Benefits and Strategies for Effective Digital Sports Marketing
Apr 05 2022
Engaging with sports fans is a unique kind of brand marketing. Millions of sports fans already follow leagues, teams, and players on digital platforms — even if they aren’t very good at the moment — with enthusiasm and loyalty rarely seen in other industries.
The excitement surrounding the world of sports generates huge opportunities for storytelling, advertising, and (of course) deepening the bond between sports entities and their paying customers. Here’s a quick look at why sports is booming on digital, and how marketers can tap the power of analytics to maximize campaign effectiveness.
How Digital Marketing Is Effective For Sports Marketing
The advantage sports marketing holds over the rest of the digital world lies with each sport’s respective athletes. Sports teams are comprised of people, and people are always the best source of content. Creating effective sports marketing content is therefore simply an exercise in telling the stories of athletes your customers already recognize, follow, engage with, and cheer for. In fact, this type of media has proven so successful there are entire outlets built on expressly this idea — athletes telling their stories in a relatable, human way.
Tying a digital branding effort to an athlete’s human side is good for everyone involved. Players get to be seen as more than just the uniform they wear on game days, fans forge a stronger connection with what makes sports real and important (even fans out of the market, more on that later), and teams and businesses running the sport from within receiving the financial benefits needed to perpetuate competition and fuel further content.
This connection between honest, relatable content and passionate sports fans allows for effective marketing within the realms of traditional product branding, cultural movements and politics, charity work and causes, and just about every other facet of life in which sport plays a role. Sports may be businesses at their core, but they’re a business people care about deeply.
How Sports Audiences and Channels Are Changing
Most every successful sports marketing strategy can be found answering one of three questions: who is watching, how and where are they watching, and which channels are they using to talk about it?
Understanding audiences is a key to any successful campaign, and in the world of sports, that’s largely meant a targeted adult male demographic for some time now. While the gap between male and female sports fans considered “avid” remains significant, Statista finds 49% of women in the U.S. reporting at least a casual interest in sports. Content previously catered exclusively to a male audience should now be segmented to reflect the increasingly active role millions of women represent in both playing and following sports.
How these men and women watch and engage with sporting events is equally important to a winning campaign. Live sports, once the exclusive domain of major TV networks, can now be accessed via social platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Twitch. Streaming giants like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime have made their own massive waves in the live sports arena. Even the 2022 Beijing Olympics were accessible via Peacock subscription. This opens an obvious door to the increased viability of OTT content, broadcasted directly to devices of extremely qualified audiences.
Creating a Sports Marketing Plan with Data
The tools in your belt may look similar to any successful campaign, but there are additional considerations you can make when it comes to promoting a team, a league, or an individual athlete. Considering new target demographics and channels of communication is just the beginning — what comes next is the trial of experimentation all campaigns must endure before they can run optimally.
There are too many considerations to count when it comes to pinpointing the precise mix of ideal ad spend and promotional content: Which ads most resonate with audiences? Does the time of day or day of the week make a difference? Will game day promotions bump engagement? How are partnering brands and sponsors amplifying your messaging? Does your content tie into an athlete’s human side? Is gamification or immersion a more logical next step?
The answer to all of these will always reside somewhere in your own data. Breaking down performance by channel and improving performance according to individual KPIs will bring faster benefits than trying to optimize entire campaigns as if they are one channel with one audience.