Reza Mamodhoussen | 5 min. read

Diving In

When the pandemic struck the United States in March of 2020, one of people’s biggest past time, sports, was put to a halt. Thousands of clubs, whether that is soccer or the NBA or the NFL, lost millions of dollars. Marketers tend to cut back in their budget or spending, because they understand that sales during these times would be hard to come by. We’ll be diving into: 

  1. What the pandemic means for sports marketing
  2. Strategies that marketers should take advantage of during economic downturns.

“Recessions are often when many companies fail, precisely because their marketers fail to tailor their brand strategies to the economic conditions.”                                                                                                                                                                                              

– Anthony Miyazaki

Sports Marketing & The Pandemic

Esports 

We have seen the money loss generated by soccer teams, which rank in the billions. Teams have had to sell their most valuable players to maintain wage structures and avoid severe economic restrictions in the upcoming seasons. Sports marketers notice that as the pandemic was spreading, so was esports. As stadium tickets failed to sell, clubs told their marketers to promote esports through their social media platforms. 

Cancellations have meant that Las Vegas-based Sports Gambling Podcast had begun entertaining simulated series of NCAA games on social media. This allows teams and the leagues itself to maintain and entertain their fans. Brad Nierenberg, CEO and founder of Washington, D.C.-based agency RedPeg Marketing stated, “there could be increased investments from brands who have already dipped their toes into esports as well as an openness among brands who have been reluctant to try until now.” 

This can be because esports targets the younger generation and brand tend to prefer targeting older and somewhat wealthier fans. 

Tactics to Watch

John Rowady, founder and CEO of integrated sports marketing agency rEvolution in Chicago stated, “audiences are now migrating to other areas of social media. We have to manage these transitions and fill the void. 

Sponsorships will be given new opportunities, therefore, companies will be hiring sports marketers to target areas in which they can earn profits during the pandemic. This transition will then be imprinted in the team or leagues marketing strategy for the foreseeable future. 

Marketing Strategies

Giving to Those in Need
Giving to those in need seems like something top brands and wealthy teams should be doing all the time. Now, even though clubs might be donating money on a regular basis, the pandemic was a pivotal and crucial moment for marketers to emphasize that on behalf of their brands. Marcus Rashford, a Manchester United player, during the pandemic set up a campaign for hungry children in Britain. This was an incredible gesture on the part of a player; however, I can set something like that up and have no one notice it. His marketing team are brilliant. So brilliant in fact, that he received an MBE from Prince William for this campaign. Marketers help individuals and brands reach new heights and reach audiences they thought they could never reach. This was immense during the pandemic. 

Building Communities
Brands and teams that, before the pandemic, had an unlimited budget on advertisement spending, have had to cut back, and are worried when normality is going to be restored. Maintaining a strong brand has everything to do with keeping your current customer base engaged and attracting new fans by targeting them with positive content. The pandemic brought hardships across the world; therefore, it is a marketers duty to keep represent their respective brands and keep their consumers happy. Soccer teams have the most fans across the world and sharing content that builds a community that respects and lifts up each other, by posting and sharing content has been immense and crucial. 

Looking Ahead

Marketers have single handedly kept people engaged and happy during these hard times. Most of the behind-the-scenes work done by sports marketers must be noticed. Join us next week for more content that keeps you engaged! 

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