Marketing has numerous subdivisions. It covers almost all aspects of the modern lifestyle. Therefore, it should not be surprising that sports marketing has gained vast popularity in the last couple of decades. So then, what exactly does sports marketing entail and what is its main goal? Generally speaking, it includes the promotion and popularization of everything sports-related. Sounds straightforward, doesn’t it? However, there is much more that goes into it. From the informative posts about your favorite teams to raising awareness regarding various sports events, sports marketing covers it all. Did I mention endless services and products that can be promoted through sports? That’s right, sports marketing, to put it simply, is how business owners and brand establishers encourage the clients to purchase their goods and services, all with the aid of sporting events, and other sports-related attributions that I have listed above. The main purpose of this article is to introduce some of the biggest trends that have dominated the world of sports marketing in the recent years, so let’s get started.
Equality or mere profit?
Advertising through women’s sports has been one of the most prevalent trends in sports marketing in recent times. What could be the reason for this? As people progress over the course of time, and the importance of gender inclusion gains more and more appeal, some quite interesting studies have been conducted with equally attention-worthy outcomes. Nielsen sports report claims that a whopping 84% of people who are generally keen on viewing sports events, tend to view the presence of women in various sports and sporting events as more preferable and inspiring. Whether my readers are skeptical towards the idea of putting any sort of emphasis on the athlete’s gender is quite juicy of a discussion topic, but sadly I cannot go in further detail regarding that issue.
The fact is that companies are quick to catch up with the profitable trends. If women’s sports seem to receive bigger viewing, promoting goods and services through female football league, for example, will increase the companies’ chances to cater towards the bigger audiences. Whether such an approach is necessarily rightful or not, again, is the topic of a different type of discussion. Although, it should not be surprising that successful marketing may sometimes involve seemingly faking the interest or enthusiasm with regards to the touchy topics. Sure, it is not the most ethical of approaches, but for whatever reason, that is not the marketers’ top concern. They spot a potentially beneficial circumstance, do their research, weigh out the risks and proceed to conduct the necessary actions. Although, it should be noted that if you target women’s sports as your promotional channel, try to come across as genuine as you possibly can. Not doing so may result in irreparable damage to your brand’s ranking, authority and general credibility.
The use of AR & VR
Before I dive into the second sports marketing trend in my list, let’s first explain what AR and VR mean for those who may not be familiar. AR, or augmented reality, is the addition of various digital elements to the live event or any real life view that is taking place at a particular time. On the flip side, VR, virtual reality, is a more self-explanatory concept and stands for the complete ‘’shut down’’ of the actual world, resulting in immersing the user in the virtual experience. Now that we have gotten the definitions out of the way, let’s see how these concepts are utilized in terms of sports marketing.
Multiple brands and sports teams have referred to the use of Instagram and Snapchat in order to introduce fun and engaging AR/VR experiences to their customers and fans, respectively. One of the most probable reasons for this could be the high demand for increased inclusion. To give you a simple example for better understanding, let’s assume you are rooting for any European football club, but live on a different continent and cannot afford meeting your favourite players or attending their games. While some people may not understand why this could necessarily be a big issue, sports enthusiasts would beg to differ. For many of us, sports, in this case football, is everything. Hence, missing out on the joyful experiences like the ones mentioned above can be massively off-putting. If you, and many other fans similar to you, get your voices heard and demand some sort of inclusion, the marketing teams behind your favourite clubs, or various sports brands will take action and try to improve the situation somehow. This is exactly where the use of AR/VR comes into play.
As an additional note, not only does this trend bring joy and satisfaction to the fans, it generates substantial profit for the brands and the teams as well. When Bayern Munich introduced a special fan interface which allowed people to create selfies with the teams’ players for a fun and immersive experience, the outcome was sensational. The club’s revenue was significantly increased, and people were happy with the innovation of course. It is important to add that introducing such types of services should be accompanied with the employment of stable, high ranking social media platforms. greenfly.com/solutions/sports/ is a great tool to promote off-season fan engagement. The latter is one of the most essential aspects of successfully conducting any type of sports marketing in general. Whether you adhere to reliable external resources like jaynike, do research on what the hottest sports trends among avid social media users, post questionnaires, do the surveys or offer any sort of discount on sports-related products, make sure to remind thoughtful of your targeted audience. Such an approach will stabilize your social media growth, and give you a fitting platform, perfectly suitable for introducing as innovative and possibly risky trends as AV and VR based interfaces.
Leaving the most juicy bits for the end, the last trend that I shall discuss in this article is somewhat similar to the first one, although they are in no way identical, so let’s see what ‘’cause marketing’’ has to offer in terms of sports and what the fashion of its operation is. Starting with the definitions first, of course. Generally speaking, cause marketing refers to the use of a socially or culturally prevalent issue while simultaneously conducting the promotional campaign. Unlike, the adherence to the equality problem where people could have reasonable doubts with regards to how genuine the business owners’ intentions may be, cause marketing has a clearly defined goal, which as already mentioned has two main purposes. It aims at bettering the society and deriving profit with the promotion of a particular set of goods and services.
Sports marketing has seen a lot of what I’ve just described. We have probably all seen famous slogans all over the football stadiums. Racial injustice, sexual minorities, acts against terrorism make an incomplete list of some of the most common causes that have been supported by athletes from all over the globe. Mental health has made it into this list in recent years as well. So much so that MU players had teamed up with the mental health charity organizations in order to raise awareness with regards to the stigmas that reside in society about men’s mental wellness. Such actions are extremely welcomed by fans and even the people who have no interest in sports. Perhaps, the primary goal is not to gain popularity or generate a bigger revenue, but even with the most innocent intentions, the overall positive, social or financial outcome of the cause marketing is truly undeniable. Not only does it increase the fanbases, it helps promote the teams or brands among the general public. People will be quick to inform their friends or virtually anyone they know who is struggling with the similar issue, and when you can hear your favourite players’ honest and heartwarming conversation about that topic, the connection with the club and what it stands for will become more personal and everlasting.
Surely, there are numerous other trends in sports marketing. I chose to cover the ones which seemed to be particularly interesting and prevalent in recent times. Many articles go over the mind-wrenching technicalities of sports marketing, but for some reason seemingly more biosocial attributions of this field are left overlooked or completely unnoticed. By bringing the use of AV and VR into discussion, the article is not entirely focused on the importance of cause marketing or adherence to relatively more controversial topics, such as gender equality for example. This is a good mix of trend variety, and the readers can develop a quite satisfactory degree of understanding in relation to how sports marketing operates, under the given circumstances. Although, as one would notice, the marketing tactics and the general methods of approach do not seem to be wildly different from those of any other subdivision. The underlying message is similar. By being thoughtful, considerate and aware of the audience’s needs, the teams and brands will be able to deliver high-quality, satisfactory goods and services.
The Contributor’s bio: Hi there. I am a STEM major, with a bsc in biochemistry, currently doing ma in chemical expertise, and dedicating most of my time to fun and intriguing games of the Premier League. Being employed at multiple copywriting agencies, I had to write sports-related articles as well as sports news. My understanding of this topic is not the best, but I try to look at things from a more philosophical/biosocial perspective, since that is one of my key interests.