Creative Sports Marketing Programs

Sports industry is undoubtedly one of the most profitable businesses of today. People from all over the world follow and enjoy several games through streaming channels, including cricket, tennis, football, baseball, rugby and the list goes on. However, this fan craze doesn’t end here!

A huge number of audiences always seem ready to spend money on being a part of the sport events, no matter if they are local or international. Moreover, the public is also appealed by the products used or endorsed by their favorite athletes, whether it’s on the pitch or off-ground. Basically, it is a great opportunity for businesses to use sports and players to earn fame and popularity. The technique of marketing, which involves sports, is known as sports marketing program, and this post revolves around the same topic!

What is Sports Marketing?

What is Sports Marketing?

A marketing strategy used for the promotion of products, sports events, services, athletes or sports team is termed as sports marketing. The key goal of these campaigns is to promote a brand, a product or just the name of brand. In the end, these programs result in impacting audiences’ attitudes and decisions directly.

For example: Name of products or brands mentioned on the shirts, Chicago Cubs Jerseys, caps or posters plays an important role in brand recognition.

History of Sports Marketing

Sports marketing has evolved overtime. In the beginning, it was more about brand awareness and product placement. However, now the game is bigger than our thoughts.

  • In the 1870s, the first sports marketing activity was seen in which the baseball celebrities of the day started appearing on the tobacco cards.
  • Later in 1939, League Baseball, a famous game, was televised in order to help Babe Ruth to become first 6-figure sportsman.
  • The 1940s to 1950s was the era of televised coverage and modern sports marketing was introduced.
  • By 2000s, the internet made the hype, and social media completely changed the fortune of sports marketing.
  • Then in 2012, athletes were able to share their content on social sites through Opendorse. Over 10,000 players used the platform throughout the world.

Also read about the history of basketball equipment here.

Type of Creative Sports Marketing

Type of Creative Sports Marketing

There are basically three types of sports marketing that you need to know about. Have a look at the given chart below.

Type of marketing

Marketing of sports

Marketing through sports

Grassroots sports marketing


Advertising sport, sport-related associations or  businesses is known as the marketing of sports.

The sector is about using sport teams, sport events or athletes to promote brand or product.

The idea is to market sports to the worldwide community in order to increase the number of participants.


It helps in advertising and exhibiting teams, associations and events.

The aim is to promote products, services or brand through sporting events. However, the advertised ‘product’ doesn’t need to be related to sports directly.

This strategy is used to attract the locality to take part in the game.


Sports associations

Brands, products

Both, public and sports association


NFL (National Football League), the Olympics, Superbowl and Spanish Football League market.

The ads played during the breaks on the TV. The brand naming on players’ uniform. Tags on sporting equipment, shoes, etc.

Ads on Social media related to sports are a good example.

What is The Significance of Creative Sports Marketing in Current Times?

What is The Significance of Creative Sports Marketing in Current Times?

There are a lot of benefits that sports marketing can offer you as an athlete, association or as general public. Scroll through to know how!

1. Product Sales

One of the biggest advantages of a creative sports marketing is the increase of product sales. Sports related businesses or organizations can earn a lot of fame and money through a successful campaign.

For example: Name of products or brands mentioned on the shirts, jerseys, caps or posters plays an important role in brand recognition.

2. Influencing Decision Making

Believe it or not, before even purchasing particular things; our choices are already made due to the strong influence of advertisements. Especially when we talk about sports events, you must have seen a lot of ads or brand names crossing your eyes frequently. That visual information is then transferred to the brain, and the slogan or name of that particular product is stuck in your head, especially when you are out for shopping. This is the power of advertisement you guys!

3. Sports Promotion

This one is a mutual benefit of both the parties, public and sports federations. Sports promotion not only help the enthusiastic candidates take part in the physical exercise, but also keep the game popular worldwide. In fact, many NGOs also arrange similar programs for the sake of sports promotion or charity initiatives. Besides, it is not a hidden fact that physical activities are important for fitness and health of the general public.

Read on How high school sports can benefit students to learn more.

4. Advantages to the Venue Locale

 The countries and cities that host sporting events are greatly benefited as a result of a successful sport marketing campaign. How? Mostly, the major events are promoted with the emphasis on the hosting city or country, like Olympics. In return, the venue locale receives revenue; all thanks to the taxes. Moreover, if the event is bigger, let’s say it’s World Cup; the popularity of the game will lead to increase in tourism. Hence, it is a win-win situation for the locality.

Examples of Creative Marketing From The Past

In the commercial domain, sports marketing is not something new. In fact, it is a time-tested relationship between business houses and sports for the sake of mutual benefits. Due to the increased popularity of sports, such as football and cricket; several companies and brands are eager to market their products in an association with sporting events and star athletes.

Sports marketing campaigns need uniqueness and a lot of creativity to stand out in the crowd and to grab viewers’ attention. Here, we are going to talk about some of the brilliant strategies/programs from the past that quickly became popular and left a long-lasting impression on us, the audience. Keep reading!

1. Pelé: Puma and the Pause

In the FIFA World Cup of 1970, the players were all  set on their positions, and just when the match was about to start; a Brazilian athlete Pelé requested the referee to pause it for a minute, so he could tie up his laces. In the beginning; the gesture appeared unusual because Pelé spent almost 42 seconds on his shoelaces. As he was the star player; everyone in the audience and the cameras were focused on him, and he knew that well.

This pause was basically a marketing tactic to promote the pair of shoes he was wearing at that time, puma cleats. Shortly, everyone understood this brilliant marketing strategy by Puma and that’s how Pelé’s Puma and the Pause became viral globally.

  • The strategy was creative, clever, hilarious, unique and indirect.
  • Pelé was paid over $120,000 for this.
  • Puma witnessed 300% sales growth after this.

2. Nike’s JUST DO IT

Nike was lagging behind his rival Reebok in the 70s and 80s in terms of popularity and sales. At that moment, the brand needed some serious transformation in order to stand tall in the marketplace. In this scenario, Nike along with Wieden+Kennedy (W+K) introduced ‘Just Do It’ slogan in 1988.

In this campaign, amateur and professional athletes talked about their professional and emotional journey during their careers. It was one of the best marketing programs using sports players.

  • The campaign helped Nike grow sale and popularity wise.
  • The show was followed by several ads with sport stars, featuring Maria Sharapova, Tiger Wood, Kobe Bryant and more to motivate the audience to adopt a healthy lifestyle.
  • Nike spent around $300 million on advertisements of ‘Just Do It’ program between 1988 and 1998.
  • In 10 years, Nike made $800 million to $9 million sales worldwide.

3. Proctor and Gamble – Thank you, mom

This excellent marketing strategy was executed by Proctor and Gamble (P&G) for Winter Olympics in 2018 as an ad. Although a few thought that the advertisement is a little boring, but still the campaign was regarded as one of the best marketing programs of the 21st century. P&G was able to build an emotional connection between the sporting events and the products.

The program beautifully portrayed the role of moms as the greatest advocate of children. In the Winter Games of 2018, the campaign was about ‘love over bias’. Moms! Do read the pros and cons of allowing kids to play extreme sports before you get inspired by this ad.

  • The strategy was emotional, empowering and influencing.
  • P&G experienced global fame with over $500 million sales, 74,000,000 worldwide views, 76 billion media impressions globally and over 370,000,000 Twitter interactions.

Final thoughts

More and more people watch sports events on the internet, TV and other streaming services. This is a great opportunity for businesses to promote their products during the game to reach the targeted audience. Marketing using sports is not a new idea, but surely powerful enough to influence, inspire and motivate the public.

Moreover, consistency is the key. If someone is going to watch an ad or a name frequently during a sports event; then it will automatically click in their mind while purchasing. Besides, the fans love to follow their star players in everything they do, including the brand or product they endorse. In short, creative ads with sports can do a lot of good to your businesses. What are your thoughts on it?