Why is sports marketing important to companies when building their brand?
Everybody loves sports, it's more than a game, more than a business. But why is it effective when building a brand? How can it increase the level of trust?
Is there any empirical study or case study? What's the psychology behind? What's the ratio of effectivity than non-sports marketing?
Linking Sports and brands is based on two fundamental points: the brand identity to the identity of a particular sport and passion that might raise certain sport at the hearings of the brand.
In the first case not all sports can be linked to any brand and vice versa. The mission of experts in sports marketing is to design the right marketing mix to position the "sport product" (athletes, competition, tournament, event, exhibition, etc.) that suits the brand values mitigating the risk of you can change these values along the time (eg Lance Armstrong Nike-case)
In the second case the effectiveness of passion is best explained through the concept of Lovemark. This guidance relates to the question: What builds Loyalty that goes Beyond Reason?. Lovemark has a good amount of research and case studies in which such effectiveness is evident. Case Nike, Addidas, FIFA Brazil World Cup 2014, etc, are prime examples.
Finally, the key to the effectiveness of sports marketing is the deployment of media coverage of these hearings, particularly TV and social media. Only selling these sports broadcast rights represents almost 50% of all income generated through the "sport product ." See Brazil World Cup 2014 case.
In the era of globalization, Sports are taking an alternate role as soft war. In the global arena, betting on sports are the tools of major global tendering policies. That is why Sports Marketing is as important as building the brand for the companies.
Sports has been and will always play a major role in the business industry. Not only because its been one of the best means of getting your business noticed but because everyone, whether they admit it or not, has their own favorite sports and teams they rooted in.
Besides, apart from the internet, television is also a great medium wherein everyone, male , female, old and young viewers gather around to see. Your business will surely have a greater exposure in this visual media compared to newspaper and magazine clippings.
I think Ian is right, Affinity is very important.
I have experience in sponsoring motorsports as a marketeer selling a technical product. We sponsored a car in A1 Grand Prix and later in Porsche Supercup. For B2C reasons because our brand was unknown and we just wanted to raise awareness through TV-coverage and generate a cool image with succesful drivers.
For B2B reasons because our dealers would have fun visiting the races, wearing the racing clothes, etc. But also because they would associate our product with innovative (racing) technology which helped us to tell a credible story as an innovative brand.
Sport marketing is effective because it slips under the defences of potential customers. They concentrate on the action and the message on the players' uniforms or the background acts subliminally. Furthermore, sport advertising acts on people who are relaxed and having fun.
Basically Interest. Sports have one of the highest interests of the western world. People will watch sports before any other activity. In terms of brand associatiion the company is out to align their brand with a sleected sport in order to gain more exposure and a better perception of their brand and product(s).
People will equate a brand with their favourite sport. this will generate trust in the brand regasrdless of if it is warranted or not. It is not truct built on logic but on emotion.
Sports marketing is a big branding play - lots of eyeballs watch sports (well, some of them) and some companies are willing to pay big dollars for such associations - lots of TV / cable / satellite time, in addition to stadium and other athletic memorabilia - hats, shirts, etc.
Nothing to do with trust.
In addition, it does not hurt that the executives at these companies get face time with star athletes.
Maybe the companies what to show that they care .. as it has tons of social recall value .. more for the reason that sports is one of the most neglected sectors at least in the developing countries.