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Sports Marketing FTW!

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!

He has coached three Olympians, Barry Cowan (Sydney 2000) with Liam Broady and Marcus Daniell involved in Tokyo 2021 where Marcus made history with Mike Venus, winning bronze, New Zealand’s first ever tennis medal. Apart from success in tennis on the ATP/WTA tours, he coaches mindset to private clients including international cricketers, a pro golfer who recently won her first European Tour title, several college athletes and is a consultant who has worked with the likes of Chelsea and Fulham Football Clubs. He has a best selling book Locker Room Power and a successful online program called Mindset College. A graduate of the Berkeley Executive Coaches Institute (BECI) as well as earning a European Mentoring (EMCC) diploma. He illustrates that whilst his coaching is based firmly in applied psychology, sound theory sits behind his knowledge.
The romanticism in Ankush is primarily sparked by anything to do with sports. Far from being a dreamy kind of impulse, it is a burning desire to get sports events underway with maximum efficiency, providing athletes a setting to perform without limitations and for fans, an event worth their while. For over 15 years, Ankush has been at the forefront of India’s sporting setup, engaging with world-class franchises such as the Indian Premier League, Indian Super League, Star Sports Premier Badminton League and Star Sports Pro Kabaddi League as a proven specialist in Tournament Direction and Event Operations Management. More recently, he was also involved in the Lanka Premier League as Head of Operations and Marketing. Ankush joins the ranks at Eventistry Sports in bringing his ‘A-Game’ to Sri Lankan sports arenas. Based on his extensive track record, the local industry is undoubtedly going to benefit from a much needed international-level approach to sports marketing. Ankush himself is excited at the prospect of working with the massive potential Sri Lanka has in becoming a sports tourism destination. Through his collaboration with Eventistry Sports, Ankush believes a new paradigm for sports and branded events is inevitable and that ground zero when it all happens, will be right here in paradise isle.
Ishara is in his element when the need of the hour is content for channels or channels to drive content. This ability of being able to manage superhuman volumes of communication streams makes him a critical asset in Eventistry Sports’ evolved angle for modern sports marketing, where the effective use of tech will determine the achievement of set objectives. Not much for engaging in physical sports, Ishara is an extreme e-sports fan showing deadly competence on Call of Duty. He does however, love cricket and derives a sense of pride from the Sri Lankan team’s exploits on the field, focusing on it as an effective touchpoint for driving audience engagement on social media. Since joining Eventistry Sports, Ishara has steadily gained an understanding on the dynamics of sporting events and their marketing aspect. To date, he has many projects under his belt, for which he has exclusively managed the marketing and digital media execution, as well as more specific deliverables such as setting up of media services, live-streaming events and real-time content generation. As is to be expected, Ishara’s vision for sports marketing involves the integration of tech and using its capabilities of connectivity and engaging content delivery to create unforgettable experiences for fans both on and off-ground, while simultaneously enhancing the reach brands have with their audiences.
Rebellious in attitude and proven exceptionally capable through a string of global brand communication experiences, Karin brings her innate understanding of the interplay between sports and sporting fans to create campaigns of heightened appeal. Her grounding in sports comes from early childhood itself, when she took on the demanding yet exhilarating training regimes of ballet, before subsequently also engaging in competitive swimming and tennis at a later age. As a fan, a variety of sports capture her passionate interest; from F1 (favourite team being Red Bull), ice skating and gymnastics (for their display of strength and artistry) and Baseball (Dodgers FTW!). Lately though, through her time in Eventistry Sports, Karin has also become a devout follower of Rugby and Cricket. Being so athletically inclined, Karin knows exactly what kind of setting makes for a great sporting event, one that delivers on fan expectations while inspiring athletes and teams to perform at their best. A visceral and innovative thinker, she sees opportunities for their holistic value and gets about constructing platforms that allow sporting talents to shine. As a result, every event becomes a value-driven engagement where brands and fans have much to gain from. Karin believes from her core that the world of sports has much untapped potential and that Eventistry Sports would be there at the forefront to take on the challenge of expanding the boundaries sports, enabling both athletes and brands to grow within its sphere.
A firebrand by nature, Ifham has always been ahead of the curve with his outlook for sports in Sri Lanka, so much so that in founding Eventistry Sports, he was also establishing the country’s first and only dedicated sports marketing agency. The realm of sports and what it represents has been captivating, driving and inspiring Ifham throughout his life, across many milestones. As a school-going athlete, he was constantly engaged in playing multiple sports with basketball, rugby and cricket taking centre-focus. And, when he wasn’t playing, he would be following cricket, football and of course, F1 racing with frenzied interest, passionate fandoms that if at all, have intensified with time. As far as professional experience goes, Ifham has built himself a solid repertoire starting with his extensive accomplishments at Red Bull (including setting up Red Bull’s global cricket asset – Red Bull Campus Cricket), to promoting sporting events in collaboration with Sri Lanka Tourism and now, providing leadership to every single project Eventistry Sports takes on. With the continued success of his companies Eventistry and The Quest Ltd., Ifham displays a good head for business, always ensuring that the numbers are met in delivering optimal outcomes for collaborating brands and sporting teams. Competitiveness, survival and strategic victories, closely held values all drawn from sporting discipline, make Ifham a true catalyst for the evolution of the sports medium in Sri Lanka. Ifham’s vision for sports marketing is ambitious. He believes it to be the driver for raising the country’s sports industry to a professional level that is on par with global standards, where athletes can have sustained careers both on and off-field. Achieving this however, require brands and corporates to also believe in the potential of sports as a compelling platform for driving awareness and connecting on an emotional scale with audiences. With attended events making a comeback and sporting interests diversifying, the scope is finally opening up to take sports marketing several notches higher. In short, Ifham’s mission has now kicked into high gear.