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June 10, 2015
A Take on Sports Marketing
 
With the FIFA scandal involving several sports marketing agencies, it is easy to see how people can develop a negative view of the marketing industry. Many advertising and marketing professionals realize that getting into the sports sector is very tough and it's a very small niche of professionals. With the fierce competition and limited access, some view it as a challenge, while many others choose to pursue other markets.

Those who enter the sports marketing segment quickly learn how to play the game.

Let's be clear: Just because they learn, that doesn't mean they partake. If we take the FIFA scandal, for example, only a few (though large) sports marketing firms were mentioned in the report, in comparison to the total amount of sports marketing firms operating.

The sports and events marketing segments are exploding in the United States, and understandably so. The Millennials are coming of age with more spending power and smaller families, and they're spending more time involving themselves in leisure activities than other generations. Though Generation Z is still fairly young, we are seeing similar leisure preferences.

Because of our involvement with event planning, sports and teams around the area we're in, and the national organizations we're a part of, we are sent Sports Events Magazine, which actually had some pretty interesting takeaways about both the sports marketing segment and the Millennial engagement piece.

In the magazine, Jon Schmieder lists five trends to watch in the sports event industry:

1. The bid fee world is changing. Cities aren't as willing to put up hundreds of millions (or billions) of dollars to host an event. Where will the money come from?
2. Management structures are evolving. With the way cities and event teams manage events are getting de-centralized, how can brands and cities get on the same page?
3. Destination Management Organizations (DMOs) and sports commissions are taking a more active role in venue development and management.
4. Hotels and lodging facilities need to re-assess how they charge and do business. What is in it for the house? For the customer?
5. Board governance issues are popping up everywhere. From FIFA to all-volunteer groups, we need to make sure that all people governing a sports event are held accountable at a later time.

Marcia Bradford listed a few key points to attract Millennials to your sports event:
1. Use social media as outreach.
2. Enlist volunteers to help spread the message on different digital platforms.
3. Don't Alienate Older Participants.

All good ideas. Sports marketing is definitely a tough field. But using the right tools, and indulging in the right resources, you should do just fine.

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Dwayne W. Waite Jr. is partner and principal at JDW: The Charlotte Agency, a marketing and advertising shop in Charlotte, NC. He enjoys consumer behavior, economics, and football.
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