Sports Marketing: How Teams Can Get Their Fans

Like it or not, sports teams are a business. This is especially true in the United States, where teams are known openly as franchises and don’t always have much of a connection to a particular place or area. For instance, the Oakland Raiders became the LA Raiders in 1982 before moving back to California in 1995. They’re currently in Las Vegas. In Europe, this would be considered a betrayal of one’s home.
Money talks though, and it makes sense that teams struggling for an audience in one city should move somewhere they might be appreciated. After all, the mere fact that a franchise can’t attract fans suggests that they don’t owe the local area many thanks. For the more deeply-rooted outfit, there are plenty of ways that teams can boost their attendance without running off, something known as sports marketing.
Marketing in sports is almost indistinguishable from any other form of advertising. In essence, teams are a product that needs to be sold if they want to succeed and/or survive. This means that most of the usual marketing techniques, like word-of-mouth, social media, and TV advertising, can all serve a purpose. Sports content company Overtime notes that only 40% of fans choose a team based on where they live, which can leave doors open for marketers.

As well as the previous examples, promotions, i.e. giving something away or offering a discount, can be an effective way to pull fans in too. In more conventional e-commerce circles, promotions sometimes take the form of buy-one-get-one-free deals, such as the offer that frozen yogurt chain Menchies ran on February 6.
Non-physical treats can be found online, especially on gaming and social casino websites. It’s possible to find more info about casino promotions on the BonusFinder website but, in general, brands sometimes offer free coins to play with. The WOW Vegas social casino also lets newcomers enter a sweepstake free after they sign up. This entry bonus is a way for hesitant customers to experience a casino without having to hand over any money, just like a demo of a video game does.
Fan Experience
So, how can all this be applied to sports? During December’s World Cup in Qatar, Morocco gave away 13,000 free tickets to fans before their semi-final match against France. The immediate consequence of this was that more fans came out to support the team during a pivotal point in its history. In a similar vein, a supporters’ trust for British club Bolton Wanderers gives away free tickets to home games.


The latter example doesn’t involve the team directly but it does highlight just how many marketing opportunities there are within sports. The supporters’ trust actually gets the tickets through a local kitchen supplier, which provides a useful example of crossover marketing. In effect, four different parties benefit from just the simple act of giving away tickets – the trust, the team, the supplier, and the fans who receive the tickets.
Fans like to participate. Whether it’s via comments on social media, invitations to events, or watching games on TV, the overall fan experience is a critical part of any sports marketing campaign.

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