Sports marketing

Sports marketing on the verge of growth

PETALING JAYA: Sports marketing in Malaysia is set to grow despite the uncertainties fueled by the Covid-19, thanks to the strong penetration of the Internet and of the television audience.

Last year, the global sports marketing industry was hit and lost between 15% and 18% in value, which translates into billions of dollars.

Despite the global losses, the country’s sports marketing industry is thriving amid the Covid-19 pandemic, which has paved the way for marketers to deepen their brand’s presence.

Reprise Digital Group Business Director and Sports Marketing Manager Thanendran Thanesvaran said sports marketing momentum will remain in Malaysia.

“We are a nation that thrives on watching a lot of our sports on television, and that will continue until that form of broadcasting is taken away.

“Our local football league, the Malaysian Football League (MFL), is having huge success, and aside from the fans being unable to be in the stadiums, we always draw a huge fanfare to the audience.

“One example, the Charity Shield game, which was the curtain raiser for the new season, had around 600,000 viewers online,” he told StarBiz.

Reprise Digital is the full-service integrated communications agency within the IPG Mediabrands network.

Going forward, he said that the emergence of eSports, increasing sponsorship and increasing the number of internet accessible devices will continue to drive growth in new and innovative ways.

Factors that may hamper the growth of sports marketing in the future include threats from home entertainment, for example OTT (over-the-top) streaming platforms and games, and increased regulations on sports.

He said given the pandemic, sports marketing could help marketers improve their brands further.

Thanendran said that many markets are seeing a huge increase in internet penetration, whether through mobiles, tablets and other electronic devices, which in turn is expected to boost the sports market.

“A good example will be unifi playTV from Telekom Malaysia, which offers an on-the-go streaming platform and is the official broadcaster of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics in Malaysia. The majority of its users use mobile devices and the platform broadcast the Olympics for free, allowing sports fans to watch the matches.

Thanendran: A good example will be unifi playTV from Telekom Malaysia, which offers an on-the-go streaming platform and is the official broadcaster of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics in Malaysia. The majority of its users use mobile devices and the platform broadcast the Olympics for free, allowing sports fans to watch the matches.

“A similar trend is expected for future sporting events, which will help generate income for the sport market,” he said.

Thanendran said more brands are investing their ad and promotional spend in digital strategies as they see the value of spending in paid searches, email campaigns and social media ads.

It plans to invest more in multi-channel digital solutions, including streaming platforms, augmented or virtual reality as well as artificial intelligence and virtual fans to help engage fans year-round and influence behavior in new ways. .

The convergence of all mediums and platforms, he said, is important to deliver a truly integrated experience for sports consumers across all channels.

When asked about how brands in Malaysia took advantage of the Olympic factor during the pandemic, Thanendran said that despite the postponement of the Olympics to 2021, brands have tried to take advantage of the situation by hosting more activities focused on social media engagement.

“It’s important that brands stay relevant and participate in the conversation about current issues, new trends and anything viral. And the Olympics provide that opportunity for content.

“Brands don’t necessarily need to go down the main avenues of sponsorship, but there are plenty of ways to take advantage of a hot event like the Olympics to get inspired, talk about sporting and cultural references and redefine their brand. relationship with consumers and fans, ”he said. added.

Commenting on Team Malaysia, he said Team Malaysia is the number one sports fan page for the nation and is the bridge for fans and athletes to talk to each other.

Reprise, as the agency representing the Malaysian team, he said, covers the performance of Malaysian athletes with real-time reports that provide accurate and timely sports updates.

Since its inception almost 10 years ago, the number of followers has grown to just under two million collectively across all of its social assets – Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

As well as being a platform for updates and experiences, it said it is being used as a strong and positive messaging tool and an alternative to negative reporting, so fans can give support to national athletes.

Regarding future sports marketing trends for brands and the outlook for sports in the new normal, Thanendran said with ongoing blockages with no clear end in sight, there might not be any activations on the pitch at least. for the rest of the year.

Brands, however, he said, have a great opportunity to forge new experiences for fans. Rather than competing with OTT, sport could be part of the equation.

“One example is all or nothing of Amazon which has grown into a well-known sports documentary series brand because it gives fans behind-the-scenes access and intimate insight into how their favorite sports clubs work.

“This presents great opportunities for brands to be part of the sporting conversation with clubs. The sport is experiential and fans want to see big comebacks, drama, emotions and glorious victories.

“We’ve seen fans go hungrier than ever for the excitement of live events, especially after starving for them in 2020. It’s an exciting time for brands to engage with fans at home and improve their mobile and digital sports experience, ”he noted. .