ABCs of Sports Marketing in 2017

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Sports Marketing Definitions from A to Z

As 2016 draws to a close, let’s take a look at the hottest themes in the sports marketing and sponsorship industry for next year. Here we go, from the A to the Z, the sports marketing alphabet. First, what is sports marketing? Here we are with sports marketing description.

“Sports 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”  

Definition from wikipedia

Sports Marketing Vocabulary

A – Activation

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it once again: sports sponsorship or marketing for sport is nothing without activation. and sports marketing objectives. When it comes down to making it work, PR opportunities, online content, contests among fans, use of showbikes and showers are the name of the game. 

B – BtoB

Sports Sponsorship is very effective for those Business to Business type of brands and companies. Market Sports puts your brand on the map and genuinely opens all kind of doors for new deals with other companies, both national and international. Being a sponsor is like being part of a very exclusive club, where members can share opportunities and make business.

C – Clubs

To revolutionize the sport industry, we have to begin from its very foundation: clubs. Clubs with a solid financial structure, arenas of their own and a strong fanbase and youth sectors are the future of any sport

D – Data

Market research is the first step towards a great and successful sponsorship project. At the same time, measuring and monitoring of results is key to a successful operation. Put it as you wish, you need data to perform in the field. From demographics to on-screen-visibility, to audience measuring to generated sales, the truth is often in the cold hard figures.

E – Engagement

Engagement is the very reason that makes sponsorship and sports marketing so successful. Brands need to stand by their customers as teams need to be close to their fans. Luckily enough, we have the technology just to do so. Social media and web apps ensure a very strong relationship, but marketeers need to be clever and truly passionate to emerge from the clutter.

F – Facebook

At 1.79 Billion users Facebook is the largest social media on earth, with five new profiles created every second. Its size and reach clearly make it the perfect communication tool for all companies, teams, athletes and agencies worldwide, although the risk of clutter is always on the hunt. Experienced marketeers need to find new, more exciting ways to engage with fans and communities, or they will be surpassed by an ever-growing, highly skilled generation of young page administrators and influencers.

G – Growth

The overall expenditure in Sports Marketing is growing steadily. Last year, according to Forbes reports, almost $50 Bln have been spent by marketeers in the sport industry. Europe is leading the pack, with an expenditure of $14,5 Bln, while North America follows swiftly at 13,8 Bln.

H – Hospitality

Sports and Event Marketing with Corporate Hospitality Programs are one of the most loved benefits of sponsorship. They allow your brand and company to take their best guests and clients to the most prestigious sporting events. Not only that: VIP services, exclusive behind the scenes and a privileged venues and views are often part of the menu.

I – Internationality

Sport is a transversal, global show, capable of crossing geographical, linguistic and cultural borders. Think of major events, such as the major racing series or the Football World Cup, attracting millions of fans around the planet. It is a highly remunerative tool of communication, especially for those business operating all over the world.

J – Jordan

The best basketball player of all times retired at the end of the 2002-2003 season, making it 13 years without Mike. Nonetheless, the 6-time NBA champion remains the highest paid athlete in the world, active or retired. Forbes estimated at $110Mln the annual income of His Airness, mostly thanks to the Jordan Brand. 

K – Key Performance Indicators

Sponsorship programs can and must be measured if we want the industry to be credible. The right Key Performance Indicators must be clear at the start of all projects and must be achievable and impartial.  

L – Licensing

Too often set aside as a weak backup plan for cheap apparel manufacturers, Licensing is actually a user-powerful marketing tool, providing your business with an opportunity to reach a wide and targeted audience by exploring new markets, distribution channels and target audiences.

M – MotoGP

The pinnacle of Sports Marketing and of two-wheel racing is growing bigger and bigger, thanks to a lineup of superstars and courtesy of an excellent production and distribution. With 19 races in 4 continents, the MotoGP Championship in one of the most powerful marketing platforms in the sports arena.

N – Nike

The apparel giant closed the year with a boom, posting revenues up to 6,4%. The “Swoosh” brand value alone sits around the $20Bln figure and is the most valuable brand in the sports business. Thanks to huge sponsorship deals with leagues such as the NFL and the NBA and agreements with the world’s top athletes and teams, the brand founded by Knight and Bowerman is once again one of the main players in the global sport scene.

O – Online 

The future is digital. Not only computer, mobile phones and tablet are the supreme tools to get in touch with fans and stakeholders, but more and more often are used as for “second-screen” viewing, maximizing the opportunities for marketeers and communication officers. 

P – 4 P’s of marketing and the fifth

Philp Kotler gave us one of marketing’s most important theories: the 4 p’s. A good marketing mix is the successful combination of four main pillars: price, product, placement and promotion. However, as XXXX and XXXX discuss in their famous book “sports marketing”, another key P has to be added to the mix when it comes to sport: Public Relations. For the social and cultural impact sporting events and news have in our daily life, public relations are as essential to sports marketing as a good price strategy.

Q – Qatar

Qatar will host the 2022 World Cup. It is the first time the quadrennial international men’s football challenge will take place in a Middle East, in an Arab and Muslim country. Also, for the first time it will be the first time a World Cup is scheduled in mid-november. Last summer, accusations have been made on how Qatar won the hosting of the Event, but this does not change the main point here: the middle-east region will be a pivotal area for the future of sports and the sports marketing industry.

R – Rights Acquisition

We must not forget that sponsorship is, put quickly, the acquisition of several communication and marketing rights for business purposes. Visibility is but the tip of the iceberg here, and the amount and size of rights gained has to be carefully weighed and taken into consideration by the sponsors, for much of the deal value genuinely lies in leveraging on these different assets

S – Sampling

One of the oldest marketing tools in the kit, sampling is heavily back in the business these days, thanks to an age of large abundance where rising above the competitors has become the main challenge. When the target market is carefully selected and the sample distribution is lead in a smart, elegant way, it is super-effective.

T – Twitter

Although not comparable to Facebook in number of users, the little blue bird has gained in popularity and loyalty thanks to its fast-paced, concise nature. According to Twitter stats, 83% of the world’s leaders and main influencers are active on the site, and the platform has quickly become the go-to-guy for breaking news, announcements and fast updates. 

U – User Experience

Tell me and I’ll forget, teach me and I’ll remember, involve me and I’ll learn. Of course the product is important, but we do not have to forget that our users, fans and clients will most of all remember how we make them feel. That’s why games have to become events and stadiums and arenas must become entertainment parks. 

V – VIP Village

The best program of Corporate Hospitality in two-wheel racing, the MotoGP Village is the poster child of the MotoGP World Championship (read more about MotoGP Hospitality). Excellent venues, a superb program of entertainment and a top-notch gourmet experience are the essence of the VIP Village weekend. Truly, the place to be

W – Wimbledon, the Championships

The oldest and most prestigious tennis tournament in the World never skips a beat and Global audience is estimated at over 1bn people in 200 territories all over the world. Andy Murray took home the cup in 2016 in what has been a glorious year for the Scotsman, who is now #1 in the rankings.

X – Super bowl dropping all the x’s

In 2016, the world’s most watched game has dropped its tradition of naming each Super Bowl game with roman numbers. The 50th edition of the NFL Championship final has simply been named Super Bowl 50, instead of Super Bowl L. However, the league will re-enter the roman numbers for the 2017 edition, that will feature the Super Bowl LI logo.

Y – Youniverse

Marketing -and thus sports marketing- actions have progressively been going in the “you” direction, with services and communications being more and more personal and with different versions being serviced to single users, for a more individual and personal experience. Providing fans and customers with personalized and relevant content is the future not only of marketing, but of all entertainment.

Z – Generation Z

Generation Z – people born from 1995 onwards – is to be taken very seriously and very carefully by marketeers around the world. Contrary to its predecessors -millennials- Gen Z has totally different media consumption habits and cultural paradigms. For instance, Gen Z does not like Facebook, prefers cool products over cool experiences, is less creative and yet more business-oriented. Needless to say, lots of marketing frameworks will have to change, in order to get these new customers, fans and followers onboard.

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Emanuele Venturoli
Emanuele Venturoli
Communication Manager for RTR Sports Marketing

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