Sports Marketing Explained


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Interested in working in Sports Marketing? This guide covers what is involved in sports marketing, the careers and skills in demand, and how to get started in the industry.

What is Sports Marketing?

Sports marketing promotes sports teams, events, athletes, brands, and products. It also impacts non-sports brands and products through sponsorship and advertising deals.

In broad terms, sports marketing aims to benefit, promote or drive revenue for the following:

  • Sports and Associations
  • Teams, Athletes and Products
  • Sports Participation


The Evolution of Sports Marketing

Sports marketing really began when sports events started to charge admissions and created an opportunity for profit. This was followed by companies seeing sports as a way to reach customers and link their brands with the positive association of sports and athletes.

Nowadays, big brands are synonymous with large sporting events. Each year, billions are invested in sports marketing to reach global audiences and associate brands with the excitement and passion that sports fans experience, with the goal of creating an emotional connection between the brand and consumers.

As technology advances and fan expectations for live and on-demand events evolve, there are now many more ways to watch and engage with sports. As a result, sports marketing strategies span across many channels, with organisations and brands developing new ways to connect with their audience.


Goals of Sports Marketing Strategies

Sports marketing’s role is to develop awareness, loyalty and revenue for sports organisations. The main areas of sports marketing are:

  • Promote sports-related products, services, events, or teams
  • Grow revenue for sports entities, sponsors, and related businesses
  • Increase brand awareness and recognition within target audiences
  • Fan engagement and loyalty
  • Boost sales of tickets, merchandise, and other forms of consumer spending
  • Secure sponsorship deals and media rights contracts
  • Expand the reach and influence of sports properties through various marketing channels
  • Create a connection between consumers and sports entities
  • Build mutually beneficial relationships between sports entities, sponsors, fans, and other stakeholders


A sports marketer’s strategies and techniques are applicable across most businesses. So, while sports marketing is focused on the goals above, it incorporates a wide range of marketing principles and best practices.

  • Persona & Buyer Journey
  • Brand Identity
  • Website Design
  • Marketing Strategy
  • Brand Management
  • Content Strategy
  • Event Marketing
  • Product Marketing
  • PR and Media Relations
  • Social Media Strategy


The role of sports marketing is as broad and diverse as the sports it promotes. The sports industry has a large number of roles for specialists as well as broad marketers.


The Role of Sponsorship in Sports Marketing

Sponsorship plays a significant role in generating revenue for the industry. Sports organisations need to understand the value of their brand and be able to articulate their values with messaging that resonates with existing and future sponsors.

Marketing plays a critical role in the sports business in maximising sponsorship revenue. There is a demand for professionals who can manage the sponsorship cycle at each stage and understand and articulate the brand’s values to create attractive sponsorship plans and opportunities.


Digital Marketing in Sport

Digital marketing for sports has revolutionised how organisations engage with fans and distribute content. This has created new opportunities to build revenue as well as risks. Social media means clubs, teams, and individual athletes can speak directly to fans in ways that were impossible using traditional marketing channels.

Digital marketing skills required to navigate opportunities and avoid brand risk are in demand. Marketing professionals play an important role in developing digital marketing strategies to reach the target audience.

  • Social Media Marketing
  • Content Marketing
  • Email Marketing
  • Search Engine Marketing (SEM) and Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
  • Mobile Marketing
  • Influencer Marketing
  • Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR)
  • Live Streaming and Video Content
  • Fan Engagement Platform Management
  • Data Analytics and Personalisation


PR and Media Relations

PR and media relations in sports are critical marketing roles that connect managers, athletes, and organisations with the public.

PR and media relations professionals educate and inform journalists to portray the organisation or athlete in a positive light, reinforcing brand messaging and consistency. PR also plays a vital role in managing bad publicity and limiting reputational damage.

In the sports business, media relations skills include identifying fans’ preferred media channels and using this knowledge to build relationships with suitable journalists and agencies so that the target audience sees stories and content that reinforce the brand message.


Career Opportunities in Sports Marketing

There is a growing demand for marketing professionals in the sports industry. Nearly all large organisations require professionals for the following roles, and smaller bodies partner with specialist agencies to support their sports marketing strategy

  • Marketing Manager/Director
  • Digital Marketing Specialist/Manager
  • Social Media Manager/Coordinator
  • Sponsorship Coordinator/Manager
  • Event Marketing Manager/Coordinator
  • Brand Manager
  • Public Relations (PR) Specialist/Manager
  • Market Research Analyst
  • Ticket Sales Manager/Representative
  • Athlete/Team Marketing Representative
  • Sports Agency Marketing Specialist
  • Content Creator/Producer


Getting Started in Sports Marketing

If you have a deep passion for sports, the opportunity to work in a field closely connected to your interests is a dream come true. Because sport is so popular, working in the sports industry is competitive, with many applications for each role available.

The factors that have the biggest impact on gaining a converted role in sports marketing are:


Experience: Getting experience in other industries can help develop the marketing skills and experience sports organisations are looking for.

Network: Being involved in grassroots organisations and volunteering are options available to start building a network in a sport your are care about and can help make your CV stand out

Qualifications: Relevant qualifications show you have the skills and knowledge required for the role.


Gaining all three can give you the best chance of achieving your career prospects in sports marketing.


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