Success in Sports Marketing Calls for a Delicate Balance between Digital and Traditional Marketing Approaches

Success in Sports Marketing Calls for a Delicate Balance between Digital and Traditional Marketing Approaches


Success in Sports Marketing Calls for a Delicate Balance between Digital and Traditional Marketing Approaches


The recently concluded 2018 FIFA World Cup was undeniably exciting. France went on to beat the competition’s surprise participant Croatia in a six-goal thriller in the finals that included a dramatic goal-keeping blunder, an own goal, a couple of pitch invaders, and a Video Assisted Referee (VAR) penalty. Despite all the fanfare at the event, most sports marketing firms will probably agree that from the commercial perspective of on-pitch sports marketing, something was conspicuously missing; the traditional advertising banner.

Unlike the previous editions of the event, this year FIFA experienced challenges in marketing the world cup. Perhaps this is due to the corruption scandal that hit the world football governing body in 2015. The sponsorship struggle had a significant impact on the commercial aspects of the event. Most of the on-pitch marketing that is synonymous with previous events, especially, advertising banners, was missing. Some experts have argued that FIFA’s tarnished image as a result of the corruption scandal meant that many brands that traditionally associated with FIFA did not want their target audience to associate their brands with FIFA.

The sponsorship struggles experienced by FIFA in the recent World Cup indicates the intricate relationship between several stakeholders within the sports industry, and more importantly, the vital role of branding and marketing in sports. Luckily, the FIFA World Cup is not the only major soccer event, nor is it the only major sporting event. According to the most recent estimates, the global sports industry was estimated to be worth approximately US$ 145 billion in 2015. This offers vast marketing opportunities for stakeholders, particularly for businesses in the sports marketing and branding industry.

As sports marketing continues to evolve and increasingly engage in digital platforms, it is necessary for sports marketing companies to adapt to the changing trends and develop game plans. Although digital marketing platforms are increasingly becoming more pervasive in sports marketing as fans increasingly consume, follow and experience sports differently, sports marketing firms cannot ignore the vital role of traditional sports marketing channels.

Some of the common traditional sports marketing and branding media that was common on the pitch are banners. While banners have for a long time served a vital role in communicating a brand on the pitch, they don’t have to be necessarily placed on the pitch to be effective in sports marketing. Banners can be placed in strategic locations such as points of purchase and have a positive impact on the advertising company’s bottom line.

With advancements in digital printing technologies, vinyl banner printing has greatly improved. Metallic and glossy film are extensively used in this type of banner printing and it has proved to be significantly popular with not only sports marketing and branding firms, but also other firms that market different products and brands at point of sale locations. Leading sportswear brands are also increasingly adopting metallic and glossy heat transfer films in printing logos and other graphics on their sportswear apparel. Consequently, it makes fine economic and practical sense to adopt a similar technology in printing promotional banners.

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