Sports marketing

Examples of sports marketing to inspire your marketing strategy

Attention to the female audience; ever greater personalization; new technological frontiers: these are some key areas that sports marketing is focusing on. Here are some examples of sports marketing!





Sport occupies an increasingly important place in our life. First a healthy and active life is now a top priority for a growing number of people around the world.

That’s not all. There is also the side of the sports industry which is closely related to entertainment: from classic matches in stadiums, arenas, or any type of sports center, to esports, which take place in fully digital arenas. In this area too, there are big changes: the ways of “seeing sport” are changing at an increasingly rapid rate. The sports facilities themselves are becoming more and more technological and “user-friendly”, first of all. Then there are the classic television channels, which have multiplied. Streaming and on demand services have revolutionized the way they can be enjoyed. Not to mention social networks and new ways of communicating with stars, top influencers, but also “micro” and “nano” influencers.

In short, the sports sector has changed and continues to do so at an ever increasing pace, in all of its complex and interwoven aspects. Field marketers are “doomed” to be dynamic, to keep up to date, to always look to the future, towards what moves on the horizon, trying to see it before the competition.

On our blog, we published an article dedicated to the evolutions of marketing and communication in the sports sector., to which we refer you for all the relevant information.

In another post, we focused on the new trends, identifying the 10 most important and promising.

Now we want to be even more concrete and talk about successful examples of sports marketing that we can learn from.

We have chosen to divide them into three distinct sections, which will allow us to focus on three general themes, three different trends that these campaigns have successfully attempted to intercept.

The first concerns the expansion of the target audience, with special attention the massive growth of the female audience.

The second is the emphasis on customization, which is perhaps the most incisive change that digital has made in marketing and communications.

In the third and final section, we will discuss the use of the most advanced technologies impacting these successful examples of sports marketing, like virtual reality and augmented reality. Today we are only at the beginning, but it is already clear that the future of sports marketing could come from here, with enormous margins for development.

More and more women – “This girl can.”

One of the most notable and important currents of change in the sports sector is undoubtedly the widening the target audience and the diversification of the target itself.

This growth concerns both the fitness and sportswear components, and that of “sports shows” in general.

First of all, it is geographic expansion. For example, today it is much more common for an Italian to follow any American championship (from NBA to NFL to MLB). But think what the expansion to the Asian market means in terms of numbers …

There is also an extension in age: more and more elderly people practice sport, or are interested in it in another way (see our article dedicated to trends in the sector where we have also focused on this aspect). Sport as a fundamental part of the education of children is gaining ground even in regions of the world and in societies which had little interest in it before.

Corn decisive growth is about gender; so – approximately – 50% of the population (… let’s think about it!).

Sport, for some time, is no longer a “men’s affair”, and it is less and less so.. The increase in female audience is a trend that is steadily and steadily on the rise. All the indicators point in this direction, and all the big brands have noticed it.

Here is an example of a huge success: the “This Girl Can” campaign, created by Sport England (a UK government body, linked to the Sports Council). It was launched in 2015, with a dedicated site, a multichannel approach, High quality video, and also the “culture” of a community around the project, in particular on social networks (thisgirlcan.co.uk).

The stated goal was to close the gender gap in sport participation in Britain.

The results?

In just a year, the main campaign video had received 37 million views (considering only YouTube and Facebook).

In addition, according to independent researchers, around 2.8 million women between the ages of 14 and 40 were influenced by the campaign, and have been led to change their habits and attitude towards sport. Of these, up to 1.6 million said they had started playing sports or exercising (bbc.com).

The impact on social media has been profound: just type the hashtag #thisgirlcan on Twitter or Instagram to see for yourself.

In short, an overwhelming success, to such an extent that the campaign was replicated several times, trying – unsurprisingly – to expand the target audience to a female audience over 60 (marketingweek.com).

Always more personal – Nike and Adidas

The digital transformation has radically revolutionized marketing across all industries, and the sports industry is certainly no exception.

The impact of digital has been enormous and multifaceted. But the heart of this paradigm shift is the gigantic and unprecedented availability of data on its audience, its target.

In other words, today it is possible to know your own audience, even when it’s vast, following its digital footsteps. As a result, it is possible to divide it into coherent segments to be intercepted with tailor-made marketing and communication actions.

That’s what we mean when we talk about big data analytics and data-driven marketing (and we’ve devoted an entire article to that on the sports industry. You can find it here: The Role of Big Data in sports marketing.

But that’s not all. The keyword that has been gaining momentum for some time has been “personalization”.

So, go beyond identifying audience groups, to really target individuals. This is personalized marketing, which specialized companies like Doxee take care of: it is adapted to individuals, individual and constantly evolving.

Are there any examples of successful sports marketing that we can refer to?

Mike Parker, CEO of Nike, said the goal of the legendary sports brand is to “to be more and more personal, on a large scale.“(Qz.com).

And words came actions, on many fronts. First of all, the personalized Nike + apps, for example, record an average spend per user as three times that of the nike.com store (qz.com).

Then there is the whole side of portable devices, another very valuable source of targeted and personal data (thenextweb.com). But personalization has also been on the right track for sponsorships of major events (see the case of 2018 FIFA World Cup here).

One of Nike’s first competitors comes to mind … Adidas.

Even this historic brand decided to focus more on customization (retailtouchpoints.com).

To us, one thing seems very clear: If two industry giants, who have been competing for decades, agree on one point, that point must be really important. And this point, as we have seen, is called customization.

This is no longer science fiction – Virtual Reality, Manchester United and others

According to many experts, the future of marketing could come from certain technologies which, until yesterday, seemed almost like science fiction.

We are talking about Virtual reality, augmented reality and hybrid reality.

Many brands in the sports industry have made or are making interesting experiences in this direction.

Here we highlight the history Manchester United football team, which first (in 2017) implemented Virtual Reality projects for its supporters and spectators in the stadium, in collaboration with Oculus, a division of Facebook, all focused on virtual reality projects (wearesocial.com).

From football to engines: the Read Bull Formula 1 team uses Virtual Reality to offer fans the experience of the circuit aboard one of its single-seaters (see here).

Then there are the first experiences concerning the sportswear sector: consider the possibility of “virtually trying on” a pair of shoes to assess their aesthetics and functionality.

The fields that these new technologies will open are still to be explored.

What these successful sports marketing examples show us is that we need to keep your eyes open. That we have to be daring, identify trends upstream, but also monitor closely Numbers and The data. It’s about balance.




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