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Sports Clubs: The Innovative Marketers

Well-known sports clubs today are primarily large companies. The marketing department is as important as the coaching staff. In many different ways you can market the identity of your club to inspire fans and earn money. The trends and opportunities in the areas of sponsoring and public communication can be seen especially in the major popular sports. But even athletes from niche disciplines are now using the various marketing mechanisms to find sponsors and generate additional income.

Due to the large presence in various media, many sporting disciplines have been strongly commercialized in recent years. New formats of reporting have attracted more and more public attention. Often, the sport itself has changed a lot as a result. Individual athletes have become the focus of public attention, sporting events have evolved from simple tournaments to events staged by the media, and in some cases even rules have been changed in such a way that the discipline has become more attractive to the general public.

Some sports are thus very strongly interwoven with different areas of society. Some sports clubs or individual athletes are almost omnipresent in the media. Juventus is one of these clubs, and their player Cristiano Ronaldo one of these athletes. Juventus signed CR7 in the summer of 2018 for an Italian-record fee of €100 million. This also is part of the football club’s innovative marketing strategy (changing their logo was another tactic).

Ronaldo’s presence has strongly impacted Juve on a commercial level: Their merchandising sales almost doubled during the first season and their digital follower base rose by over 50 percent. Furthermore, as one of the most marketable figures in the sports world, Ronaldo enhanced the appeal to a younger target audience and generated new deals with brands such as Budweiser and Coca-Cola. "There's more eyeballs on the club with Ronaldo," said Misha Sher, vice-president of media agency MediaCom Sport and Entertainment. "And if there's more eyeballs on the club, their ability to generate commercial revenue goes up significantly."

This example underlines the opening statement: Well-known sports clubs today are primarily large companies. Their main goal is to connect the emotions and positive attributes of the sport or of the individual sportsmen and women with their brand and their products and, in the best case, to transfer them.

Written by: Yannic Egli

Edited by: Nicola Curci

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