Sport’s marketing is a way in which businesses use their brands in association with sport in some way to market towards people involved directly and/or emotionally with the particular sporting event in question. Many businesses use sport’s marketing to help generate positive brand awareness and promote sales of their brand. Probably the most popular way of sport marketing is where companies place advertising billboards around sport stadiums and venue’s in order to catch the eye of the spectators and media. Another example of sport marketing is where sportsmen/women endorse a particular brand, for example in football David Beckham has long been associated with adidas, which has meant that adidas has long been associated alongside a very successful sportsman and global icon.
This type of endorsement has become much more common over the last 15-20 years and it is commonplace in sports such as basketball, tennis and football for competitors/sports clubs to be paid £10’s of millions to endorse themselves with a particular sports equipment retailer or for the companies brand/logo to be emblazed on the clothing worn by the sportsmen/women. Companies such as adidas do this because by being associated with a sporting icon, it adds to the fans perceived wealth of the brand, as people want to be like their icon. For example millions of people will buy football boots based on the fact that their sporting icon wears the same pair.There are many key differences evident in sports marketing in comparison with other forms of marketing for goods and services, for example a customer will be the person who buys the good or service at the end of the chain, although for a sporting event even-though the ticket may be bought by a ‘customer’, that customer will also be known as a fan as they will have an invested emotional or social interest in the outcome of the sporting event. In the world of sport, it is also common for there to be an evident consumer surplus (the difference between the price the person is willing to pay and what it actually costs), particularly if the sport’s team/person is performing well. Another key difference between sports marketing and that of goods/services is that commonly it is the media who pay to promote sport’s events which is that opposite from what generally happens in promotion of a good or service.
The contractual power in sport is also entirely different to a typical business as the power generally lies with the athletes as opposed to the management who hold all the power in other industries. By becoming a fan of a sports team or person, a person also adopts a psychological identity; something much stronger than a typical customer’s loyalty to a product brand. For example if the quality of a product dropped it is likely that a customer’s brand loyalty would stop, however in sport if the team or individual performs poorly it is very rare for the fan to give up their support.The uncertain outcome of sport is something which makes sport such a big business these days, with in certain circumstances almost a billion people tuning into find out the outcome of a sporting event, thus making it such an effective marketing platform. World Cups and Olympic Games cover such an interest globally that they cannot be matched by any other industry, in terms of television viewing figures and general media interest. The main challenge in sport is for a sports team/person to build up their fan-base as typically; loyalties can be passed down from generation to generation, thus making growing their fan-base a hard and long task, however generally success is something which attracts people to become a fan. A sportsperson/team must strive to achieve a critical mass to both survive and to prosper and ultimately achieve the main aim which is sporting success.