The #1 question for athletes is how can I market myself and land a sponsorship? Marketing athletes involves developing a robust brand identity and leveraging sports’ popularity and attention to promote their products.

This is no easy feat. While the digital age has brought about modern convenience and instant access to a global network of fans, it has also posed significant challenges. Outdated contracts prevent innovation, attendance at games is down, and many athletes are scratching their heads, unsure how to communicate with Millennials.

From understanding the top trends in sports marketing to developing effective strategies and services, here’s how athletes can leverage their individual brands to gain market attention, drive tangible products and services, and land a sponsorship.

The Definition of Sports Marketing

Sports marketing is a subdivision of marketing that focuses on promoting sports events and teams and promoting other products and services through sporting events and sports teams. It is a service in which the element enabled can be a physical product or a brand name.

Examples include

  • working with a business sponsor to run a contest or giveaway,
  • targeting audiences with ads,
  • connecting fans to pre-game content,
  • sharing behind the scenes footage,
  • working with sports companies and influencers to create a unique opportunity for fans, and
  • sharing memorable moments on YouTube and social media platforms.

Sports marketing varies in delivery, but the intent is the same—to accomplish greater brand awareness, connect with your community, and increase revenue.

The Greatest Challenges

When marketing an athlete, the goal is to support their brand development process, network with community partners, and foster increased business and sales. It is much easier said than done.

Millennials Don’t Consume Traditional Sports Media

For starters, Millennials don’t consume traditional sports media. Gone are the days when an audience sat in front of their television to consume their favorite program, conference, or sporting event. The money in television has since dipped, and instead, we’ve shifted towards a subscription-based model with on-demand shows, movies, and sports content 24/7.

Corporate sponsorships now rely on athlete social promotion and support via digital platforms. Those involved with partners that host live events simply market to their audience days in advance, put out brand ads, and work with partners and influencers to support their event on social media.

In-person Sporting Events Aren’t as Popular

Businesses face a hurdle when marketing athletes and landing sponsors: in-person sporting events aren’t as popular today.

Now, there’s no secret that the value of being present is massive. Physical contact and engagement at events provide brands with immense value and an opportunity to contact them, communicate company values, prove your worth, and showcase your business sponsors.

That said, attendance for many events is at an all-time low. Sponsors are shifting gears to virtual events and social strategies to reach their target audience, expand their business, and showcase their value.

Top Trends in Sports Marketing

Demand for Diverse Platforms

Diversify your online presence, engage with others authentically and organically, and inspire hope and growth in your audience. This emotional connection will help create more significant ties, lasting loyalties, increase awareness, and gain the attention of sponsors.

Lifestyle-Oriented, Inclusive Approach

Also consider your logos, website, and identity. The most popular approach is to be lifestyle-oriented and inclusive. A sponsor is interested in becoming a partner with like-minded, professional, approachable, and authentic personalities.

Effective Strategies & Services

Develop Engaging Content

It’s essential to develop engaging content. Visual and written content should be value-based. This shows that you are well-aware of the market and will attract a partner and sponsor to help others.

Stay Relevant & Be on Time

Stay relevant and be on time. This applies to your logo, website, and branding. Share timely content and engage with your fans at an event, conference, or online in real-time.

Hit Your Target Audience

Before taking on a new sponsor or sponsorship opportunity, consider their fanbase and your own. Do they align? If not, reconsider the sponsor, their values, vision, and target audience.

Consider Outreach Events

Attending an event is an excellent way to find sponsorships. Visit the event website, bring marketing collateral that showcases your logo, and do your research on potential sponsorship opportunities ahead of time.

From understanding the top trends in sports marketing to developing effective strategies and services, athletes can leverage their individual companies to gain market attention, drive tangible products and services, such as a logo, and find sponsorship.

Consider these tips and remember that the key is developing a robust online presence, being authentic, and diversifying your outreach strategies.

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