Master of Science in Sport Management Online

4 Growing Trends in Sport Marketing

Digital is driving the changes in sport marketing for 2015. Teams and sponsors understand that today’s sports fan enjoys sports across a variety of screens and devices, from HDTV to iPads and smartphones; driving engagement across the spectrum is key to success. Sponsors are recognizing that athletes command a huge digital footprint and they compete for ways to leverage those assets in their digital marketing.

If you’re a student of sport management and digital marketing, here are some trends to watch in 2015:

It’s Getting Personal

Big Data is making it possible for teams and leagues to really get to know their customers and what they like. As with every other business today, sports teams are using Big Data and detailed analytics to provide their fans with highly personal, customized, and engaging experiences based on their past interactions and behavior with the team. Fans can look forward to video clips, special offers, and personalized content designed around their preferences.

More Focus on Fantasy

Every major sports league has its own fantasy version in America. Last year, over 40 million people played fantasy sports, the equivalent of about a third of the adult males in the country. Fantasy generates a huge, loyal following; most players spend about 18 hours a week tending to their fantasy sports teams and leagues. Teams and athletes recognize the potential for engagement and will spend more effort and resources promoting themselves through the fantasy leagues.

The Growth of Online Streaming

DISH recently launched a new subsidiary product, Sling TV, which lets subscribers stream TV programming over the Internet onto their screens and devices. This product has a huge following among the subset of cable customers who only subscribe to get their sports channels. The company is betting they will peel away a good chunk of cable’s sports fans. Sling TV offers a $5 sports package which delivers nine sports channels in addition to ESPN and ESPN2 included in their $20 basic package. This will have an impact on sponsors who count on TV marketing. Online streaming typically has few commercials, so they will need to develop new ways to engage these customers.

Going After the Girls

Image via Flickr by Keith Allison

Sports leagues are recognizing that more and more women are sports enthusiasts; in fact, about one in three sports fans across all leagues is a woman. Women are outpacing men in the rate of growth in NFL viewership, 27 percent to 21 percent. Women are more likely to purchase a product promoted by its favorite athlete, team, or league. One study showed that female NASCAR fans were 80 percent more likely to try a brand that sponsored NASCAR. Women also use multiple devices to follow their favorite teams. Expect to see savvy sport marketing teams spend more resources creating content designed to attract and engage their female fans.

Look for technology, devices, and data to shake up sport marketing in 2015 as more teams and athletes amplify their digital presence and look for new ways to engage their fans.