Sports 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.
This week we’ll be discussing the second option – sponsorship of events to promote products. In this case, the marketing strategy is denominated “Marketing through sports”. 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, advertisement on sporting venues, street marketing of sports, and promotions and publicity during major worldwide sporting events.
‘Marketing through sports’ is a concept that that has been used since the 1980s but that also 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.
It’s pretty easy to pick out the most valuable sporting event sponsorship opportunities in the United States. There’s the NFL’s Super Bowl, for which sponsorship costs millions but the reach is one-hundred times that. There’s the NBA’s Championship games, for which sponsorship is also incredibly coveted. And think about NASCAR – people know cars by their sponsor more than they even know who is driving.
But if Brands want to reach an even bigger audience, they should start to think about international sponsorship opportunities. There’s a whole realm of additional events that happen around the world, and with every sporting event comes the opportunity to advertise.
The biggest international event is the Olympics. In 1972, when IOC president Avery Brundage retired, the IOC began to explore the potential of the television medium and the lucrative advertising markets available to them. Under the leadership of Juan Antonia Samaranch the Games began to shift toward international sponsors who sought to link their products to the Olympic brand.
Another well-known international event is Wimbledon. In 2006, Polo Ralph Lauren became the first Official Outfitter of Wimbledon, redesigning the outfits for ball boys and girls, line and court judges. The Wimbledon logo was adapted for this purpose.
Additionally, there’s the World Cup – which is really named the FIFA World Cup. FIFA runs the show, but many other organizations and brands pay big bucks to have their logos on the field and on teams.
In tropical regions, such as Australia, Surfing is the most popular sport and brands get their names all over boards and beach shorts.
In Europe, cycling is huge. First staged in 1903, the race covers more than 2,200 mi and lasts three weeks. That’s a lot of air time for Brands!
Overall, there are many opportunities for Brands to advertise internationally by sponsorship. They may have to be a little creative with their tactics and techniques, but sporting events are undoubtedly some of the biggest advertising opportunities no matter what country they’re in!