Marketing with sports and in sports must be seen as a separate area in marketing. Unlike regular marketing for consumer goods, sports marketing involves a lot of emotion.

No matter which sports are involved, fans are excitedly following their teams and favorite athletes on the screen or in stadiums.

But that’s not all: the sports industry thrives on the many young and old amateurs who do their rounds every week and come together for training. With skillful sports marketing and the right sponsorship contracts, you can bring your own company closer to the fans.

Brand loyalty takes place on an emotional level through sports.

So what trends are there in sports marketing? And what do they mean? Read all about them in this article.

Table of contents

Sports Marketing Turns Fans Into Customers

Sports marketing is a very special kind of marketing. It is emotional and flexible when it comes to advertising products in sports. The advertised articles or services do not necessarily have to have anything to do with sports.

The marketing of individual athletes and sports organizations covers many areas. Here, social media networks are used in the same way as normal marketing, or advertising campaigns are launched. This sometimes goes so far that individuals become their own sports brands.

The best example of this is Cristiano Ronaldo as CR7. He no longer just stands for football, but also promotes perfumes, clothing, and with just a small gesture makes the beverage giant Coca-Cola lose millions in value.

Sports marketing can be done in two different ways. Clubs and athletes themselves can use intensive marketing in sports to raise their own profile, bind fans and convey an image that attracts high-ranking sponsors, for example.

On the other hand, sports marketing can be seen from the perspective of the manufacturing brands that sell sports articles or merchandise. They use well-known clubs or athletes, for example, to draw attention to their products.

But they also rely on conventional marketing strategies that focus on sports activities and the special requirements of the target groups.

Only conditionally plannable, sports marketing is characterized by its own dynamics. While regular online marketing strategies can be planned for the long term, there are some special features in sports.

Although the start and end of the season are fixed for the various sports, it is not possible to predict how the sponsored team or individual athletes will perform over the course of the season.

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Wearables: Little Gimmicks That Make a Big Difference

Wearables started out as fun little gimmicks, but have now made it to the big stage of the sports industry.

The ‘modern’ sportswear gives a lot of space to place logos of soccer clubs or racing teams on it, for one, or to come to the fore as a sportswear manufacturer itself.

Under Armour, the shoe manufacturer has recently introduced a chip in the sole of the shoe that continuously sends data to the associated app “Map my Run”. You get direct feedback and suggestions for improvement.

Professional athletes rely on the collected data from running shoes or, in winter sports, from ski boots to optimize techniques and detect sources of error. With the right top athlete as an advertising figure, these special sports products can catch on even faster.

Smartwatches, probably the most popular sports accessory, can also give in-depth data on the most important functions of the body. These small devices can monitor heart rate and oxygen saturation in the blood.

Virtual Reality Changes Perception

Thanks to advancing digitalization and the further development of virtual reality, companies that are active in the sports business can create online experiences for customers to try on running shoes or ski goggles online.

For manufacturers and retailers, this reduces some of the high return costs in the event of incorrect orders

This is one side of how virtual reality can be used in terms of sports marketing.

The other side of the coin shows the possibility of virtual tours through the catacombs and training centers of the favorite soccer club. Visiting the pit of Ferrari or Mercedes may soon become possible for fans.

Here, the leaders inside of sports organizations still have a lot of unexplored territories ahead of them. There are many unimagined ways to connect with fans. Virtual events can be created where club sponsors are given ample space for advertising.

Esports: The Unknown Potential of Sports Marketing

It’s hard to imagine the world without eSports. More and more gamers are finding their way onto virtual pitches, forming teams, and taking on teams from all over the world in international tournaments.

According to industry experts, some 500 million people will connect with programs offering interactive eSports by 2024.

esports

It has become a huge platform for advertisers in the sports industry. Real clubs have recognized the trend and remain vigilant to further raise their own profile. FC Barcelona, FC Bayern Munich, and VfL Wolfsburg, for example, have virtual teams that naturally have to win their very own victories.

Sponsors are happy about this for their sports marketing because it allows their products and services to reach a target group that might not otherwise go to the stadium.

Sustainability Sets the Tone

The ever-increasing influence of sustainability does not stop at sports. More and more companies that have taken up this cause are being well received by fans and athletes alike.

Apps are being developed that bring like-minded people together and create a benefit for the community, such as the Good Gym trend. Sports and good deeds come together and with Good Gym, shopping can be done for a sick neighbor while jogging, or trash lying around can be collected along the way while running through the woods.

There is still a lot of room for improvement. However, there are already annual events in which athletes call for the cleaning of beaches or forests for example. On the one hand, this brings the sports industry a wider audience, raises awareness of environmental issues, and increases the value of the sponsors involved.

Of course, care must be taken to ensure that the principles of the company doing the marketing in sports match the campaign in question, otherwise, there is a risk of losing credibility.

The Rise of Women in Sports

For years, the focus in sports marketing was on male fans, male athletes, and products for men. This is slowly starting to make a change. More and more women have become financially emancipated in recent years. They have become an interesting target group for the sports business.

Companies marketing sports and sporting goods definitely need to do target group segmentation. The outdoor giant North Face, for example, has recognized this and developed a special marketing campaign for women. With “She Moves Mountains,” the lens is directed at the sporty, self-confident woman of today.

Sports Marketing for Children

Unfortunately, the advancing digitalization does not only bring positive aspects. Children in particular are easily victimized by cell phones and video games. Here, it’s clearly a case of marketing for sport itself. Children need to get out and move more again, as the rising numbers of overweight children show.

Manufacturers of mountain bikes, running shoes, or soccer boots can focus their marketing more on children. Open-air events and climbing parks should include the special features of the children’s target group in their marketing in order to promote more exercise and outdoor activities.

Sports Marketing for Seniors

A similar phenomenon is occurring among older members of society. Seniors are staying active longer and longer and are taking sports seriously to stay fit.

Society itself is getting older. The better-prepared everyone is for getting older, the better.

Trends in sports marketing show that the industry has recognized this reality and a shift in thinking is taking place.

Brands are targeting more and more products at seniors. Companies have realized that this particular target group is very financially strong and has high expectations. Well-developed marketing with sports in the senior segment can open up a whole new market.

What All Counts as Sport?

Everyone sees sports activities a little differently. For some, the basics of sports include long endurance workouts and heavyweights. Others prefer short HIIT workouts or power yoga. By definition, sport is composed of various forms of exercise, competition, and play.

Thus, sport assumes a crucial role in physical and mental health. Regardless of which form of sport is pursued, exercise is and remains the number one medicine for an active and healthy life. So it’s no wonder that many companies in the industry are turning to specialized sports marketing to keep their target audience happy with new products and trends. Are you ready for new sports marketing activities? Experts in PR can help you develop strategies!