Sports Marketing on Digital
Accompanying slides at: http://www.slideshare.net/sushnato/digital
Introduction to Sports Marketing
Sports Marketing is a variation of marketing aimed to use sport, its image and its players for the
goods (sports or others) and a company. It is a service in which the element promoted can be a
physical product or a brand name. It concerns both products, services and organizations. The
goal is to provide the client with strategies to promote the sport or to promote something other
than sport through sports. Sports Marketing is the set of principles and marketing strategies that
are applied to the field of sports. According to Matthew Shank, Sports Marketing is: "The
specific application of the principles and applied to the sporting goods marketing process and
There is another definition of sports marketing. In this different point of view, the Sports
Marketing is the marketing of the offer. It is a management tool of sports consumption, products
and related services. Sports Marketing is a tool of management of sports organizations and / or
Sport now became an "industry" and its structure as well as consumption opportunities that
generates can legitimate a marketing approach. Sport is really considered as a profitable and
sustainable marketing source. Moreover, by positive values (memberships, recognition,
teamwork, stress, perseverance, tolerance, fair play, loyalty, health, solidarity ...) that sport
conveys, it can quickly become a very good corporate communication vector.
Sports Marketing is divided into three sectors. The first one is the advertising of sport and sports
associations (the Olympics for example). In this case, the promotion is directly related to sports.
The second one concerns the use of sporting events, sporting teams and individual athletes to
promote various products. In that case, the products can but do not have to be directly related to
sports. The third one is the promotion of sport to the public in order to increase participation.
One example of sport marketing: The 2014 World Equestrian Games
This event is one of the biggest competition in the equestrian world and gather the best riders
worldwide in all disciplines. It happens every four years, like the Olympic Games and this year it
will stand in Normandy, France.
The goal of this event is to promote horse riding and to promote the event, too. Especially in
France, horse riding is the third most practiced sport. Hence a strong pressure from French
organizers and the International Equestrian Federation (FEI). The strategy had to take into
account both the product (the equestrian event) and the service provided to different customers
(visitors, sponsors, riders, owners,etc).
To achieve this goal, organizers first created a full website to give all necessary information
about the place, the riders, the disciplines, the organization, the program and news about the
event. People concerned can register to the newsletter or keep up with the news thanks to the
RSS mode directly on the website. The website is fully organized and well designed. It allows to
promote the event and the competition place, divided in four sites.
The price strategy has been planned according to visitors' status: particular, student,
equestrian member, company or work council. Especially the members of the equestrian league
could buy their tickets two mouths before the opening of the official ticketing. The event also
offers different passes according to the disciplines the visitor wants to see.
The strategy also takes advantage of the digital tools to target all the customers and to engage
them as much as possible. Indeed, you can find a live tweet directly on the website fed by
@normandie2014, which give some equestrian news. A Facebook page has been opened, which
do have almost 70000 fans yet. Furthermore, since horse riding is very 'visual', digital marketers
understood the importance of investing on digital tools like Instagram or Pinterest, which bring
lot of engagement, especially from women who are the most represented segment both in those
sites and in horse riding. So this two sites allow marketers to perfectly target the right customers.
Visitors can also find some photos and videos on the website and follow the competition through
the FEI TV. A dedicated 'Fan zone' is in direct access from the site and provide direct links to
social medias, games and the mascots:
Fully and live
videos of the
Use of new digital
In terms of promotion, a trailer has been posted on YouTube in different languages
(http://youtu.be/qQUF7wbGbRE). They also created a shop where you can find all the goodies
you want related to the Games: daily clothes, accessories, technical clothes.
Concerning the partnership associations, the event is associated and supported by a range of
sponsors, from official one to partners or ambassadors.
Finally, the 2014 World Equestrian Games' marketers have made a large use of all the sport
marketing tools to promote this event, from classic to digital ones. The success of the event will
be the only piece of evidence of the effectiveness of this new type of marketing sport strategy.
Comparison between traditional and digital sports marketing
Traditional sports marketing strategy involves developing a product corresponding to a target
market that watches a particular game. Then use the marketing mix to develop the strategy
designed to appeal to that target audience. It could be done in the following ways:
Advertisement that has a model or actor playing that sport while showcasing the product.
Placement of advertisement of the product in a sport publication.
Sponsorship of teams and players.
Placement of ads/logo’s on player’s jerseys and equipments.
Advertisements on sideline billboards on the ground.
Television and radio commercials of a particular sporting event. Eg. FIFA world cup,
Olympics, Cricket world Cup etc.
TV commercials during the broadcast of the sporting event.
With the advent of technology and internet, marketing of product or service has become much
more profitable for the companies. Companies can now reach not only the fans of a particular
sport/athlete but to a wider audience at a lower cost than traditional mediums. They do so by
being present on various online platforms like social media sites like Facebook and Twitter,
mobile apps, blogs, websites etc.
Digital sports marketing include:
Microsites and campaign websites
Athlete and fan blogs
Youtube channels with behind the scenes footage and fan generated content
Flickr accounts to capture photos from all involved, not just accredited media.
Mobile friendly websites
Location based service integration
It is not just the companies but also the sports people and their respective clubs that make use of
these platforms to engage with their fans. For example, you may see fan pages on Facebook or
Blogs of various sports personalities and their clubs. This increases the engagement between the
fans and the sports personality. Fans could post some questions or a sports personality could give
his/her updates, promote an event etc. It also creates a platform to promote any products or
services. Now if an athlete endorses a brand then it would be followed by his/her fans diligently
as they tend to be loyal to their favorite athletes and teams.
Stages of Sports Marketing
Promotion of sport to the public in order to increase participation
– Marketing of Sports
Advertising of sport and sports associations
– promotion is directly related to sports
Use of sporting events, sporting teams and individual athletes to promote various
products can but do not have to be directly related to sports
Creating a brand and brand awareness
As the stages discussed in the previous section, it was very important to create a brand that
people would follow and identify with. Also important was the fact that our target segment
should be able to identify with it.
Now since forming or approaching a team was not in the scope and interests of the project, we
decided to go with a simple yet engaging way of creating a team/sports interest of our own. We
decide to support the collective sports activities of Dual Country Programme (DCP) batch of
IMT Ghaziabad. The justifications, opportunities etc would be discussed in later sections.
Initially, a logo which was to be eye catching and with a meaning was designed. The logo was as
It was a retro version of writing sport. Also, the number 8 symbolised its connections to digital
media as 8 is a number which brings to mind the units of digital media storage. 8 bits make a
byte, and any subsequent units of storage are divisible by 8. So this is the significance of the
– Enthusiasm of sports in Dual Country Programme:
As far as sports are concerned, it is always a hot topic and people took active
interest in it. Be it the in campus matches or the sports festivals of other colleges
and universities. So basically, the target segment was ripe for such an opportunity.
– Lack of platform for a concentrated effort:
Till date all the information for such activities was disseminated using a common
social media platform, whereby there was no special focus on a single topic. This
led to a crowding of information and the platform became generic.
– Using digital media for target market:
Engaging the target audience was easy as they had an almost 100% availability on
social media. Also it was cheaper, rather free of cost. It also allowed interaction
and instant feedback in the form of comments, likes, shares etc
– Invite fellow teams of DIGM to advertise with us:
To truly get a hang of sports marketing, we developed our presence through a
facebook page. Afterwards, when we reached a considerable number of likes and
were able to capture the mindshare of the target segment we decided to use our
efforts as a vehicle for advertisement like a true sports marketing firm. We
decided to partner with fellow DIGM teams for promoting their projects. A win win situation
– Dual Country Programme students till date :
The DCP fraternity is spread all over the world and the netspace. It is easily
accessible on the social media platform (atleast the two current batches).
Being the most popular Social Media Site, it was virtually impossible to ignore
the potency of this medium. So, all our campaigns started with a presence on Facebook.
It is a known fact that whenever a third party opinion is provided regarding some
kind of services, not only its credibility increases but the consumer is more drawn
towards it. So it was decided that we will pursue this mode too.
– Mobile Apps
We went one step further and decided to provide instant connectivity on the move
to increase engagement with users/fans. So the best option was to develop an App. It was
also decided that the App would be both on Android and Apple platform due to the
almost equal popularity of both the platforms in the batch (Source: Observation and
sampling of the batch)
– As agreed upon earlier, Facebook presence was made with the help of a page
whose link is given below. The page was well appreciated and warmly received.
As of today, the page has:
3814 Total reach
1682 post clicks
We also partnered with fellow DIGM team, IMT Gooodies for advertisement. We struck a deal
with them like a true sports franchise. The deal was that their team members will like our
Facebook Spor8 page.
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/spor8
– As part of our efforts to exploit the digital media to the fullest extent possible, we
enrolled the help of some of the prominent bloggers of our college. The idea was
to generate third party material for reference. It also helped in getting the page a
positive PR. The deal offered to them like a true professional PR activity was that
of a cold coffee each sponsored by team Spor8.
The bloggers and blogs used were
Neha Dalal : Random Ramblings
Blog Link: http://randomramblings-nd.blogspot.in/
Salil Srivastava : My Trysts With Life
Blog Link: http://salilsrivastava.blogspot.in/
Sushnato Dutta : In a lighter Vein
Blog Link: http://in-a-lighter-vein.blogspot.in/
– As part of our goal of giving engagement on the go, a mobile App was developed
on the popular App development platform and it provides instant connectivity not
only to all the happenings of interest but also acts as a gateway for other
interesting student activities of IMT Ghaziabad by means of the Student’s Life
section on the main website.
QR Code for the App:
The popularity of the venture is ever increasing and as promised during the presentation, the
page is now involving juniors of DCP for administration and content generation.
We hope to achieve our goal of providing a one stop sports following to the batch and also hope
that the same model might be emulated for bigger applications.