Author: Shivam Seth
Marketing mainly focuses on satisfying the end customer by giving him what he wants. In sports as well, marketing plays an important role in any sport, league, club or brand to reach out to a potential customer to spread awareness about the desired product. In sports marketing, the marketer needs to design the right marketing mix to reach the end customer effectively.
There have been regular marketing activities done by clubs and leagues all around the globe to reach out to the target audience. Though some of the activities seem trivial, the basic need of AWARENESS is being taken care of effectively.
Here are a few examples involving India and Asia as a fan base which I was able to recall involving Football, the most popular sport in the world (we can argue on that later):
India vs Bayern Munich: Flipping the calendar back to 2012, an icon and arguably the Face of Indian Football, Bhaichung Bhutia announced his retirement from football. Bayern Munich was invited to play a testimonial match for Bhutia involving all their senior players. Who wouldn’t want to see the likes of Lahm, Schweinsteiger, Robben play live under the legend Jupp Heynckes?? Even though India lost, it was an effective platform to show the might of European football which later on triggered an increase in the fanbase of Bayern in India.
Argentina vs Venezuela: History was made in 2011 when an International friendly between Argentina and Venezuela was arranged in Kolkata to increase the reach of football as a sport in Indian youths due to the involvement of a footballing legend Lionel Messi. The event bought in a wave of activities and excitement amongst youth all across the country.
Signing players from Asian Countries: Asia holds a large pool of talented players waiting for opportunities at their favourite clubs in Europe. Clubs have been proactive in this regard and have signed world-beaters like Park Ji-Sung, Heung-Min Son, Shinji Kagawa etc. along with a pool of young Indian-origin players like Yan Dhanda and Sarpreet Singh.
They have also set up grassroots development camps by investing in infrastructure for football school camps. This improves the quality of infrastructure in the country, builds a fanbase and gives talent a platform to showcase their skills.
Organize Preseason Camps: Teams organize distant preseason games with local clubs or other big clubs by organizing tournaments in places like the USA, Dubai, China, etc. where there is a potential of brand growth for the club.
Sign Influencers as Brand Ambassadors: Influencer Marketing is a method in which a famous personality tries to influence the target audience by promoting through relevant content.
Recently, Premier League has roped in Ranveer Singh, a boyhood Arsenal and PL fan as a brand ambassador where he will be working to support the League’s community initiatives across India, promote fan events and share his passion for the game.
Chelsea has signed Arjun Kapoor to lead the club’s India fan engagement initiative which will include him being featured in a series of digital talk shows featuring Blues fans in India. He will also be across Chelsea FC’s social networks and will communicate with fans online and in person.
Engaging with Local Audience: European giants like Real Madrid, Manchester United, Liverpool, Manchester City, etc. have implemented content marketing by releasing documentaries on OTT platforms for influencing viewers to follow their club and expand their fanbase.
They also organize trophy tours and official screenings involving club legends where they organize local events, quizzes etc. to promote their reach in potential markets.
UEFA also calls Indian legends like Bhutia and Chettri in their pre-match show to involve more Indian audiences for UCL matches.
Some clubs personalize their posts catering to their target audience in India during festive seasons by delivering content in local language which a part of personalization, another P in the marketing mix.
Football and sports as a whole are a popular and developing industry, hence, it can be an effective marketing platform provided we deliver the right content to the right audience!