Much like mastering a sport, marketing a sports team or a sporting event takes time, strategy and a bit of finesse. The best of the best make use of every resource at their disposal, and they are always looking for new ways to improve their game. With successful sports marketing comes an assortment of rewards: improved organization image, more fans and more revenue. If you are looking to secure these rewards and more for your sports organization, you need to take the proper steps to make your marketing stand out from the rest. In this guide, our event experts and advertising specialists at Extreme Canopy show you how. Below, we’ve put together 5 essential steps for successfully marketing sports teams and sporting events. Get started on the path to success here, and watch your team win in more ways than one.
Plan Out Your “Product”
To get people involved with your sports team or sporting event, you have to have a clear idea of what you’re promoting. Your sports organization may not seem like a “product” in the strictest sense, but it works in a very similar way. It needs an identity. It needs a unique angle. It needs to convince potential customers (your future fans) why they should invest. Like all products and services, sports teams and sporting events need to sell themselves. To do this for your organization, you need a plan. Here are a few ideas to help you get started.
- Visualize your brand. Close your eyes and imagine the most iconic sports teams and sporting events of all time. What do you see? If you’re like most, you likely see specific colors, certain athletes and maybe a few landmark logos. These are the building blocks of brand identity. All successful sports organizations need them to stand out and make an impression. To market your organization, you need to find your colors, leverage your logos and highlight your athletes. Whether you are a professional sports team or a school searching for ways to take your athletics to the next level, building your brand around these important visuals and symbols is instrumental in separating your organization from the rest.
- Understand your fan base. Understanding your fans is also foundational to your sports organization’s success. Your fans are your customers, and they have unique needs just like any consumer base. Take careful note of the way they respond to different developments in your organization. Do more fans show up when games are scheduled later? Are fans buying certain merchandise more than others? If your team is going on the road, do road fans feel included at games? Do home fans have a way to tune in? For youth sports organizations, do parents have any input? Observing your fans and opening a dialogue between them and your organization will help you create a better “product” that will earn you loyalty and more widespread appeal.
- Figure out your commodity. Generally speaking, all sports sell the same things: games, merchandise, and excitement. However, each of these things takes on a different character depending on the sports team or event in question. Some sporting teams’ major sellers are their star athletes. Others emphasize the beauty of their arenas, or the comradery of their fan bases. Others lean into the appeal of their merchandise, taking new and creative angles to drive product sales. Successfully marketing your sports organization means first figuring out what your go-to commodity is and then highlighting that through your outreach.
- Make a schedule. To make everyone aware of the things going on with your sports organization — and to keep everything straight during the season and the offseason — it’s important to create a schedule. Your fan-facing schedule should include things like home games, away games, special events, media days, product release dates, sales and more. Your internal schedule should include all of the above plus practice times, team meetings, meetings with outside investors and sponsors, deadlines for promotional materials and other administrative tasks.
- Set goals. Before making any marketing investments, it’s important to establish goals for your organization. Why are you marketing? To drive sales? Increase exposure? Improve reputation? Rebrand? Your individual marketing goals will partially dictate the type of marketing you will use. Clearly-defined and measurable goals can also be assessed at any point, allowing you to analyze and adjust your marketing strategy if necessary.
Optimize Your Online Presence
In today’s tech-driven market, where the internet reigns supreme and social media is the medium of choice for most sports fans, having a strong online presence is essential to marketing any sports team or sporting event. To get people involved — and to keep them coming back — your online presence needs to be unique and exciting without being overbearing. It needs to present important information without being boring. Most importantly, it needs to stay true to your brand identity. Any interactive online items you create, such as websites and newsletters, need to be clear, readable and easy to use. Social media posts and pages should stand out, but they should never become suffocating. If you’re beginning to build your online presence, check out the bullet points below to learn how you can optimize online activity to boost exposure and engagement for your sports organization.
- Create a website. Your website is the centerpiece of your online presence. It’s the place you link to, the place your fans can buy tickets and merchandise, and the place where anyone can learn more about your organization and get the latest news and updates about your team and events. If you don’t already have a website, you absolutely need one. Partner with a web design firm in your area to create a website that’s aesthetically appealing and easy to use. Need to build a website on a budget? We suggest using WordPress, a free and user-friendly website content management system that allows users to create, edit and maintain a fully-featured, self-hosted website in minutes. (A final note: always make sure your website is mobile friendly, as a sizeable portion of your traffic will come from mobile users.)
- Draft an email newsletter. Everyone has email. Most of us check our email at least once a day and browse everything that comes through our inbox, including promotions and newsletters from brands or organizations we know. If your sports team or sporting event has fans, give them updates via email with an email newsletter. This will foster engagement and keep people tuned in to any upcoming games, news or other events related to your organization.
- Supercharge your social media. Billions of people worldwide use social media. That’s billions of opportunities for your sports team or sporting event to reach potential fans. In order to stand out amidst a sea of Facebook pages, Instagram posts, and YouTube videos, you need quality content that drives engagement. We suggest hiring a seasoned social media expert to help you craft your content, but if you don’t have the room in your budget, do some research on today’s most successful social media accounts to learn more about what makes them the best. Create social media posts that pique the interest of your fans and get them excited to learn more. Add links to your website and tease new developments to build suspense. Post regularly, but don’t overdo it. Quality over quantity is your golden rule.
Seek Out Sponsors and Pick Partners
Marketing for your sports organization is a team effort. To succeed, you have to hunt for the right teammates. Finding sponsors and other professional partners will help you secure funding, improve traffic and reach wider audiences. Start by reaching out to some of the top local businesses in your area, as partnering with them will benefit both of your institutions. After all, your fanbase is their customer base. After scouring your local area for sponsors, move to the national level. Many of the nation’s top companies offer sponsorships for sports organizations of all sizes. A sponsorship with a national partner can quickly help you fund a number of projects for your team or next big event.
However, not all beneficial partnerships need to be sponsorships. There are a number of other important connections all sports organizations should make in order to maximize their marketing potential. Among the most important are media connections. Getting local and national media involved with your sports team is a great way to increase exposure, build excitement and create content for your fans. New outlets, television networks and even YouTube channels are constantly looking for new leads — build your rapport with staff from these media entities before you need them so you can call on them whenever you do. Once they know you have quality stories to tell, they’ll be happy to spread the word.
Give Back to Your Community
A sports organization that is involved in its local community is always a fan favorite. No matter the size of your sports organization, there are always a number of ways you can volunteer to help your community. Check social media and local news outlets to learn more about upcoming community projects and events in your area. Things like volunteer clean-ups, fun runs and parades, local fairs festivals, and other community events are great opportunities to showcase your sports organization and give back to the community through donation, volunteer labor or athlete appearance. The benefit is mutual: your community gets to enjoy the help of your sports organization and you get to reap the rewards of positive exposure. You’ll earn fans without even playing a game. Can’t find an event to attend? Plan your own! Volunteer at a homeless shelter or old-folks home, take to the streets for a trash pick-up, or host a free meet-and-greet on your home turf. Whatever you do, be sure to document and broadcast the event to turn your community outreach into effective exposure.
Invest in Signage and Sports Tent Products
Last but certainly not least on our list of essential steps to marketing your sports team are two versatile products: signs and tents. Excellent advertising solutions that can be packed up and installed anywhere, signs and tents are a great way to take your show on the road. They’re particularly great for outdoor sporting events, such as baseball and football games, track meets, and action sports events such as four-wheeler and dirt bike rallies, BMX races, and other extreme sports competitions. Setting up signs and tents at your next sporting event (or any event you attend) will help attract attention and increase exposure for your sports organization. Read on to learn more about the many benefits of these simple marketing mainstays.
We’ll start with signs. The simplest of advertising products, signs are a great way to attract attention at any event without breaking the bank. Investing in signs for your sporting organization will help you stand out no matter where you are. Freestanding signs such as feather flags and teardrop flags are perfect for setting up indoors and outdoors at community events, youth sports competitions, professional sports games, and anywhere else your sports organization might be making an appearance. Other affordable options include all types of banners — such as pod pop banners, shuttle pop banners, oval pop banners, and traditional hanging banners — which are great for displaying across virtually any service. Plus, unlike other types of signage, banners can be folded up, transported and used wherever your sports organization needs them.
A step up from signs, sports tent products bring both shelter and advertising to any sporting event. Investing in a sports tent (or several) for your sports organization is an excellent move, as your tent can be used in a myriad of settings. Custom sports team tents are great for traveling sports teams in need of temporary shelter. They’re also excellent for outdoor sporting events — such as biking, motorsports, surfing, winter sports, cross country running, and virtually all youth sports — where stadiums just aren’t part of the deal. In these settings, sports tent products provide welcome shelter from the elements. But the benefits don’t stop there.
When you order your sports tent products with custom options, you have the opportunity to showcase your sports team. Custom sports team tents can be outfitted with custom colors and printing options to include team logos, slogans and even photographs. These tents are an excellent way to increase exposure for your sports organization and stand out from the competition. Some of the most popular types of custom team sports tents include instant canopies, inflatable tents and larger event tents. Follow the links listed to learn more about each type of sports tent and find the right fit for your needs.
Learn More About How to Market Your Sports Organization and Shop With Us
Want to learn more about how to market a sports event? What about how to market a sports team? If this guide didn’t answer your questions, our experts here at Extreme Canopy will.Contact us to speak with a member of our team directly and get expert marketing advice from our advertising professionals. Ready to take your sports organization to the next level with our industry-leading products? Explore our website to learn more about our custom flags, banners and sports tent products, which are all designed and manufactured by our world-renowned engineers. Whether you’re a youth sports coach, an action sports event organizer, or proud sports team owner, you’ll find everything you need to successfully market your sports organization with our team here at Extreme Canopy.Shop with us today!