2020 is almost over, and the world is still trying to get a grip on the COVID-19 pandemic that broke out globally at the beginning of the year. The social engagement event calendars around the world were affected. Heck, even the Olympic Games have been postponed!
Sporting events were the first out of the gate in attempting a comeback to normalcy where live events were concerned. Music entertainment quickly followed suit. But it remains to be seen what category of live entertainment is going to set the more effective and sustainable trend for conducting events and engaging with audiences, at least until COVID-19 is no longer a deciding factor…
Our money’s on sports.
Think about it. The NFL season in USA; culminates in the most expensive TV spot in the world, the Superbowl, generates over 8 billion dollars annually. On the other hand, Summerfest; one of the biggest musical events in the world, makes only about 180 million dollars of annual revenue.
This is because the viewership for sporting events are much higher, with the major percentage of engagement taking place remotely. There were 517 million viewers for 2018’s FIFA World Cup Final. Donauinselfest in Austria drew in 3 million visitors. Compare the numbers; 517 engaged viewers over a span of 90 minutes vs. 3 million visitors across 3 days. It’s a no brainer why sporting events make so much money. Anyone trying to get a message across or build an experience, will make their best returns by investing in sports.
Enter, Sports Marketing.
In its very basic essence, sports marketing is the practice of using sporting event platforms to promote brands using the content of sports and their very experience. Marketers tie brands to different facets of the overall experience, and through the commitment of partnered brands, create an enhanced value to audiences. The milestone combined performance of J-Lo and Shakira during the 2020 Superbowl’s halftime show, was sponsored exclusively by Pepsi, and is the eighth instance that the brand has been the title sponsor of the half-time show.
In Sri Lanka, the whole angle of sports marketing is severely underplayed. Very rarely do organisers and brands collaborate towards elevating a sporting event beyond its conventional standards.
For local brands, it is virtually an untapped channel for engaging with audiences, provided that they invest in building experiential elements in to the overall offering, that resonates strongly with the sporting event itself. For organizers, it is an opportunity to maximize revenue through ticket sales, that could be marketed highlighting all the experiences and value additions on offer.
Though the current settings are not ideal for promoting live events, it is the best time to evolve as event marketers and establish a new paradigm of live event execution which can only be found in sports marketing.
With a barrage of new trends in AR and VR integration; giving fans exciting at-event immersive moments and social channels to create hype and manage fan bases, marketing can now tap into the social responsibility sentiments of audiences. Also, the exponential growth seen in the field of eSports; a direct result of COVID-19, makes it a must-capitalize-on trend considering that there is virtually zero risk involved. Even in Sri Lanka, younger audiences are fast turning to consider the attraction of eSports as a career choice.
Eventistry comes in to the whole mix as a brand and collaborator that has been continuously engaged in Event Marketing and Sports Marketing for the past several years. We truly believe that as a top tourism destination, Sri Lanka seriously needs to level up its game in making sporting events more experiential, thus catering to wider audiences (both local and global). Tying in more supplementary attractions will give sporting events a broader appeal, and as a result, make them more marketable. The specifics of sports marketing and how it could work for Sri Lanka will be something we hope to explore in upcoming blogs. Follow our social channels and stay tuned in to learn more!