Sports marketing refer to the use of sporting teams or events to promote a product or company. The idea is to associate a product or business with a sport. This association leads to increased brand awareness, which is another way of stating that more people recognize a company’s name or product. An example is putting a product name on the side of a race car. On a local level, it involves the purchase of a billboard at the local baseball or softball park. In both instances, the idea is to link the product and business with the sport. If you like the sport, you will like the product. It must be a good product. It sponsored the winning car. |
One specialized use of sports marketing involves sports sponsorship. On a simple level, it is the local businessman who buys shirts for the youth soccer league. The shirts feature the name of the business. At the national level, it involves naming rights to a golf tournament or a college football bowl game. In either case the message is clear. Without this business, the sporting event would not happen.
So how do sports sponsorships increase brand awareness? Sports marketing agencies specialize in this area. These sports marketing companies place brands with sports. The idea is to cultivate a following among the sports fan that follow a particular sport. In successful sponsorships, the brand and the event become one and the same. For example, a college football game becomes the (insert business or product name) bowl game. The brand and the bowl game are one single event. Another example is a maker of golf clubs that provides those clubs to a professional golfer. The followers of that golfer became aware of the golf club maker so when they think of golf clubs, there is no other brand.
Brand awareness is based upon repetition. Put the brand name out in the public on a repeated basis for a long enough time, and you will see increased brand awareness. Sports marketing firms realize this, and capitalize on the fact that sports sponsorships provide that repetition and time. Sponsor a local minor league baseball team by becoming the official physicians. If a fan becomes sick, the right course of action is to see the team’s doctors. It works for any brand. The loyalty of the fans to the sports team or event transfers to the brand. Brand awareness simply increases due to the connection with the sport. People are loyal to their team or sport, and that loyalty transfers to the brand.
Sports sponsorship is a very simple idea. It involves a marketing technique that states if you like one item, you will like all items that go with the first item. Increasing brand awareness is a matter of hitching on to a popular sport and going along for the ride.
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