Marketing to Sports Fans Online

Sports and statistics go together like tailgates and beer. Sports and digital media, however, are a relatively new phenomenon providing food for thought for small business owners looking for new ways to reach sports-minded consumers.

Don’t navigate the field without a game plan. The following stats, tips and trends will bring out your marketing ‘A’ game – no matter where the competition heats up.

Statistically Speaking

According to a 2015 Mintel study, Marketing to Sports Fans, the business of sports in North America is impressive by any measure:

  • Roughly two-thirds of Americans follow sports – more than 215 million adults
  • Sports generate nearly $64 billion in revenue
  • Males are more likely to be fans (80%) than female (56%)
  • Fantasy sports generate roughly $3.6 billion in annual revenue

When it comes to popularity of professional sports, football rules, followed by baseball and basketball. Hockey, while considered one of the big four, lags considerably.

Social Media Opportunities

Given this sheer magnitude of fandom and the prevalence of digital and social media, it seems inevitable that the two would cross over. What this means to small businesses is greater targeting opportunities and even more ways to utilize marketing dollars.

  • Google is helping advertisers get the attention of fans by incorporating ads along with video clips from the National Football League.
  • Twitter has championed several live-event tools that help advertisers and consumers engage more.
  • Facebook is building campaigns around college and professional football games that target specific fans and teams.
  • Snapchat, the fastest growing app for smart phones, is negotiating with the NFL to push out video content weekly, giving advertisers the chance to piggyback.

Fantasy football, a frontier that’s expanding rapidly, has also shown tremendous opportunities for advertisers as a growing number of sites cater to a growing audience.

Any business with an eye on the sports market should watch these trends going forward.

Game Day Opportunities

Game days present unique opportunities for businesses on multiple fronts.

During big games, for example, web searches for player statistics and team trivia tend to rise. This means a marketing strategy that revolves around Saturday college football – for instance a keyword campaign featuring a team name or mascot – could lead to paydirt for a company looking to target fans in its market.

Game day is also a phenomenon most Americans like to experience at home. According to the Mintel study, most fans prefer to eat while watching games. So, if you run a takeout restaurant, you might capitalize by making your online ordering user friendly and promoting discounts related to game day.

Papa John’s Pizza runs online promotions in several sports markets promoting deals based on the previous game’s outcome. For example, if the Denver Broncos win on a Sunday, fans might receive an email the following Monday featuring a promo code for a half-price pizza.

Game On

No matter where the game is played, there are online opportunities for business marketers. The key to making the most of them is to have a good game plan and stick with it.

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