Sports Marketing and Sponsorship Trends for 2012

Everyone in sports marketing and sponsorship knows who the key players are in the marketing of sports. Rights holders, broadcasters, owners of teams, events and facilities plus the athletes and fans all have their role to play. The marketing of sports has always been an adaptive art that requires constant adjustment to satisfy that insatiable demand by fans for more interactive contact and experiences with their beloved teams and athletes.

This year in 2012 there is the possibility that the area of broadcasting might find a breach in the wall of invulnerability which it has been enjoying for the last fifty years. For the first time, a new technology has emerged for broadcasting of sports for which broadcasters do not have a monopoly or first right of refusal on usage. This technology is live video streaming of events. This could signal the start of a race between other players in marketing of sports and sports sponsorship to see who can win the day and provide fans with a new and unique experience. Live video technology permits the transmission of any event, competition or game live to its fans via the internet, without the need of a third party between the event and the fan. That is correct, sports fans. This technology could cut out the broadcasters from this particular part of the marketing game. However, is that a good thing or a bad thing?

Part of the immense value of sports is the revenue gained by competing broadcasters bidding against each other for rights to broadcast events. Would the sponsors that pay so dearly to the broadcasters to display their brands be willing to part company, albeit temporarily or simultaneously from the symbiotic relationship the sponsors have with the broadcasters? Imagine teams taking advantage to communicate directly with their fans. This is what live video streaming allows them to do. That means no broadcast media filtering, analysing and being paid for doing what they have done for more than fifty years. Imagine, sports organizations developing their own media companies, or having an internal media department to say the least. If you doubt the popularity of streaming video, you must have never heard of YouTube. Where in the world have you been? Online video has by far the most online daily traffic amongst anything on the Internet.

YouTube gets more unique daily traffic per day than Facebook. Websites with streaming video get extra link juice from Google because of the organic nature of visits verified by extra time on the site watching streaming video. The broadcast game might have a new gorilla in the booth as teams realize they can create broadcast experiences traditional broadcast media find impossible to put together. Look for this to be a trend that gets bigger and bigger throughout 2012 as teams provide real time interactive experiences with their teams during games. The question really is how the broadcast media react to this changing reality. The relationship between sports broadcasters and sports properties has had an ebb and flow history. Time will reveal if the broadcasters come up with a unique way to get involved, or even to manage this new technology for the teams.

How Can Sports Parents Benefit From Online Sports Registration?

Sports organizations and league coordinators aren’t the only ones who can benefit from an online sports registration system. An online registration solution makes the whole process easier for everyone involved in youth sports, including your team parents! Let’s be honest, sports moms and dads are the ones who help keep your league running because they are the ones actually registering their players. Anything you can do to make the registration process a little easier for them is a win-win situation for everyone.

Here are 4 reasons sports parents will be grateful for an online registration solution:

Convenient Signup
An online registration system gives sports parents the ability to register their athletes whenever is most convenient for them, even if it’s 10:30 at night or 6 in the morning. Hectic parents don’t have to worry about coordinating schedules to make it to the park district office on time or wait until the last minute to register their youth athlete.

No More Paperwork
How often do registration forms get accidentally thrown away, lost at the bottom of a purse or briefcase? What happens if they filled out the wrong form or filled out the form wrong? Online sports registration solutions get rid of the headaches that come with paperwork. They are easy to use and easy to update so parents never have to worry about making a mistake that could potentially delay the registration process. It also means there is a lot less paperwork you’re your leagues have to worry about creating, organizing and filing each year.

Flexible Payment Options
Parents can register using whatever payment method they choose with an online sports registration system. If they want to use the credit card and build miles for a trip to Florida or pay directly with a debit card, the choice is up to them. This makes it much easier to keep track of who has paid, who hasn’t and makes processing payments a breeze.

Access to Practice and Game Schedules
Parents never have to worry about losing a practice schedule again! League coordinators can post team practice and game schedules online, which are then accessible through the online registration system. Coaches can also use the online sports registration solution to contact team members directly en masse, guaranteeing that everyone is getting the same email with the same information. An online registration system keeps sports parents in the loop!

Having an online registration system in place is only helpful for your sports parents if they know about it. Be sure to spread the good news with email blasts, mentions in community newspapers and newsletter, new phone messages and more.

Major Player in the Field of Sports Marketing

With the Winter Olympics and Super Bowl just around the corner and with the World Cup taking center stage this summer, sponsors are taking a new and different approach to advertising their brands. They are scrambling to invest more in social media campaigns and less on expensive TV and print advertisements. Aside from the obvious cost savings, the big question is why social media? The answer is two-fold. Social media is personal and it builds relationships. Advertisers are fast recognizing that to build brand loyalty they need to connect with their consumers in new ways through online direct response marketing. What better way than through sports marketing where fans identify with athletes and their national teams.

Social media is playing a critical part in presenting brands and athletes in a manner that interacts with fans on a worldwide basis. It creates anticipation and excitement for fans that can communicate directly with their favorite athlete and connect with them on a more personal level. Social media is enabling brands to create lasting relationships with people around the globe that isn’t possible with television and print media.

The Crossover to the New Media

NBC, who has exclusive broadcast rights to air the Vancouver Olympics, is making a big play with online marketing as a major part of their promotions to achieve web success. It has partnered with the social media firm The Swarm Collective to produce Olympic Pulse, a place where visitors can look up tweets from athletes, Olympic blogs and top trending stories. The Super Bowl promotions have also been very active in social media on Twitter, Facebook and blogging. Athletes and teams are scrambling to hype the event and gain more followers.

In order to prep for the World Cup in the coming months, the corporate partners of FIFA, football’s world governing body, are moving away from the use of traditional TV and billboard campaigns. Instead they are trying out social networking sites to promote their brands, to sell their pitch and build their business online. Calum MacDougall, director of global marketing partnerships at Sony Ericsson, says 2010 will be the first “social networking World Cup.”

Changing the Way the Game Is Played

What makes social media so attractive to powerhouse companies is the realization that more and more people are resorting to popular social destinations like YouTube, Facebook and Twitter to get their daily dose of their favorite brands and athletes. In addition to this, these sites come with major audiences and give brands a huge boost and a way to reach millions of consumers. As an added bonus, these sites give brands the viral, online hype that they’ve been searching for in their audiences and their markets. In addition to this, it’s cheaper than spending millions on TV, billboard and print campaigns, and they can get real-time results in relation to how many people are engaging in these sites and taking advantage of their promotional offers.

The consumer has changed and companies have finally recognized that they need to be where the consumers are most responsive. Is social media the advertising vehicle of the future, replacing more traditional media? Probably not, but it may run an effective second.