas to continue producing and designing the uniform of the Mexican teams until 2018. This is an example of sports marketing because as it was define, sports marketing is a marketing strategy in which companies related to sports products or services promote their trademark through design, production or other resources. In this case Adidas, which is completely related to sports, is the company that is using sports marketing as a strategy, by designing the uniforms of the football team and as a consequence its trademark is being promoted every time there is a game.[9]

TV advertising during broadcast sports events

Finally another example of marketing through sports is the strategy used by Gillette Match to promote its personal hygiene products through representative figures of each sport on television during broadcast sports events. Gillette uses for this issue characters from football soccer such as Thierry Henry, from tennis Roger Federer and from golf Tiger Woods. 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.[10]

Marketing of Athletics through Social Media websites

With technology growing at such an exponential rate, marketing someone's product or team, etc. through certain media sources can result in positive revenue and create more attention to the not only fans but the broader audience. With the rapid growth in social media websites and the easy-to-access ideal through smart phone apps, this form of marketing can become very beneficial in the long run. Several different sports groups and companies have attempted to market their products to create team awareness and popularity through social media websites. The most commonly used websites to promote a companies products through social media are Facebook and Twitter. Facebook has received more than 1.6 billion visits a week and Twitter receives more than 400 million visits a month,[11] so marketing products and teams through these websites could be deemed a very handy way to create recognition. Here are a couple of examples of companies and teams raising awareness through Facebook and Twitter account pages:

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 favorites 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.

Michigan Presale Incentive: Michigan created a very clever way to enhance the total amount of "likes" or "followers" for their Facebook and Twitter Pages in order to obtain recognition. In order to have the opportunity to apply for pre-sale tickets for their Michigan football games, at the largest football arena in the nation 'The Big House,' fans are required to "follow" or "like" their page on Facebook or Twitter, which allows them to be able to purchase pre-sale tickets for any game that they desire, making this method of marketing a great tool to gain awareness for their team and many other things.

Louisville Slugger Scavenger Hunt: After the St. Louis Cardinals won the World Series in 2011, Hillerich & Bradsby, makers of Louisville Slugger bats and other baseball equipment, created a scavenger hunt through Twitter in order to raise awareness for their company. The hunt involved baseball hats, scattered all over the city of St. Louis, Missouri. The Louisville Slugger Twitter page posted "tweets" that hinted at where the hats were located within the city. The fan or participants used their mobile phones in order to be up to date on the specific "tweets" referring to the hunt. If a fan or participant found one of the several hats, the participant was told that they were to be kept by the seeker. The reason this company held a scavenger hunt was to receive recognition and to increase their followers on Twitter. The statistics shows that their fan base skyrocketed 143%.

Because of this marketing tool, these fan based website pages have increased greatly in numbers and give them the recognition that they were looking for.[12]

opendorse is an online platform that connects marketers with athletes to build endorsement campaigns. The company has worked with Tide, Zynga and USAA as well as athletes such as Rob Gronkowski, Joe Flacco and Melvin Gordon. Current partnerships include NFLPA as well as UFC. [13]

Raynforest Marketplace: Where companies and non-profits can go to be matched with athletes in sports. The relationship between the two are managed on the platform. The platform also keeps tracks of which athlete promoted the cause or product and records the results. There is an incentive for the athlete to participate because a portion of the proceeds benefit their favorite charity.[14]

Grassroots sport marketing

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.


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  14. ^ Raynforest Matching Athletes in sports
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