5 min read

4 Ways to Make Sports Marketing Work for Your Brand

Mar. 2 2023, 08:00 AM

Sporting events are some of the best opportunities for brands to connect with consumers. Now that games, matches, tournaments, races, and other fan-based activities are happening in person, you'll want to consider the many ways you can leverage those events to boost your company's visibility and expand your reach.

The benefits of sports marketing go far beyond having your logo on the sideboards of a hockey rink. Marketing through sports allows you to engage with niche audiences, opening the door for increased relevance, strengthened loyalties, and memorable experiences through creative on-site activations.

iStock-823319478 compressed

For instance, let's say you're a luxury brand, and you are targeting people with high household incomes. In that case, you would be better off marketing at sports that are more exclusive, such as sailing or professional golf. Alternatively, you might choose to sponsor individual athletes or teams if you know which are popular among your target audience.

What if you'd rather market to a broader base that includes people with various incomes? Sports like soccer or football appeal to a wide range of people, making them an excellent marketing option for the general public. 

Of course, it's one thing to try to build alignment between your brand and consumers through static advertising, sponsorships, and experiential sports marketing. It's another thing to strategically determine which tactics will best showcase the advantages of your products or services. 

Below are some live event marketing suggestions to help you get started on your next sports-directed campaign. 

1. Go beyond sponsorship and engage with your audience.

Consumers know if you're just "phoning it in" with your marketing. Rather than simply signing up to sponsor a golf tournament, add some tactics to allow for more interactions with potential customers. Maximize your sponsorship by leveraging the event, venue, team, or player. For example, you could create a relevant gif station at the event, have a VIP event at the venue, and arrange demonstrations or team "meet and greets" between players and fans. 

Not sure you can get players on board? AT&T proved that you don't need much to make a big impact. AT&T received tons of press for its Dallas Cowboys Stadium "Pose with the Pros" kiosk back in 2019. Even though fans couldn't stand beside their favorite players, they still raved about the experience of getting a picture "with" those players using a green screen. And they shared their images on social media, which presented extra exposure for AT&T. 

2. Market around big events when you can't secure a spot at the event itself.

Not sure you could pick up a sponsorship for a local team this season? No problem. You could always structure an activation around a big event, even if you're not at the event itself. 

Case in point: Wendy's created a floating food truck in three weeks with our team's help. The food truck was specifically engineered to appeal to hungry fans about to go to the big UW versus USC game. The live event marketing paid off in lots of unsolicited formal and informal press. Best of all, Wendy's did not have to pay to be a part of the actual match-up to rack up marketing points! 

3. Broadcast your sports marketing endeavors.

It doesn't matter what type of live event marketing you do; you should always find ways to talk about it. This could be through your social media pages, via a live stream, in press releases, or through an email newsletter. If you're not bragging about what made your marketing so exciting, no one else has a reason to, either. 

To consider how this could work in action, pretend you're sponsoring a raffle for a VIP sports opportunity like a free lesson with a well-respected athlete. You would want to help sell as many tickets as you could. Therefore, you might write about why you sponsored the raffle on your blog. You could craft a post for your Facebook and Twitter pages from that blog post. You might also write a media release to send to publications. 

4. Have some "Plan B" options in your back pocket.

Marketing through sports is a popular tactic, so your first choice of an event, team, or venue sponsorship might not happen. In that case, you want to have backup plans in place so you can still move forward with an experiential sports marketing venture. 

Not sure how to come up with Plan B, C, and D options? Work with your experiential marketing agency to generate and fulfill your live event marketing concepts. There's nothing wrong with getting a little help. 

No matter your company's image or goals, you can make live event marketing at sports-related experiences and venues work for you. And there's never been a better time to get started than now.



Adrian Si

Written by Adrian Si

Director, Marketing Strategy