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Tips For Marketing Sports Successfully

Jun 11, 2008
Sure, one could argue we're in the midst of an economic downturn, that people are spending less on luxury items, that the tourism industry is suffering, but don't kid yourself. Marketing sports is still a lucrative business. It always has been; it always will be.

When you see people running down the street, double-fisting beer, wearing facepaint and loaded up with imprinted merchandise, it's hard to think that these manic sports fans are governed by logical reasoning. Sports marketing is fun because you're connecting with people's emotions, their local pride, their competitive spirit and their quest for distinction. In many ways, you couldn't ask for a more perfect set up.

You have a gold-mine if your team is doing particularly well. Other businesses and corporate sponsors know this. Therefore, it's important that you take time to consider the wants and needs of your sports fans. There are some givens, of course.

For instance, alcohol and marketing sports just seem to go hand-in-hand. If you've ever seen a rabble rouse of maniacal sports fans running down the block to the stadium with two beer cans in hand, yelling at the top of their lungs, covered in war paint and wearing logo products, then you know this.

Local restaurants and hotel chains may also be willing to do business with you, as food and sports or travel and sports often go hand-in-hand as well. They'll be making a ton of money, so coughing up some cash to sponsor your event won't be an issue. This area of marketing is particularly salient if your team needs a new stadium or training facility.

Another tactic for marketing sports is to redesign fresh logo products. They may have purchased the Buffalo Sabres jersey last year, but since you've redesigned the logo this year, they may feel like, "Well I don't have THAT one!" said Karen Raugust, editor of Brooklyn trade publication Licensing Letter.

She says that marketing managers must keep up with aesthetic trends to keep their bottom line healthy. "Although sports have become more a part of our popular culture, people are buying these sports clothes mainly because they like the way they look," Raugust explained. "It's become a fad. A lot of these folks are wearing t-shirts, and they don't even know what sport the team plays."

As well, you can focus your marketing sports efforts on offering unique imprinted merchandise, like bobblehead characters, stress relievers, imprinted pens or "beer koozies." Watches, telephones and videos have become hot ticket items, experts say. Many cross-promotional efforts are marketing unique gifts.

For instance, "Id Rather Be Grilling" markets their BBQ sauces, seasoning, grill utensils and aprons to the golf-loving dad, with their golfer's cookbook and golfer's caddy. "Our golf-themed grilling products offer a refreshing alternative to catalog shopping for status quo, 'been there, done that' promotional items," said co-founder Michelle Mobley.

"We work very closely and diligently with our customers to develop compelling, yet practical and cost effective, corporate gift packages sure to 'wow' the recipient. It's a lofty goal, but one we achieve time and time again through our distinctive and lighthearted product line with high appeal."
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