Master of Science in Sport Management Online

4 Tenets of Sport Marketing

The sports industry is continually growing, meaning the industry requires marketing campaigns large enough to sustain it. Unlike general marketing, sport marketing entails a lot more than convincing a consumer that one product is better than another. If your future lies in the sport management industry, you’ll need to know what sport marketing is and what an effective sport marketing campaign involves.

Sport Marketing Versus General Marketing

Image via Flickr by Keith Allison

Typical goods and services marketing campaigns strive to boost consumers’ perception of a particular product’s economic value. For example, a certain brand of laundry soap uses advertisements to convince you its detergent is the best one money can buy. You decide to try the soap, and it works well enough that you make it your go-to brand of detergent. Does your loyalty to this brand mean you’ll buy T-shirts depicting the logo or visit the website regularly to keep up with the company? Probably not. Those sorts of decisions result from perceiving something to have strong emotional value, which is the key difference between general marketing and sport marketing.

Identifying With a Team

Sport marketing campaigns are not created for consumers in the general sense. These campaigns seek to turn people into fans, those who will stay loyal even to a losing team as long as they can still identify with the team. You’ll hear fans say, “We won the game,” even though they didn’t play in a game because they feel a strong emotional connection to their favorite sports team.

Sport Marketing Research

Research is integral to any marketing effort, and the sports industry is no exception. Informed research lays the foundation for every decision by helping marketers learn about their audiences, trends, future occurrences, and other factors.

A successful sport marketing campaign requires extensive research. Sport marketers must learn everything they can about a demographic, determine how and where to best interact with that demographic, and then use that information to make predictions.

Target Audiences

Unsurprisingly, sport marketing campaigns most commonly target men of a certain age. However, it’s important to remember that the word sports casts a wide net. Competitive cheerleading is a sport, for example, with an audience that is likely mostly women and girls. Extreme sports may appeal more to a younger crowd while golf has an older demographic.

Of course, some audiences are bigger than others. Because the NFL fan base is massive, it allows for more elaborate, expensive marketing campaigns than figure skating or the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

Branding Efforts

Image via Flickr by Intiaz Rahim

After sport marketers identify the proper audience, they’ll need to focus on branding to get the fan base to act. One of the biggest and most effective branding tools is merchandise: shirts, hats, mugs, or anything else that will sit still long enough to have a logo or team colors printed on the products. Branding efforts also involve giving fans as many opportunities as possible to interact with a team, such as through TV ads, mobile apps, websites, and other venues.

Sport marketing is nuanced when compared to general marketing efforts. Successful sport marketing is about establishing a deep connection between fans and a team by inspiring them to support and interact with a team regularly.