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Sports Marketing: Inside Out


My name is Jye Citizen, I am a rising junior, attending the University of California, Davis and studying Managerial Economics, with the hopes to get into the Sports Management. While attending Davis for academics, I am also a proud member of the UC Davis Men's Soccer Team with about 16 years of playing soccer and other sports under my belt, so the passion for sports has always been present throughout my life. In this piece I will introduce and expatiate on the topic of Sports Marketing: its history, its relevance, and where we see it in society today. This topic has great importance due to the fact that sports marketing can change the lives of those involved in sports, including the athletes, the coaches, and the fans. My hope is that, with this article, you as the reader are able to get a deeper look on some of the behind the scenes of sports, aiding in the decision making for your life's future. Whether you are looking for a future in Sports Marketing or were just showing a bit of interest, I hope this impacts you in some positive manor.

History of Sports Marketing

Sports Marketing is a subdivision of marketing that revolves around certain individuals and teams within sports. The main difference in sports marketing is in the fans that follow the teams, because the sole purpose of this marketing is utilizing the individual or that team in a certain way, which will galvanize their fans to buy more of a specific product. According to marketing strategist Douglas Idugboe, Sports Marketing came about first in the 1870s when Tobacco companies were using the well-known baseball players and putting them on their tobacco cards, which then would increase their sales. In the early stages of sports marketing, the main focus was the placement of products and building of credibility of each of these products or making them known better on a global scale which leads into pushing the brands more into the sports world. He continues in saying that the real major rise in sports marketing we've seen has come with the wave of televising sports all over the world. Huge sporting events that involved numerous countries, like the Olympics for example, had required mass amounts of televised exposure, and many companies, not just athletic, took advantage of this early. The big idea behind sports marketing is to link a certain brand with an individual or team and present this relationship on a huge scale to the customers, in hopes to expand the brand and its customers.

Sports Marketing in the Modern Day

In the modern day, we see these deals being made with athletes such as LeBron James and Cristiano Ronaldo with Nike and teams like FC Barcelona and their deal with the Japanese company Rakuten. These are the deals that are most times the most interesting, mostly due to what each party is receiving in the end. In the case of Lebron James, he just signed a lifetime shoe deal with Nike that is believed to be north of $1 billion and according to his agent and business partner, Maverick Carter, it is an "excellent deal". We see other Nike and Adidas athletes with great contracts on the financial aspect as well as being gifted with their own line of attire and apparel. We see this with Lionel Messi and NEMESIS cleats or Kobe Bryant with his Black Mamba basketball shoes. In return for all this, the brand expands tremendously not just within the US but all over the world, especially with the huge love of NBA Basketball in China as well as soccer's popularity across nations. Athletic brands aren't the only ones with hand in this, today we see more brands like Dr. Pepper or Frito-Lay Doritos taking advantage of these marketing tactics every day. The Super bowl is one of the most watched games in history, in 2015 it had a record of 114.4 million watchers during the game. While the Super bowl is known for football, it is also highly regarded as the home of the best commercials, which is where we see these companies and brands making their name. Budweiser, Amazon, Pringles, and Tide were just a few of the brands that decided this form of sports marketing was a great way to build up their name. They paid the television companies for commercial time, cognizant of the fact that the Super bowl would bring a lot of viewers, meaning more future consumers. In addition to taking to commercials, there are social media apps, like Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat, that allow for advertisements as well, and with social media news spreads fast so it is a viable option in spreading the brand.

Interested in a Sports Marketing future?

If you're looking to get into the Sports Marketing world, offers a great, viable list that could facilitate anyone's journey into this field. Writer Brian Clapp falls back on four solid ideas that are pivotal in working in the sports marketing world. The first is task management, meaning that you simply must be good at multi-tasking, because being in this field means that you will be dealing with many ongoing tasks. This means organization will be a great asset. The next on the list is to think Big Picture, meaning you must stay focused on the big goal, whatever it may be. For example, when pondering marketing ideas, you must ask yourself if this will sell more of whatever product it is your company or brand is selling. The following step is having a plan or vision. The sports marketing world can, at times, be hectic and overwhelming but it makes it much easier for everyone if there is a well-thought out plan that everyone can follow, allowing for everyone to stick to their tasks at hand. The final step on this list is to obtain writing skills, which is most times a lost skill in today's educational systems. In this field of work, communication through all mediums is essential, and the absence of it could be detrimental to your growth or even your relevance in the sports marketing world.

The hope is that from this article you were able to gain more information on a topic that you showed a bit of interest in being sports marketing and the business side of sports. You received background on the history of sports marketing, and picked up insight on how and where it is relevant throughout the society. Hopefully, this cleared up some thoughts you had about sports marketing or moved you in a positive direction to figuring out which direction you are headed occupation wise.

Social Media/Contact:

Instagram- _jyecitizen

Twitter- _jyecitizen

Snapchat- j_citizen10

Works Cited

1. Clapp, Brian. “Brian Clapp.” Sports Jobs Blog, Publisher Logo, 8 Aug. 2017,

2. Idugboe, Douglas. “The History of Sports and Marketing.” Smedio - Business Ideas Worth Sharing, 22 Aug. 2016,

3. “What Is Sports Marketing?” Team Sports Marketing, 12 Jan. 2017,

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