How Marketers Can Take Advantage Of The New Sporting Landscape

Despite vast changes to the advertising landscape over the past 20 years, the world of sports marketing has remained remarkably consistent. The Super Bowl, as recently demonstrated, remains the premier ad event of the year and broadcast and reach media form the backbone of the industry.

Yet thanks to a spate of new technologies, new money and even some new sports, 2024 promises to be a year of disruption. All of which means new opportunities for marketers.

New sports, new audiences

In case you missed it, breakdancing, officially known as “breaking,” is now a sport and set to make its Olympics debut at this summer’s Paris Games.

For organizers, the math has been simple. Not only does breaking appeal to younger viewers, many of the competitors are also prolific content creators with significant social followings. The athletes benefit from the wider exposure the Olympics provides and the Olympics draws in a new crop of fans.



It's a fertile field for marketers as well, offering a compelling avenue for reaching new, non-traditional sporting audiences. This could mean featuring emerging sports like breaking in their creative assets, building content narratives in partnership with new stars or hosting breaking-themed TikTok challenges.

Tech integrations provide new marketing opportunities

Technology has always played an important role in enhancing the sports viewing experience, from the decades-old football telestrator to cameras that record the speed and movement of every baseball pitch.

AR and AI are now unlocking a new world of capability, enabling marketers to create even more vivid experiences. For instance, a beverage brand could create virtual water coolers fans see on the sidelines when they point their phones at the screen. Tap the cooler and a deal pops up. A fitness brand could create a stats overlay, showing live metrics for each of the players.

And AR headsets like the Apple Vision Pro could revolutionize the replay experience while offering a unique branding opportunity. Instead of simply watching a LeBron dunk or a Messi goal, consumers could relive the moment from the first-person perspective of the actual player.

Finding opportunity in league-created content

For most sports, the games themselves represent only one aspect of the overall experience. There are the athletes’ social feeds, fantasy sports leagues and a vast sports-commentary apparatus.

The leagues have followed suit, going beyond live broadcasts and replays to deliver a greater range of content while offering marketers more options beyond simply buying ads.

For example, an automaker could partner with a league to build a social series where athletes talk about their first cars. Or a health brand could incorporate the training regimens of a league’s top athletes within an interactive app.

New money breaks up the status quo

In 2023 alone, Saudi Arabia spent nearly a $1 billion to lure 94 soccer players to its Saudi Pro League and another $2 billion developing LIV Golf, a challenger to (and now partner of) the PGA golf tour. Qatar and the UAE have also poured money into the space, bringing boxing title fights, F1 races and tennis competitions into the region.

With events and control shifting to these new locales, the marketing dialogue is also changing. For brands, this means realigning media spend to boost investment across these burgeoning sports hubs as well as refining their creative strategies, taking the cultural nuances of the region into account to connect with this newest generation of fans.

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