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Sports marketing overview and analysis

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Marketing
Wordcount: 3400 words Published: 2nd May 2017

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The project report is a study on sporst marketing as a distinct entity in the field of marketing. The reason for choosing to work on this topic was primarily because it presents a new and exciting avenue for marketers, especially in India where this field is picking up steam and promises to become big in the near future.

The report begins with a brief understanding of sport marketing. It then goes on to define sports marketing management as a concept, and the sports marketing mix with a focus on the Ps- product, price and place of marketing as applied to sports marketing. The paper

also provides insight into the dynamics of the sports industry, and understanding spectators of these sports as customers.

Sport marketing as a career option is also discussed in terms of what all is required to make a career in this field. The report concludes with a focus on the sports marketing environment in India

Chapter 1


1.1 Definition of Sports Marketing

Sports’ marketing is defined as the specific application of marketing principles and processes to not only sport products but also to the marketing of non-sports products through association with sport. In effect this statement means, that sports’ marketing encompasses all those marketing activities based upon marketing principles which process various sport products, like cricket bats in cricket, footballs in soccer, and rackets in tennis. At the same time, it also encompasses those marketing activities which market non-sports products through a stated or implied association with sport.

It also means services through an association, for example: sponsorships, events, marketing of bodies related to sports, their strategies and actions as well as the activities undertaken.

Appearances, Endorsements, Sponsorships, Licensing and Sporting Events are the five main areas in sports marketing.

Appearances: In order gain the attention of media, a company calls celebrities to make an appearance at a certain special event.

Endorsements: In order to raise the visibility of a company or its product celebrities get associated with the company for commercials.

Sponsorships: In this case companies will pay money and associate its name or logo with an entity. The entity could be an individual, tournaments, stadiums etc.

Licensing: In order to gain visibility names or logos of athletes are sold and used on products, for example, on clothing lines.

Sporting Events: Companies attach their names to the existing events or end up creating an entirely new sports event.


There are three main segments defined:

The Sport Performance Segment

The Sport Production Segment

The Sport Promotion Segment

The first segment is mainly a spectatorial product or a participation product.

The second segment generally includes products which have an influence on the performance of sport.

The third segment used for promoting the sport product, includes tools.

This model helps in showing that as target marketing applies in other forms of marketing; it also applies in a similar manner in sports marketing. Basically it is valuable in gaining knowledge as to how the traditional principles of marketing should be applied to sport marketing.

The main requirements in this context are:

Need to understand the environment in which sport competes

Need to understand the capabilities of the company

Determining the marketing objectives along with the marketing mission

1.2 Defining sport marketing management

It includes the following process:

Planning and Execution of :

Concept, Price, Promotion as well as Distribution of:

Sports Events, Ideas, Personalities and Goods & Services in order to:

Satisfy Organizational Goals and Individuals

The major stages to create efficient and effective strategies related to sports marketing are as follows:

To identify and evaluate opportunities in the marketing environment in sport

Market segmentation and targeting

Formulating and setting of objectives

Developing a sport market position

Developing a sport marketing mix strategy

Preparation of a sport marketing plan, may be a stand alone plan or integrated sponsorship, for example, for bodies and codes, personalities and events

Integrating marketing and the communication variables

Evaluating the results and controlling the performance by measuring return on investment and other means

1.3 Constituting and defining the sports marketing-mix

The main steps constitute:

Defining sport as a service product

Include the remaining three Ps of price, place and promotion

Identify how marketing mix can include address sponsorship and other aspects

Adapting the marketing communication mix. (This will help to distinguish sport marketing from any other form or application like retail marketing and the like)

1.4 The elements of the sport marketing mix

“Fans, the media and sponsors create a high-pressure environment, within which owners must make business decisions.”

1.4.1 The sport product

is defined as:

– a good

– a service

– or a combination of the above two;

which is specifically designed in order to prove advantageous either to a sport, spectators, participants or sponsor.

As a product sports is a bundle of characteristics:

The following elements demonstrate the exclusive bundling properties of sport as a product:

Competition between individuals and teams

Regulation by special rules, laws and codes of conduct

Special facilities and equipment needed

Physical skills and abilities and physical conditioning to excel

Competition spanning time and location

The core product and product extensions of sport:

The sport marketer has to most of the times be dependent and rely on controlling product extensions since he generally has very less control on the composition of the core product. Industrial product marketers have direct control in the composition of the company’s/ organization’s product mix. However this is different in the case of spectator sport marketing. For example, In team selection the coaching staff and manager play a major role, however it is the marketer who is held responsible regarding the filling of seats or in case of poor results. From any view be it spectator’s or participant’s, the sport participation quality cant be a guarantee. And this gap has to be filled in by the quality of product extension by offering a joyous experience. The offering of the extension becomes important in this case; since it would be there that the implications of customer satisfaction and service quality exist. Thus even if the quality of the core product is not upto the mark or not upto the desired expectation levels, a greater than expected level of quality of the extension offered can lead to atleast an adequate satisfaction to customers.

Sport as a service:

The sports product is consistently experiential intangible, and subjective

The basic sport product is concurrently produced and consumed

Sport is usually publicly consumed and customer satisfaction is habitually affected by social association.

Sport as a business to business product:

For both participants and spectators sport is produced as an end product for mass consumer appeal. Businesses and industries advertise in association with organizations and events with the objective of reaching to their own customers. For promotional purposes they use sports figures to endorse and represent the company related products. This ensures the consumers who are a huge fan following of the personalities to get influenced by the products. In order to entertain profitable clients the organizations purchase private boxes and tickets of certain events. Aims to get corporate sponsorship which lead to maketing actions of sporting bodies are also considered business to business marketing.

Segmentation and positioning of sport

The success of any marketing activity depends on how well it satisfies the needs of the target market, in this case sponsors or fans. There is thus a necessity to know who is using the product and why for the purposes of increasing the effectiveness of the efforts put into marketing. This calls for a need to carry out appropriate market segmentation. It is also needed to tailor and make the capabilities of the product to suit the buyers’ requirements of value. In this case a challenge to be met is overcoming the dissatisfaction caused during a losing game. This can be overcome by making the total experience a worthy one. The service aspect should be so strong that the loss is immediately forgotten. Thus the event, the stars of the event, the service provider and the image conveyed all form an important part for the overall experience to be an enlightening one.

1.4.2. Pricing

Using the traditional costing methods for pricing becomes difficult while pricing an individual sport product unit.

Price reflects value:

The price of the core sport product in itself is not that big when compared to the total cost for the consumer of the extensions which are linked to the former. It is the users who will decide whether they want to watch an event at the location of the event or they want to sit at home and enjoy the event on television. Spending a part of the disposable income on travelling, attending the event and other such related activities is totally dependent on whether the live event will hold a greater valuable experience.

Price can be presented in different forms:

A licensing fee is the price of sports clothing organization pays to the club.

A membership fee is the price to use a facility, like a gymnasium

Rental is the price paid to gain the right to use a corporate box at a sporting facility for a prescribed time period

The ticket charge is the price paid to enter a facility and watch a match.

A salary is the price paid for the services of the players and coaches

Admission is the price paid to enter a sport tournament

A sponsorship fee is the price paid to sponsor a tournament.

A league fee is the price a club team has to pay to enter and participate in a league

A bid is the price offered for an item at a sport memorabilia auction

Commission is the extra-bonus oriented price a sport marketing organization pays its sales force for their services.

Broadcast-rights fee is the price paid to televise your sport series

A consulting fee is the price a sporting body pays a sport marketing organization to design and negotiate a sponsorship package with a sponsor

An endorsement fee is the price paid to have a famous player support your organization

A franchise fee is the price an owner pays to enter a team in a professional sports league.

Price Determination:

When price determination is applied to sport the four main aspects to be considered are the following:

The consumer

Considers different factors like the success rate of a team, past experiences gained and value for money. Demographics also matter in this case. These include income, age, educational background, social factors etc.

The organization

The profit objectives of the organization and the cost structure will affect the price determination. All the indirect and operational costs need to be taken care of first. There are indirect revenue sources for sports bodies such as merchandising, food, drinks and signage. They may look at increasing the charges for memberships or other activity fees. The bodies may market themselves to their sponsors either as a safe investment or a good return on investment option.

The competitor

The marketers need to know what the competitors are offering and how have they positioned their products and services. Also it should be kept in mind that the consumer spending might get diverted by other forms like movies for entertainment purposes. Understanding the competitor offerings and the strengths and weaknesses of each player needs to be identified. The marketer can then exploit the gaps and opportunities which exist.

The external environment climate

This includes factors like economic conditions, social & political aspects, legal issues and public attitudes.

Market sensitivity:

When price changes are considered, market sensitivity needs to be surveyed. The availability of substitutes and demand to supply ratio becomes important here. Extensive research is hence required. In order to determine consumer pricing evaluation and consumer tastes it is necessary to scan the entire environment and derive conclusions.

1.4.3. Place

In order to ensure that the right product is available at the right time, at the right place and at the right time the sports goods are marketed through the same approach as consumer goods and move through intermediaries like distributors, wholesalers and retailers.

Being an intangible product or service Sports hold unique distribution characteristics which include the following:

The sport facilities:

When the facility is regarded from a ‘place perspective’, following spectator aspects are vital:

The mood-creation and atmosphere of the facility

Related services such as number of food and beverage, entry gates availability

Equipment and novelties

Convenient processes such as ticket buying

Professionalism of personnel

Facility image

Facility layout

Media coverage and distribution

The media as a distributor of sport:

The different forms and types of media such as internet, television, billboards, magazines, newspapers and radio all are intermediaries that help to deliver sport to the final customer. They distribute the sport in the form of live coverage, reviews and reports. Sport is closely followed by specific customer segments and companies use a wide variety of media vehicles to showcase their product offerings to this consumer segment.

The sport servuction system:

This model shows a few linkages between sport as an intangible product (service), the physical facility (a place variable) and the people involved in the service industry.


This model illustrates that both the sports customers, A and B who might be supporting the same team were exposed to the same marketing actions of the organizers of the event. The customers therefore are believed to have more or less similar expectations. Also they were exposed the same physical facilities and intangible services which surrounded the event. However, irrespective of a win or loss, both of them had different experiences. A win might soften B’s perceptions, however the overall satisfaction level and experience was quite different from that of A’s.

Thus we see that sport marketers at events need to measure the level of satisfaction created by every tangible and intangible ‘place’ element.

Sports Marketing as a career option

The personnel who manage the business side of sports are called sport marketers. Some of them are employed by big organizations like PepsiCo or Kingfisher to manage sponsorships or promotional campaigns of domestic as well as global events. A few others work for sports associations or leagues. There are sports agents who are responsible for negotiating endorsements and contracts. Many are responsible for organizing the entire event right from the ground work to the final event for companies. In a certain cases visitor bureaus and tourism offices hire marketers to attract teams to the cities and conduct major events. There are also researchers who conduct surveys of public, agencies, groups and sport retailers to make findings and interpret the results, thus coming up with appropriate strategies for marketing. With new kind of sports coming in and the awareness of the need for sport marketing increasing, this field has gained the attention of many companies and people who wish to pursue their career in fields related to sports in some way or the other.

Let us take a look at some of the specific duties involved in this field:

Negotiating and preparing contracts for athletes

Planning and coordinating sports events

Conducting market research and analysis

Talking with athletes and sports organizations about their needs

Overseeing the development of new merchandise and products associated with a team, player or a particular sport

Strategizing about how best to leverage sponsorship

Monitoring sports activities and new trends

Producing promotional material, including mailings and web pages

Various Areas of Specialization

Sports Marketing in the Indian Context

In India, sport marketing as a concept is catching up at a great pace. An example would be the largest golf event management company established in 1994 called Tiger Sports Marketing in the country. The exclusive rights for marketing of professional Golfers Association of India is held by this company. American Express, Air Sahara, Citibank, ITC, Hyundai, Tata Steel, DHL Worldwide, Pepsi Foods Ltd, etc are some of the main clients of the company. Golf instructions, managing events on a turnkey basis, publication activities, media and television productions, and consultancy are some of the main tasks taken care of by Tiger Sports Marketing.

Some other examples include:

Globosport- which manages the careers of upcoming tennis players in India

Collage Sports Management Company

Corporate houses like Hero Honda, UB group, Tatas, MRF are also linked to sports in some way or the other. They have many sport personalities associated with their brands.

The future of sport marketing in India looks bright, with the highest levels of professionalism, it is holding out on its own as a distinct field with myriad opportunities. Sports’ Marketing in India is still in its nascent stages and there is a huge scope for improvement in most of the sports. One of the basic needs in implementing sports’ marketing is to understand the spectators and other players involved in sports as consumers. Cricket in India is the only sport that has been able to mature sports’ marketing to suit its needs. IPL, the biggest Twenty20 tournament in the world is the right example for sports’ organizations to follow, in terms of creating brand value and sports’ marketing.

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The project has highlighted the scope of sports marketing as a distinct field of marketing, with its unique variables and functions. It has been shown that price; place and product are integral parts of this field and can be separately quantified. The project has also highlighted the sports industry model as a way of segmenting the sports industry and positioning the offering to the desired target segment. Sport marketing as a career option and the kind of work profile to be expected have also been touched upon.

Finally, sports’ marketing in the Indian context has been discussed and how this industry is shaping in our country, and what kinds of opportunities are available for the future. The project has attempted to shed light on a relatively new and largely unexplored topic in business and management circles, a field that holds a lot of promise in the coming future. It can therefore be concluded that it is possible to apply marketing constructs to sports marketing and a dedicated and differentiated marketing mix does exist for sport marketing. It is therefore suggested that this field be regarded as an application area of marketing and as such should receive greater attention in marketing theory, debate, teaching and practice.


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