The Top 5 Plays for Sports Marketing

By: Brenda Lepenski

Sports marketing brings in millions of dollars in revenue each year. How exactly is it done? Marketing experts from Redbull, Sports Marketing Monterrey, Texas Motor Speedway, the Dallas Mavericks, March of Dimes and Huddle Productions gave HCDFW attendees some tips on strategy and practice on Nov. 19 at Mountain View College.

Here are the top five things they considered fundamental in succeeding in the sports marketing world.


From Left: Jason Hines, Javier Villalobos, Chris Yates,
Carmen Branch, Erin Finegold, Gregg Elkin, Edward Egros


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1.Create an experience

Companies can no longer just afford to buy a radio or television ad, they must also learn how to create an experience for the fan. Every element of an event helps create an impression on your consumer. Believe it or not, people don’t go to games just to watch the game. If that were true, they would stay at home rather than make the drive to the stadium. There has to be more than just the game. An experience can be anything from a fan being able to see their face on the big screen during a game or wining something at half time. If they can meet their favorite players, it’s even better.

“People don’t buy products anymore, they buy experiences.”– Javier Villalobos, Sports Marketing Monterey

2.Get to know your audience

A little empathy goes a long way. Being able to see through the eyes of your consumer is your key to success. Getting to know what your consumer likes and how they communicate will help you get their attention. If you are targeting a certain demographic, you have to know how they spend, what they eat, how they talk and how they like to be addressed.

“We really try to make sure we have a lot of ambassador families that are bilingual because these are everyday people. Like we always say, prematurity does not discriminate so you have to present every type of family. That’s one of the ways we’ve been able to reach the Hispanic Community. I want someone who looks like me who has gone through prematurity.”– Carmen Branch, March of Dimes

“Analytics are a good starting point to know that you need to speak to these consumers, but the most important thing is to go out and become one of those consumers.” – Jason Hines, Redbull

 3.Be Flexible

Let’s get one thing straight. If you’re not willing to go with the flow, you might be left behind. Part of understanding your audience is learning how they like to communicate. If you find your audience loves to Tweet, you have to become a Tweeter.  If you fans would rather watch video than read, well my friend, you’re going to have to learn how to shoot and edit video. That’s just the way it is.

‘We’ve always done it that way, that’s how we’re going to do it,’ is not going to get the job done. So if you hear something that is working for someone, be flexible.”- Gregg Elkin, Texas Motor Speedway

If [you] don’t adjust to them and adapt to what they want, [you] will lose because they’re the customer, not you . . .  Fans, consumers ,customers, really they’re your boss.   Chris Yates, Huddle Productions

4. Remember that not one size fits all

One of the most important elements in marketing is to remember that each group, each individual is unique. You can’t expect what works for one group to work for another. For example, not everything written in Spanish will translate the same way to each Hispanic group. There are different cultures, age groups, and interests that comprise the Hispanic population. You have to find out how each sector of the group communicates.  ¿Me entiendes?

“That cultural knowledge about the Hispanic market is not about translating your radio spot or your TV spot into Spanish.”– Javier Villalobos, Sports Marketing Monterey

5. Don’t be afraid to reach out

We get it. You’re a marketing genius now that you know all this information. But really, you might need some help. Don’t be afraid to reach out to people or groups who know how to communicate with your audience.

“America is a melting pot in general so you have to reach all of your fans no matter where they are, no matter what language they speak. There are different people who are fans for different reasons. If you’re trying to reach someone in China, yes, you have to speak their language. We brought in someone who speaks Mandarin and his job is to recreate our videos and content for the web into Chinese. You have to go where your fans are.”- Erin Finegold, Dallas Mavericks


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