The dawn of the Information Age has yielded many new ways for sports companies to advertise their products and events. Companies are always looking for new ways to get attention from potential customers, and one of the most popular methods of sports sponsorship and marketing found in the 21st century is via social networking sites. Social media is easily accessible to anyone with internet access; social media is an inexpensive yet effective way to increase communication and awareness for sports companies.
Marketing in sports has three types often confused by the public and at times by marketing professionals who are involved in sports marketing for the first time.
The first face of marketing in sports is the advertising of various types of sport and the organizations well known to the public. This is a promotion directly related to sports.
The second face of marketing in sports is the marketing of sporting events, teams and athletes for promotion of products. This involves the promotion of products that might have, but are not required to have, a direct connection with sports. When the products being promoted do have direct connections to the sport, such as teams or events, the promotion is called Marketing of Sports. If there is no direct connection but events, teams and athletes promoting products the promotion is called Marketing through Sports.
The third face of marketing in sports is the promotion of the physical activity of sport to increase popularity with the public and participation in sports in general. This involves a promotion that is often called Grassroots Sports Marketing.
When marketing is used to promote products and services there are several ways, or opportunities, possible. These can be direct sponsorship of teams, athletes or broadcast advertising during sports events or advertising at sports events, which are also noticed during broadcast advertising. It is easy to see how confusing this is to persons not directly involved in sports marketing. One old marketing adage is, “if you cannot explain it then it cannot be marketed.”
These definitions of the types of marketing in sports can be wrapped up into this description. Sports Marketing is a branch of marketing, which targets promotion of sports events and sports teams but also on the promotion of products and services via sporting events, teams and athletes themselves. Sports marketing promote actual products or brand names. The goal is to provide marketing customers with strategies to promote the sport or things other than sport via sports themselves.
Sport marketing benefits from the fact that athletes naturally tend to be loyal to brands they feel help them perform. Carry that a step further, remembering that fans are naturally loyal to their preferred teams and athletes. It is therefore a natural progression for loyalty to transfer from brand or product to athlete and further. The transference in the next step is developing the loyalty of fans for the products and brands supported and used by teams and athletes.
In the real world, this is how and why there are big money contracts between sports equipment companies, teams and athletes. The contracts stipulate, among other things, payments for continued public use of specific products. This may be for use only during sporting events or it may be for at all relevant public moments during the life of the contract. This practice tends naturally to increase the loyalty of teams, athletes and fans to products for longer lengths of time.