11 Sports Marketing Strategies for 2020 [Infographic]

11 Sports Marketing Strategies for 2020 [Infographic]

Updated June 4, 2020

In a time when sports across the world are experiencing major upheaval, it’s even more important than every for sports leagues, teams and marketers to be innovative and cost conscious when developing sports marketing strategies to reach fans. As marketers respond to the events of 2020, including the pause of major sports leagues, truncated seasons and even the postponement of the Olympics, sports marketing strategies that keep fans engaged are crucial. Here’s what sports marketers can do in 2020 to creative positive fan experiences, even in an era of social distancing.

Sports marketing strategies for 2020

One of the most major strategies to really take flight in 2020 is text marketing. During the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, coronavirus text messages were used by brands, non profits and even government organizations to communicate efficiently and get people on board with the right message. Even major sports teams are using SMS sports marketing strategies to encourage fan interaction and improve the fan experience. If you haven’t figured it out by now, this immediate and affordable communication method is a key component to keeping your fans engaged. From regional championships to local sports teams to the national stage, SMS marketing is a way to promote the sport you love and grow your fan base.

We’ve curated a selection of examples of how people within the sports marketing industry in 2020 are using text marketing as a strategy to connect with fans. Even though you might not feel ready to put together a marketing plan with so much upheaval during 2020, knowing how you’ll adjust to all the changes and continue to connect with fans (sometimes on a reduced budget) will require creativity. It could take extra time to put together the best sports marketing plan for your current situation right now, which is why you should start to consider your marketing options now (even if your league hasn’t yet returned to play).

This infographic details some great SMS text marketing campaigns that help increase fan participation at sporting events. With SMS marketing, you can easily capitalize on this increasing popularity.

These text campaigns will definitely get you started, but don’t be afraid to think out of the box. As long as it follows CTIA compliance, no SMS campaign is too big or too small to try. After you’re done reading through this infographic, see below for sports marketing mistakes that to avoid in 2020.

SMS Marketing

Sports marketing mistakes to avoid in 2020

Even though there are clearly many ways to succeed in sports marketing using SMS in 2020, there are still some mistakes that you should be wary of. Here are eight common mistakes that sports marketers are making right now.

Mistake 1: Too much information

At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, it was clear that every marketer felt the need to inform the public how they were dealing with the coronavirus. This lead to many social media jokes about the formulaic responses marketers were texting and posting on social media. Be specific about what information you’re sending and who you’re sending it to. Fans likely will want to know how you’re dealing with COVID-19, but maybe not until you’re ready to sell tickets again or release new sports products. Issuing a template-style statement because everyone else is doing it isn’t necessarily the best way to approach sports marketing in 2020.

Mistake 2: Not being genuine

During the racial protests and tensions in June 2020, many sports brands and teams released statements talking about how they value Black lives and the protest movement. However, fans were quick to point out that these same organizations did little to advance the careers of Black employees or failed to donate to organizations even though they said they would. This is a major mistake in 2020 as it erodes trust in your message and company. Don’t tell your audience that you’re going to do something and then fail to do it. It’s important to be consistent. If you aren’t ready to take action as a company, refrain from making a statement, or make a statement that is more in line with your current values or reality.

Mistake 3: Using a template

Many sports fans in 2020 are digitally savvy and it’s quite easy for fans to compare statements across the internet. If you’re using a similar template to other companies to brand your message — whether that’s similar colors, font or wording — it’s obvious to your fans. Even though sports marketers might have an impulse to play it safe, finding a way to be original or compelling can help you build a stronger fan base that truly associates with your brand.

Mistake 4: Making it all about yourself

A huge emphasis of sports marketing strategies in 2020 is in creating ways to bring value to your fans and customers. That’s why it doesn’t work to simply announce a promotion that you have, or to simply let fans know that tickets are available to a game. What you have to do is create a way to truly bring value to the lives of your fans. For example, if you know that schools are closed in your area due to COVID-19 and parents have to teach their children at home, getting your players to lead Zoom workouts, read storybooks or teach a lesson could be a great way to continue to build a fan connection. This goes a long way in adding value and works much better than simply asking fans to buy something for you. Remember, when it comes to sports marketing in 2020, always seek to give more often than you try to get.

Sports marketing in 2020 is faced with some unique circumstances. While it might seem impossible to reach fans in a meaningful way, strong and creative sports marketing techniques are more important now than ever. In order to continue to engage fans despite the turmoil and upheaval in 2020, it’s up to sports marketers to innovate and consider how they can truly help their fans. A genuine and consistent message is key to engaging fans now and creating lifelong and enthusiastic sports fans during this time.