Marketing involves a lot of activities. In its most basic sense of the word, ‘marketing’ is the business of promoting and selling products and services. If you want to work in sports marketing, you need to understand the role this action plays within the sports and entertainment industry.

Fortunately, the field of marketing offers various career possibilities. You can enjoy several paths, such as a marketing coordinator, brand supervisor, publicist, or a director of event sales and marketing.

Management is also a great choice. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, marketing managers earn a median salary of $127,560 per year. What’s more, the job outlook is growing faster than the average, with a 9 percent increase from 2014 to 2024.

The field is interesting and attracts many different kinds of people. It’s great for creatives, number crunchers, team players, and excellent communicators, just to name a few.

Let’s dive deeper into sports and entertainment marketing:

Why This Marketing Is Unique

Sports and entertainment marketing combines entertainment with traditional marketing. What makes this niche different is rather simple.

You may not be promoting and selling physical products. Athletes, entertainers, and sports teams are marketed like commodities; they’re marketable items that satisfy a want or need. They are the product.

If you work in this field, learn the 4 P’s of marketing: product, price, promotion, and place. You need to understand how to tailor messaging around your product (like a sports game, such as the Outback Bowl), what channels to place your messaging on, and what promotion strategies to use. This could include search engine, email, and social media marketing or advertising.

The unique challenge when you work in sports marketing is that you’re at the mercy of the ebbs and flow of the league.

For example, if you’re tasked with selling tickets to a regular season football game for the team you work for, you need that team to be successful. When their performance suffers and they fall to last place, fans are less likely to attend.

What the Future Looks Like

New challenges continue to arise for sports marketers, thanks to technology. With the advent of virtual reality (VR) and other ways to see sports in a new way, many fans may be less inclined to attend events.

Also, fans are using different channels and media to engage with brands and events, so it’s tough to find the right place and right time to have an impact. This calls for more engaging, interactive promotion, like clickable ads on streaming videos.

Another trend that continues to gain steam is the use of social media. In fact, MediaPost’s June 2016 report found that 87 percent of 13- to 24-year-olds use social media to regularly consume sports-related content.

Social media makes marketing campaigns focus more on snackable, short content that is sharable. It also enables live streaming, which can be impactful.

For example, Tough Mudder regularly posts live Facebook streams to demonstrate training routines and workouts. They also show sneak peeks at new obstacles and courses and even cooking demonstrations, where they feature a dietitian who answers viewers’ questions during the live session.

Examples of Successful Marketing

When you work in sports and entertainment marketing, pay attention to what tactics are working. Try to determine what strategies fit your brand and how to execute them.

Influencer marketing is becoming more popular lately, even in the sports industry. For example, the world’s most famous dog, Doug the Pug, is a successful social media influencer. His account earned a lot of attention when he visited the U.S. Women’s National Team during the SheBelieves Cup.

When he attended a Chicago Bulls game, Doug’s team posted several pictures of his experience. His tweet earned over 2,000 likes and more than 1,200 retweets. The Bulls also tweeted a welcome message to him.

In 2016, several NFL players participated in the #MyCauseMyCleats campaign. They posted pictures of customized cleats from leading brands, like Nike and Adidas, to raise awareness for charitable causes. For example, Miami Dolphins wide receiver posted a picture of his Nikes that promoted the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.  

These work because they leverage an athlete’s large following to promote something, like a charitable cause or a new training product. They can also promote upcoming sporting events and encourage fans to attend.

How to Get Into It

If you are considering a career in sports and entertainment marketing, start networking and reaching out to professionals in the field. When you speak to people who actually work in sports, you get a better sense of the day-to-day and a more personal account of common experiences.

Start conducting informational interviews to confirm you are interested. Then research schools, programs and potential employers you want to work for.

As you learn and grow, start a blog to document your journey and promote your passion and drive. This is a great way to stand out from the crowd and earn a spot in sports and entertainment marketing.

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