Sports marketing and sports sponsorship is used in a variety of ways to popularize sports at a grassroots level, promote products through their links with sports figures or teams and the advertising of sports events and leagues. Sports marketing is a big business that at the top level of professional sports can cover campaigns and policies using millions of dollars to advertise products and sports in general.
Sports marketing agencies often broker sponsorship deals between companies that are not necessarily linked to a sport and a team or association. A good example of sponsorship deals between European soccer teams and companies wanting the teams to carry their name and logo on their shirts, shorts and socks. Companies from alcoholic drinks producers to insurance companies, airlines and banks pay for the right to have their names emblazoned on the official and replica uniforms of soccer teams around the world.
The names and recognition levels of highly paid sports stars is often used by sports marketing firms in order to increase brand recognition. Individual athletes and sports stars are used to advertise products from soft drinks to personal hygiene products in television, print and online advertisements. Companies hope to cash in on the popularity of the sports stars across the media and through the fans of the teams they play for play for; these sports marketing deals are usually separate from any deal the individual sports person has with a team or association.
One of the most important parts of the business conducted by sports marketing companies includes the publicizing of a sport at grassroots level. This means that as part of a campaign usually organized by the governing body of a sport participation at youth and amateur level is encouraged for fun, recreation and fitness. These campaigns are often operated as charitable programs that do not make a profit for the sports association or team involved; the common aim of this form of marketing campaign is to encourage participation that can later equate to an increased number of elite sports people in a particular sport. A good example of this are the campaigns undertaken by the British Cycling governing body to increase participation and increase the number of cyclists available at elite level. During the 2008 and 2009 Olympic Games the Team GB cycling team have dominated the medals tables at both Games.
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