The sun is out, you get ready for your morning workout. Donning your Nike sports shoes and Adidas training tee, you start your workout and finish it up by drinking your favourite energy drink Gatorade.
Do you realise the common thread that connects them?
Subconsciously we make choices that are guided by marketing strategies adopted by the company. Particularly during sporting events, there is heavy advertising which influences our choices while buying products and also helps the company to capture the imagination of the public so when they think of sports they automatically associate a product with it.
Such advertising has given rise to the marketing term “Sports Marketing.”
What Is Sports Marketing?
Sports Marketing can be defined as a marketing strategy that is aimed at promoting sporting events, equipment or products and services using an athlete or a team.
Using an athlete or a team has one clear motive. An athlete or a team acts as influencers which have a direct impact on the audience.
For example, Nike partnered with Mike Jordan a famous basketball player for its new line of shoes which will be branded as Air Jordans.
Air Jordans introduced Nike created a craze for sneakers and also formed a subgroup that started collecting sneaker. These group gave rise to a new group called Sneaker heads which gave rise to an all-new market for sneakers.
Where Do We See Sports Marketing?
Take a major sporting event like the recently concluded FIFA World Cup. It was viewed by over half of the world’s population. Popular sports brands like Nike, Adidas and Puma sponsored various teams by providing the football kit. Even the fantasy league during the World Cup was associated with McDonald’s.
SuperBowl halftime shows usually have celebrities performing and there is a prime time slot for commercials to be played which is why companies shell out money to promote their product as SuperBowl is viewed by millions of people across the globe.
Even during the offseason, companies like Coke tried their drinkable advertisement to promote their product.
What Are The Various Sports Marketing Strategies?
Consumer choices are influenced when there are promotional activities done by influencers and experts.
Celebrities usually have a large fan following and thus act as a perfect fit for the companies to use them in their advertisement to increase the reach of their product through their followers.
For example during SuperBowl season, celebrities like Kevin Hart are roped in to promote a certain product via funny commercials that are aired during primetime.
Companies also prefer to use athletes who are well known in a particular sport for promotional purpose. Promotion by experts turns out to be more genuine than from random celebrities. For example, Nike has employed Usain Bolt to promote their clothing line as well as shoes specially designed for track sports.
Innovative marketing strategies by using a certain event in sporting history are also becoming a norm in sports marketing. For example, following Colin Kaepernick famous kneel during the national anthem, Nike recently launched the campaign for their 30th anniversary with Colin spearheading the commercials.
Nike reached an all-time high in profits near September 2018.
Although it is not necessary for such events to be controversial. Positive events like Golden State Warriors winning the championship after a gap of 50 years made Stephen Curry a hot pick for the companies, and he featured on various advertisements.
Social Media has changed the way of traditional marketing. It has opened a new horizon for the companies as well as the people to engage and due to increasing popularity of smartphones, strategies are being employed by the companies to promote their products and make them go viral.
Following such strategies, companies try to accomplish two of the 7 Ps of marketing which are People, Promotion.
Future of Sports Marketing
People are taking out time from their schedule to watch such events. Access to various streaming services have made it possible to witness these events on the go, and this trend is likely to stay. It is the perfect time for the companies to cash in and reap the fruits of Sports Marketing.
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Student at IIIT Delhi pursuing Computer Science and Applied Mathematics. Usually needed at gatherings since everyone needs a good photographer. Loves to create magic out of thin air and pen it down.