Today’s competition between sports teams isn’t limited to the field of play. With the increased commercial demands of modern sport, teams and clubs have become brands – and these brands must compete against their rivals for attention.
That’s why the techniques of marketing have come to play a crucial role in promoting sports franchises. Promotional campaigns can lead to greater awareness, increasing engagement and loyalty from fans – and a better chance of gaining the all-important sponsorship deals.
If you want to beat your opponents on the field you stand a greater chance if you have already beaten them in the marketing battle. A partner betting operator or a piece of engaging digital content experience may be as big a part of a team’s success as the skills of a top player.
A prime part of today’s business operation is that any sports franchise needs to attract new fans and keep its existing ones happy. Sports brands know that their rival franchises are trying to lure their fans away – just as they are trying to woo opponents’ followers.
Of course, sports have long been heavily commercialised – from sponsored shirts to the advertising around the perimeter of any stadium. The game, the sport, the team and the venue are usually promoted as part of several huge commercial deals.
Sports franchises have grown into one of the largest industries. This is shown by the fact that the market value for North American sports events has increased beyond 100 billion dollars in recent years.
That’s why the world of US sport has become increasingly dominated by powerful forms of franchise marketing. Sporting events are now promoted as part of a brand experience.
Here are two great examples of sports franchise marketing:
- After St Louis Cardinals baseball team won the 2011 World Series the franchise maintained the fans heightened level of support by running TV commercials through the following season. The films show team members preparing for a game but finding bits of celebratory confetti hidden in their kits.
- The Dallas Cowboys football team used a TV commercial to link its franchise with local fans’ Texas allegiances. The ad showed a star Cowboys player taming a wild bronco horse.
Modern marketing techniques are sophisticated. But sports franchises are promoted using some of the basic principles that apply to all marketing:
- Make sure you know what audience you are aiming for. Where do they live, how old are they, what is their lifestyle?
- Gain their attention with appealing and original content. Don’t post content that has no purpose – being boring will lose you followers.
- Include the use of social media. It’s where fans interact and it’s free to post material there.
- Publish your content at the right time. Before major games is a critical time for fan awareness and a great time to introduce players and thanking sponsors.
- Create commercial partnerships and attract sponsors to help build the franchise. Make it a two-way relationship – by mentioning them often at games.
Sponsorships are a vital way for sports franchises to boost their income stream. One of the major new areas for franchises to explore is building a relationship with a gambling brand.
Partnering with gaming and betting operators has yielded huge income boosts for some sports franchises. Most major names in sports gambling are involved in sponsoring a franchise.
The NFL for example has broken records recently for the size of its sponsorship deals – in total these are now approaching $2 billion. A huge chunk of this comes from online casinos and e-sports gambling companies.
This followed the football league’s previous reluctance to be involved with the booming world of sports betting. The NFL was the last of the major US sports to embrace sports betting sponsorship.
That was despite the fact that around 45 million Americans placed wagers on action in an NFL season. Once the sport administrators opened the doors to betting sponsors, the floodgates opened and the sports was able to generate hundreds of millions of dollars in extra revenue.
The sums involved in this world are huge. More than $12 billion is bet on the NFL during a current season.
Current deals with major sports betting operators allow the gambling brands to appear in franchise advertising and content. It also allows the gambling operators to use NFL logos in their promotional material.
Gambling commercials are now aired during TV broadcasts of games and betting facilities are increasingly being permitted in many NFL stadiums.
Specific examples include the New Orleans Saints agreeing with gambling sponsors to rename its Superdome stadium. And the New York Jets have signed a deal to establish a betting lounge within their stadium.
Expect the surge in new deals to continue and the NFL to continue to enjoy this source of extra income. The trend is for small bets on minor parts of games to soar.
These wagers can be on statistics like who scores the first touchdown or how many yards a certain player will cover. Operators have found these small bets increase fans’ engagement and make watching games more exciting – even if the final match outcome is expected.
Even the authorities are welcoming this boom in sports betting. Figures show the amount of tax generated has soared – boosting the government coffers as well as those of the sport franchises.