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what is sports marketing?

By definition – Sports marketing uses sports, in any form, to help sell goods and services. This particular style of marketing is less about using a single strategy and more about using the content of sports to assist marketing efforts. This is not limited to professional sports, and may include university athletics, minor leagues, or alternative sports.

Let’s break that down

To simply put it, there are two types of sports marketing:

  • Marketing sports as a product
  • Marketing through sports
  • Grassroots Sports marketing

There are many ways people consume sports, hence, sports marketing can take on many forms.

Marketing sports as a product involves organisations planning, executing and advertising sporting events.

While, marketing through sports is making use of sports to sell one’s products or services. Let’s look through some examples.

We have seen Coca-Cola use this form of marketing through many different campaigns. And ofcourse , how can we forget Heineken which uses the UEFA Champions League, Formula 1 among other sports to market the brand.

The last type is the promotion of sports to the public in order to increase sports participation. It is categorized within social marketing, as this benefits the public. The main goal is to enthuse people and especially kids to get to know the sport, have fun whilst doing it and to become a regular player. In most countries, this is managed by governmental or non-profit organizations rather than private sector organizations as this doesn’t generate as much revenue as other forms of sports marketing.

These are some examples of marketing through sports.

Impact of sports marketing

Without marketing, sports would not have as much of an impact on the world today. Many sporting events rely heavily on marketing. Think about all the sold out sports events in the world, all required heavy marketing to get to where they are.

It would be impossible sports to entice huge crowds to watch a game without marketing.

Sports marketing is not something new. In fact, it has been going on for the past century since sports became a profession.

Initially , along the lines of advertisements broadcasted through the radio, newspapers, and later, through television.

Now, with the advancement of technology, social media has become an integral part of the sports marketing mix.

An example would be how football clubs have embraced social media as a powerful tool to market their brand. From attracting new fans to promoting upcoming matches and also running campaigns, they’ve taken their marketing online.

Sports marketing in Africa

As per the 2020 report by The Africa Report

In the last five years, the underlying potential of Africa’s sport industry is best captured in the NBA’s expansion across Africa culminating in the 2019 announcement of the launch of the Basketball African League (BAL).

As the NBA’s first professional league owned and operated outside the United States, the 12-team BAL is an acknowledgement that Africa’s sports market and local talent can drive needed growth for the association.

With the continent’s middle-class estimated to reach 1.1bn with 690m smartphones in Sub-Saharan Africa by 2050, there will be many eyeballs to watch future games at home and fill today’s unbuilt or underused stadiums.

Football remains the real slam dunk

As basketball attempts to build a local fanbase, football remains the most popular sport on the continent. There are hundreds of premier league teams playing in national leagues with league champions competing for the Confederation of African Football (CAF) cup.

However, despite local leagues, European football remains hugely more popular.

Earlier this year Chinese TV broadcaster StarTimes announced it acquired the rights to the English FA Cup in sub-Saharan Africa, and in 2018 Rwandan President Kagame announced a controversial £30m deal with Arsenal in an effort to boost local tourism and strengthen the global brand of Rwanda.

African influence in European and American sports markets will continue to rise as these markets seek to tap into Africa’s growing middle class buying power.

In tandem with formal sports, leisure activities grow

As Africa’s formal sports market grows, so is the market for everyday sport leisure activities like cycling, biking, marathon running and motorcycling. Kenya has a budding leisure riding scene and a motocross race series that culminates in a national championship.

South Africa’s e-commerce Sports & Outdoor segment projected 2020 revenue is $429m with an estimated 11.6% annual growth rate through 2024. While Kenyan and Ethiopian runners have long dominated marathons globally, local marathons are skyrocketing in popularity.

If you want to learn more about sports marketing and learn how it can benefit your team, league or brand, contact Top Corner and we’ll be there to help.

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