The world of sports marketing can be divided into two categories: the marketing of sports and marketing through sports. In the latter the sport, as a whole, is used as a means of delivery for other marketing ventures; such as product placement or athlete featuring. The act of marketing through sports, at this juncture, is much more robust than the act of marketing sports, although, some sporting leagues still actively market the sport as a whole.
Sports marketing companies may work directly with event arenas or sports teams to create revenue through the art of marketing. For example; every time a billboard is put up in a stadium, or an advertisement flashes across the screen there is are sports marketing firms behind the placement. For example, there are several sporting arenas that have been sponsored by companies and bear the companies name as a condition of the sponsorship. The New York Mets, Citifield is a prime example of a recently erected stadium bearing a company name. Companies, of any type, can make the decision to take part in sports sponsorship programs to get their company brand and logo associated with a team. Companies can also make the decision to actively sponsor a player, as well.
When a sports sponsorship is offered to a player sports marketing agencies often intervene to work with the player and his team of agents and managers to nail down a sponsorship deal. Players in the NBA, for example, are well known for sponsorship opportunities with equipment and sneaker companies. The sport of tennis and racquetball also have a healthy sponsorship program as their are several major brands that offer equipment related to the sport in question.
The act of marketing a sport is entirely different and is not nearly as common today as it used to be. The awareness of sports and the true passion that the American population feels for sporting events is generally perceived as marketing enough. The NFL, however, is well known for the act of marketing their sport through commercials and reminders of major games.
The Olympics in London is a solid example of a marketing of sports and marketing through sports. The games were heavily marketed through billboards, television commercials and internet advertisements. The significant sponsorship received by companies like Coca Cola, for example, is an ideal example of marketing through sports.
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