5 Principles of Sports Marketing and Sponsorship
Sports marketing involves building a highly identifiable fan base from passionate fans, sponsors and media to promote and support organizations for the betterment and benefit of social exchange. This also includes personal, community and group identity within competitive, yet cooperative environments.
Branded goods and services that emulate sports related marketing practices is what builds highly identified customers. Social networking and services like eBay serve to generate a high level of fanatical support so that users form clubs and meet for social benefits and interaction associated with memberships. The same holds true for sports organizations, particularly those heavily relying upon sports sponsorship.
Branded products like Apple generate so much enthusiasm among fans that they spend a premium to purchase new versions of those products before others. While this is an exception from the rule, it is clear that the behavioral patterns of the fans of these products emulate the behaviors of avid sports fans.
Much like social media, effective marketing for sports is primarily based upon creating high levels of fan identification. Customers may identify with branded goods and services, similar to when customers wear particular clothing brands that are prominently displayed. In this way, it may be argued that identification is actually a deeper regard and level of loyalty. However, the best examples of extreme followings are generally within the arena of marketing for sports related activities, products and services.
Brands seek property alignment through their ownership of an active and avid fan base. The goal is to achieve sponsorships first in minds of fans so that affinity for properties transfer to the brand. When this occurs, fans attribute these positive associations with brands, making them more distinct. Based upon these positive attributes, passionate fans continue to respond favorably by way of supporting behaviors and buying more of that brand.
The context in sports marketing is formulated using a foundation of thorough understanding of how the buyers will respond to each property, for example, organizations, teams, athletes and artists. In addition, sports sponsorships play integral and dual roles as both patrons and supporters.
Sponsorships are largely sold based upon the relationships between property representatives and the intended sponsors. However, they also rely heavily upon strategic, qualitative and quantitative evaluations.
The highly identified fan base for each property focuses primarily upon team sports. However, the property could just as well be any other type of entertainment entity that generates highly identified fans. For example, actors, music artists, concerts, films, theaters or other art centers.
The common denominator is that all property within the framework consists of highly identified fans who have developed passionate connections with these properties. This occurs as a result of the consumption of events, meeting with fans, media and merchandise. It is those activities that fuel the success of any sports driven campaign.
In addition to sports teams, organizations and businesses may build stronger brands through connecting with sports sponsorships and related products and services. As with any traditional promotion strategy, sports marketing directly addresses appropriate business requirements while examining the specific qualities of sports related businesses. Incorporating these principles as they relate to sports into any traditional marketing plan is an effective strategy for any business.