Skip Nav

What is Sports Marketing?

Social Media

❶Focus Groups of Cleveland.

Careers in Sports Marketing

Market Research, Strategic Advisement & Management Consulting
News & Events
Research Access Menu

Below are some of the attributes that professional athletes represent. The biggest advantage of sports marketing is that it allows marketers to piggyback on the popularity and devotion many fans feel towards their favorite teams and athletes.

If a baseball fan has loved a specific team since childhood, any marketer who associates themselves with that team gains instant credibility in that fan's mind. Since the revenue ultimately goes to support the team, the marketer is considered a sponsor and invested in the team's success. The only major disadvantage is that the sports marketing industry is so large that it can be hard to stand out in the crowd.

A fan who watches a three hour football game will be exposed to dozens of different marketing messages. Marketers must advertise to a wide range of customers, but risk that their ad gets overlooked by fans more interested in the game. See also Horizontal Marketing. Taking out an advertisement during the radio broadcast of a baseball game or buying a small ad space in the bathroom of an NBA arena can be easy and relatively inexpensive strategies.

It is only very large companies that will be able to invest heavily in sports marketing though. Securing celebrity endorsers and buying TV airspace during major sporting events can cost tens of millions of dollars. See also Celebrity Marketing. Marketers use sports to reach a certain segment of the population.

Typically, the target market is men, but there are exceptions. Figure skating, for instance, attracts a large female audience. Products that appeal to men like beer, trucks, and snack foods are marketed heavily during sporting events for this reason. The only real qualification for using sports marketing is having a product with a wide appeal. The maker of highly specific business software would gain nothing from the wide net cast by sports marketing.

It is important for any sports marketer to understand the audience for sports. Different customers favor different sports. The chart below, based on a survey by Scarbrough Sports Marketing, illustrates the 20 most popular sports in America. It contains a number of surprises that are relevant to marketers. The Olympics, for instance, are widely loved despite being held every 4 years.

Major sports like hockey and golf are less popular than college athletics and individual sports like gymnastics. Marketers use data like this to help them reach their target audience. Using sports to sell products presents many opportunities that bring both risk and reward. A successful sports marketing campaign can linger in the minds of consumers for years, while an ineffective one can be a significant waste of money.

All marketing efforts must be guided by a comprehensive marketing plan if they hope to succeed. The plan will begin with a number of logistical questions, such as budget estimations and resources. Sports marketing can get expensive quickly and the companies will need to use their resources wisely. They will also need to establish a time frame for the campaign.

Will it run for a week, an entire season, or involve a multi-year marketing effort like buying stadium naming rights? Different marketing objectives will involve different plans. The company then needs to know who their target audience is and how they can best be reached. This involves analyzing the company, their product, and the customer. If a marketer wants to reach males under 35 they might focus on extreme sports.

If they want to reach a casual sports fan, they might focus their efforts on the Olympics. The marketer will need to examine the entire sports marketing landscape and identify the most promising opportunities based on scientifically based market research. A team of creative professionals will work on developing ads whether they are TV spots, billboards, or radio ads. Research findings should determine the goals of the advertisements, but ad makers will develop the content that they think can best speak to the target audience.

They will use team colors, slogans, and sports imagery to create a link between the product and the sport. See also Brand Marketing. Once the ad campaign begins, the company will need to evaluate how effective it is.

Metrics like increased sales, Twitter followers, and brand awareness are all indicators of how well a campaign is being received. The metrics should reflect the goals established in the marketing plan. If the goals are being met, the campaign can be continued and built upon. If the number falls short, the marketing strategy will have to be revised. A brand manager is responsible for all of the marketing related to a specific brand. Popular brands like Gatorade, Nike, and Under Armour dedicate huge parts of their marketing budget to sports marketing.

By doing so, the players and athletes and also their fans develop a loyalty for the products for a longer time. 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 football are extremel. There are seven product attributes that differentiate mainstream sports from non-mainstream sports: Accessibility, affordability, and similarity are strongly related to niche sports while popularity, player skill as well as accessibility are strongly related to mainstream sports.

Affordability also is a distinguishing factor among fans, as less-identified fans place greater importance on price. This is also seen in media as nationally televised sporting events often promote specific players leading up to games. Fans also hold different expectations of different sport types and levels of sports, which is essential for sport marketers to understand.

For example, fans attending a minor league baseball game will compare their experience to previous games attended at minor league baseball games, or even other minor league sports if they have little experience with minor league baseball.

They will not, however, compare a minor league baseball experience to an NFL game as they understand the two experiences will be very different. Sports differentiation is also important concerning sponsorship. Companies who sponsor niche sports place the most importance on attributes including cost effectiveness, spectator demographics, and the company fit with the sports image. Also, with niche sports shown to attract a different type of consumer, [17] these companies desire to increase their public awareness within a specific target market.

The benefits of sports marketing are wide-ranging. Stakeholders involved in sports include leagues, teams, athletes, and fans as well as cities and countries hosting sporting events. The media and businesses who promote their products and services through sports also receive benefits.

Direct benefits to leagues, teams, and athletes include revenue from tickets, media rights, and sponsorships. Cities and countries also receive revenue from taxes, and all of the stakeholders gain from the exposure provided through sports.

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.

In other words it can be defined as follows: 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. 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. The Super Bowl is an example of this concept because it is a massive sports event organized by a sport association, the NFL, which looks to promote the event, the sport, and as well the different football teams.

The event is promoted through local and national media, and has also spread internationally. For example, in Mexico the NFL signed a contract with Cinemex , a Mexican movie theater chain, for the right to transmit its games in movie theaters. This displays the potential of sporting leagues and teams to promote not just the event, but the league and teams involved to a worldwide audience. 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. 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. These are examples of sports marketing because as it is defined, 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 apparel companies Nike, Under Armour, and Adidas, which are all completely related to sports, design the uniforms of these teams and in this way, promote their trademarks every time there is an event.

Stephen Curry is speculated to receive even more money than Durant from his contract with Under Armour. Many athletes maintain contracts with a variety of companies; some of them are related to sports and others that are not. 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.

In the commercial these celebrities appear using the products of the company. This is done in order to promote these products to the fans of these celebrities and inspire them to use these products. 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 sports personalities, its products are exposed to a larger target audience.

Nike and Gatorade also hold sponsorship agreements with top athletes. Grassroots sports marketing is a 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 sports, 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 healthcare. Relationship marketing relates to customer retention and building long term successful relationship between a business and its customers by maximizing customer satisfaction. By doing so, sport businesses are able to maintain and enhance their fan base easily than through the more commonly used short-term transactions such as merchandise and ticket sales.

Used as a global communication and interaction channel, social media has changed the conventional business customer relationship dynamics. Businesses have also made it an integral part of their communication mix. It allows sports businesses to keep their customers updated on the latest news and information as well as interact with them on an individual basis. In terms of marketing, this can also be seen as a form of competitive advantage.

They are able to interact the way they want, in the way they wish, using the medium they like most. This gives sports businesses additional edge in terms of marketing. Effective utilization of social media enables sports brands to provide their customers with the best possible experience and expand their marketing capabilities.

The benefits of social media are for both sides. Apart from sports businesses benefiting from the use of social media in the context of relationship management and marketing, customers also get to experience the same level of benefits.

The constant interaction between sport businesses and their customers allows organisations to know and learn about each individual customer on a deeper level.

As a result of this, customers feel more valued and this leads to higher customer loyalty. By doing so, sport businesses strengthen the level of engagement and connection between the organisation and the customer, [47] and this reinforces the importance that customers hold in the brand building process.

Professional leagues, teams, and athletes have started using social media as a part of their marketing strategies during the recent years. The most popular social media platforms are Facebook and Twitter, but athletes and teams are also using sites including Instagram and Snapchat for marketing. For example, for a brand like Babolat , having a world icon like Rafael Nadal as its top brand representative is priceless.

There is no better way to stand up to your competition than by having the best on your side. You must also know how to do it because not everything works in marketing. This is why knowing how to use social media is fundamentally important.

Baylor Bold 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.

Essay search

Main Topics

Privacy Policy

Market Research. By systematically gathering, analyzing and interpreting data that is relevant to target audiences and markets, Nielsen Sports unparalleled sponsorship and marketing research provides invaluable and actionable insights to feed strategic thinking and tactical action.

Privacy FAQs

Sport Marketing Research Institute at UNC. The Sport Marketing Research Institute (SMRI) seeks to enrich the learning experience of graduate students studying sport .

About Our Ads

For nearly a decade, our Global Sport Estimate has been the go-to source of industry insight for sports industry leaders around the world. You can use the release to explore new data and insights on the categories that matter to your business. Market research now drives decisions in the sport industry This is an excerpt from Sport Marketing, Fourth Edition With Web Study Guide, by Bernard J. Mullin, PhD, Stephen Hardy, PhD, and William A. Sutton, EdD.

Cookie Info

About Us. SBRnet serves any individual or organization with an interest in the business of sports with "one-stop" access to multiple resources, including Industry-developed Market Research, Government Statistics, Facility Reports and News, International Market Publications, Customized Research, and Directories. Research expenses are further offset by subsequent marketing, media, and technology spending they might wish to carry out through the wider resources of the group. Enter the fanzone Sports Marketing Intelligence Ltd (SMIG) comprises three individual businesses that work together to deliver one of the UK’s largest market research businesses.