• Van Hawke Sports

What is sports marketing?

- By Alex Bidwell

sports marketing formula one redbull
Image: Bryn Lennon 2020 Getty Images

The term sports marketing is often split into two prime definitions: ‘marketing of sports’ and ‘marketing through sport’. Where ‘marketing of sports’ refers to advertising the sports industry itself (sport event organisers, leagues, championships etc.), ‘marketing through sports’ does what it says on the tin: it allows any brand to market themselves through sport.

Sports are consumed on a mass scale and provide brands with an opportunity to advertise themselves to an otherwise inaccessibly large audience.

Where the story began?

Sports marketing has been around since the 1870s when tobacco cards featured the baseball stars of the day and sports marketing has grown exceptionally since. By 1970, brands seized the benefits of using sports as a marketing tool that had a captivated audience. As the popularity of sports increased along with live sports coverage, the opportunity to market one’s brand through sports grew exponentially and became widely accessible.

Marketing through sports allows for any brands outside the sports realm to advertise via sport properties and increase their brand exposure worldwide.

Red Bull is a classic example of a company that has successfully executed their marketing strategy through sport. Their product, an energy drink, is now synonymous with sports teams (RB Leipzig and their own F1 team), content (the Stratos Jump) and experiences (Red Bull Racing Factory Experiences) engaging and uniting sport fans together.

Types of sports marketing:

Where the two primary types of sports marketing come down to ‘marketing of sports’ and ‘marketing through sport’, we can find other micro types of sports marketing within each of these categories.

Micro types in the “marketing of sport” include:

· marketing of sporting events;

· marketing of sports businesses;

· marketing of individual athletes;

· marketing of places, stadiums and facilities where sports occur;

· marketing of Public Bodies, Federations, Leagues and Series, with the intention to promote, grow and develop individual disciplines and championships;

· marketing of sports equipment.

Micro types in the “marketing through sport” include:

· brands having their logo on sports stadia;

· brands having their logo on the team’s shirt;

· brands having their logo in media backdrops of sporting events;

· brands having hospitality suites at sports stadia;

· brands advertising themselves through rights holders’ social media channels.

VAN HAWKE SPORTS & the importance of sports marketing agencies:

At VAN HAWKE SPORTS we focus on “marketing through sport” as we connect brands with rights holders, from all sport disciplines, to ensure tailored and uncompromising sports partnerships.

We bridge the gap between sports right holders and brands and ensure mutually beneficial partnerships can be formed as well as maximising brand exposure. As a sports marketing agency, we assist brands looking to get involved by simplifying the process and making it accessible for brands to attain their desired objectives. VAN HAWKE SPORTS operates a global network of sport properties allowing us to select the best sport sponsorship opportunities available for brands.

We offer a complimentary advisory service to brands interested in sports marketing. If you want to learn more about us and how we can assist you contact us today.

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