Sports marketing: Adidas
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Sports marketing: Adidas
• thoughtful bullets points (10 to 15 is enough)
• If applicable – please indicate which article and page number that your bullet points refer to.
After reading the short cases provided, write some thoughtful bullets points (15 to 20 is enough) on how the topics of the three readings play out in the Adidas brand.
Bullets on how the readings apply to Adidas and broadly think through the issues and then showcase how your research shows that your team considers some of these issues or have incorporated them into the marketing.
7 ways to engage sports fans
This article explores ways to engage sports fans through opportunities presented by the inherent sociability, live TV, eSports,
Across the four big US broadcast networks alone, sports adspend reached $8.47bn in 2014-15 – 37% of total ad
revenue; sports reach consumers live, the whole year round, and hold an emotional attachment unmatched in
The live aspect creates opportunities for real time relevancy, 52% of fans will dual-screen during a match; similarly,
eSports are enjoying particular prominence in Asia: for marketers this means that sports are more portable and
Always-on technology and globalisation are broadening the appeal of sports outside their home-markets: Yahoo
livestreamed an NFL match to 15 million viewers worldwide.
42% of US fans and 46% of Spanish fans consume sports content on mobile – marketing strategies need to go beyond
match-updates toward an immersive experience of the sports world.
Data-monitoring and virtual/augmented reality open up new possibilities for immersion as apps can now track player
speeds, distances, and direction.
SPORTS at SMG
Sports fans are inherently social and constant in their consumption of, and interaction with, sports content. Hence,
sport presents a unique vehicle for engaging emotionally with consumer groups across the globe in deeper ways
than just advertising.
This article is part of a collection of articles on how to engage with fans through sports marketing. Read more.
In the content kingdom, sports rule supreme. They are, to borrow a basketball phrase, the ultimate triplethreat: live, global, and
social. The immersive nature of sports has led marketers across all business sectors to pour billions of dollars into them in a bid to
capture consumer attention. Consider these statistics: Sports accounted for $8.47 billion in ad sales across the big four US
broadcast networks alone (ABC, CBS, FOX and NBC) during the 2014-2015 season, or 37% of their total ad revenue, despite
the fact that sports represent just a fraction of their overall programming schedules. The North American sports industry currently
stands at $64 billion and is projected to reach $74 billion by 2019. The biggest driver of this growth will come from media rights,
which is already larger than sports sponsorships and merchandise figures, and is on track to surpass gate revenue for the first
time in 2018.
In addition to reaching consumers of all types, year round and live across multiple touchpoints, sports inspire an emotional
attachment in fans that is unmatched by any other form of entertainment, providing marketers with a massive opportunity to drive
business results. To unlock this value, marketers need specialised expertise, unique insights and a readiness to execute
flawlessly without boundaries and siloes.
Here are seven ways sports are increasingly providing opportunities for brands to drive connections with fans and business
1. Live viewing creates opportunities for real-time relevancy
While approximately 96% of televised sports viewing occurs live – general entertainment shows, by contrast, are watched less
than 50% live – fans are simultaneously engaging with other devices to get fantasy stats, updates and scores from other games.
Fifty-two percent of sports fans use a tablet or smartphone to access sports content while watching televised sports, while 66% of
them go online at least once per day for sports-related content. To break through the clutter, brands need ‘right-time’ content that’s
custom-designed for each screen and occasion, and sequenced appropriately for relevant storytelling.
Heineken’s #ShareTheSofa, where the brand created a live show for the second screen for Champions League football, with each
match hosted by a different famous former player, is a perfect example. Heineken leveraged data showing that most soccer fans
watch matches alone while on a second screen. The beer brand saw purchase intent rise by 7% as a result of the campaign.
Creating authentic experiences with fans can help marketers make a meaningful connection. If the overall fan experience isn’t
being enhanced, it’s just wallpaper.
2. The virtual and physical worlds collide with esports
Competitive gaming, or eSports, is a global phenomenon, with Newzoo forecasting over 335 million global eSports fans and
revenues of more than $1 billion by 2017. The huge audience has attracted numerous media companies to eSports. While
eSports has an established history of success in Asian markets such as South Korea and China, it’s also growing in Europe and
the US, thanks to popular games such as League of Legends, Dota 2 and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. Next year, Turner
Broadcasting will launch a new US-based eSports league that will include two 10-week tournaments airing across its digital
platforms, including Bleacher Report, as well as a Friday night telecast window on TBS. Brands can succeed in eSports by
building an overall strategy that aligns their investments in the physical sports world to this new virtual one, particularly as
Millennials often see these worlds as one. A case in point is Duracell’s partnership with Twitch and EA’s Madden Football to
promote its new 26-hour battery. The battery brand pitted NFL players, Twitch gamers and Madden infl uencers against each other
in a 26-hour competitive livestream where the winner was awarded a trip to the Super Bowl. The campaign resulted in 135 million
overall media impressions.
3. For fans, it’s game time 24/7
Roughly 70% of the US adult population follows sports, with fans consuming, on average, 7.7 hours per week of sports content.
‘Always on’ has replaced the traditional ‘season’ mindset for players and fans alike, with content available year round. Additionally,
72% of sports fans are most engaged by pre-game content and rituals, including participation in fantasy sports. Snapchat,
YouTube and Twitter are expanding their sports offerings, tapping into new age and gender demographics that are engaging with
sports content of all varieties when they want, where they want and how they want. Simply advertising at game time is an outdated
analogue approach in a digital world. Instead, brands can leverage data to create real-time, relevant ‘game day’ content.
4. More sports are becoming global
In the past 25 years, the English Premier League has pioneered a path to a global sports platform. Amassing 1.2 billion fans
around the world, its broadcast platform extends to 212 territories with 227,000 hours of programming per season. In 2014, 50%
of its fan base was from Asia. While the EPL has paved the way in many respects, other sports are following suit. This season,
Yahoo! became the first digital media company to livestream an NFL regular season game internationally, attracting a global
audience of more than 15 million viewers – with 33% of the viewership from outside the US – for the Jacksonville Jaguars-Buffalo
Bills game in London.
It’s a two-way street with US sports going overseas and vice versa. Rugby, Formula 1 racing, cricket and soccer have all
experienced sizeable ratings gains outside of their home markets. This underscores the need for leagues to maximise the
popularity of athletes outside of base markets. Marketers can best leverage the appeal of sports with a global-local strategy.
SPORTS at SMG will activate this approach with the NBA’s International League Pass, its multichannel video service that features
games for live or on-demand viewing in international countries.
5. All sports are mobile
It’s no secret that mobile is a vital part of daily life for even casual sports fans – 42% of US fans consume sports content via a
mobile device; in Spain, that number shoots up to 46%. It is imperative for marketers to have a connected mobile strategy that
goes beyond game updates and traditional exposure-based advertising. A great illustration of this approach is seen in Samsung’s
Galaxy 5S LeBron James app, which was created ahead of the 2014 NBA play-offs, when basketball’s most famous player and
avid social media user went dark to focus on the championship pursuit. The app aggregated stats, family updates and other
content that James would typically post to keep fans connected. Fans want an authentic connection to athletes and teams. An
engaging conversation doesn’t repeat itself, and marketers need to be prepared to sequence the story.
6. Next-Gen tech creates more immersive fan experiences
Digital data has given fans access to a huge treasure chest of ‘next-gen’ stats such as tracking athletes’ heart rate, acceleration
and impact. Last year, the NFL tested Zebra Technologies’ RFID system to track players’ speed, distance and direction travelled
during each game in real time. This season, that technology is embedded in every player’s shoulder pads, and viewers at home
can see that data come to life in the NFL 2015 app for XboxOne and Windows 10. Additionally, advancements in virtual reality
provide new immersive experiences for fans to become fully engaged with sports content like never before. Athletes have even
begun using VR as a vital training and preparation tool. Marketers that can identify and create the most compelling utility and
access for fans will win. SPORTS at SMG has been working closely with rights holders and media owners to continue testing and
advancing virtual reality – for instance, the unit partnered with NBC to test virtual reality within the first Nascar race broadcast from
Daytona this past July.
7. Sports are inherently social
Fans want to be connected, and, in fact, nearly half of all fans, and close to 60% of Millennial fans, say that sports is more about
being social than anything else. Athletes themselves are engaging directly with fans on social media, not only about sports, but
also sharing perspectives and personal stories. Brands that can weave themselves into an athlete’s real life in an authentic,
relatable way, such as the Samsung-LeBron James example mentioned, will win in the future.
However, it’s important to remember that athletes are human, and brands need to be prepared for the good and bad inherent in
these types of relationships. Brands that are successful in how they leverage and activate their relationships with athletes and their
followers are not only planning ahead, but also ready to reassess and reinvent their plans in real time with speed.
The growing sports landscape gives brands a powerful means to engage billions of fans around the world. This year will be
another major event-filled year with the Summer Olympics in Brazil, the 50th anniversary of the Super Bowl in San Francisco, and
countless regional soccer tournaments, including the UEFA European Championships in France and the Copa América
Centenario being played in the US for the first time ever.
To succeed in this increasingly complex landscape, brands must leverage these best practices to create relevant, real-time global,
social and mobile marketing strategies to maximise their investments in sports and generate a healthy return.
About the author
Dan Donnelly is EVP, managing director at Starcom MediaVest Group’s SPORTS at SMG in New York. The division covers
strategy, planning, rights negotiation and acquisition, and activation.
Read more articles on how to engage with fans through sports marketing
7 routes to more effective sports sponsorship
Create immersive mobile sports content
Fan-first sports platforms
The baseball game-changer
Go beyond logos
Data-enabled sports strategies
Matt Rogan and Sam Yardley
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