Sponsoring athletes and fan groups might be the most powerful one-two punch a brand can muster. But for those products that desire to get on the field but can't afford the Manning, fan groups prove to be a worthy play.
So what does it take to be labeled a marketing bad boy? "For some brands, the bad boy image is part of their DNA -- as long as the athlete's crime does not go beyond felonious assault," says an observer.
I grew up reading the latest issues of "The Sporting News" and "SPORT," getting lost in the minutiae of "The New York Times" sports section, and watching Warner Wolf "go to the video tape." ESPN's arrival in 1979 signaled a major shift in sports media, and the early '90s ushered in the "sports jungle" and the rise of sports talk radio. But now reporters aren't the only ones who can comment on a late-inning rally, break news about a trade or evaluate draft picks.
The careful use of social tools to continue the engagement with the fans beyond the broadcast or stadium is a built-in bonus for companies marketing around a property.