In Marketing Sportivo

We are often asked if we are an agency that provides entertainment services, what the Anglo-Saxon world very accurately calls “entertainment marketing services”.

When we are asked this question, we realise that there is still a lot of confusion about the roles and competencies of agencies when it comes to entertainment and sporting events. They are two very close and related worlds, which is confusing, but in terms of services and competences, they are actually very different. Certainly, there are points of contact and similarities in the type of work, sport is in fact considered a form of entertainment.

The differences, however, especially in terms of competence, are quite clear.

So, let’s start at the beginning and try to clarify who does what and the specific areas of work and action of both.

What exactly is an entertainment marketing agency and what does it do?

When we think of entertainment, a myriad of fun things certainly come to mind.

From music to dance, from theatre to magic shows, from comedians to celebrities, from influencers to performances that mix these and other elements; in short, everything that entertains and amuses us as consumers and clients.

This is exactly what entertainment agencies do: they create and organise events and activities that entertain a specific audience in a specific context, often creating it ad hoc.

When it comes to marketing in particular, entertainment agencies offer advice to companies that want to organise an event to entertain or engage their target audience.

Corporate events

There are two types of audience or target audience for which entertainment marketing companies organise events:

companies, and therefore corporate events, and the consumer, and therefore consumer events.

Corporate events are all those events that a company organises for its internal public, for its stakeholders, for its customers, for suppliers etc.

Some classic corporate events are for example: the annual/semestral convention, the celebration of a particular anniversary (25/30/50 years of the company), the launch or relaunch of a new product or a new line or a new brand, an important acquisition or partnership, a national or international fair and so on.

Consumer events

In the category of consumer events, you find all events through which companies and brands try to connect, engage, and entertain the end consumer.

Again, there are many occasions to organise a consumer event and they vary according to the company and the brand: the launch or relaunch of a product, a trade fair, the presentation of a new collection, the celebration of an anniversary, or simply the need to interact more directly with the consumer.

For both corporate and consumer events, entertainment marketing firms offer the company or brand a range of options to build a bespoke event using specific entertainment elements such as, for example:

musical events, performances with artists, dancers, comedians, celebrities, parties with DJs, magicians, circus performances, shows with illusionists. But also cooking experiences with celebrity chefs, experiential events where guests are actively involved in doing something.

For some large corporate events, agencies can organize live concerts with international artists in prestigious and exclusive locations. Or aerial shows with acrobats and circus performers, shows with famous comedians, gala events with exclusive guests, dance shows with DJ sets. In short, total space for full creativity.

And what about digital? How is it positioned in relation to entertainment marketing?

Entertainment digital marketing

With the growth of digital, we have also seen the growth of new figures and new modes of entertainment, and agencies have adapted and structured themselves to provide these services as well.

Just think of the increasingly strategic role of influencers and brand ambassadors. They have become real media for companies and brands, who use them for online and offline events.

Moreover, with the pandemic, agencies have become true entertainment media agencies, capable of providing services of different kind and creating both real and virtual events.

How many times have you, if you work in a company but also as a consumer, been invited to food and drink experiences, or to virtual concerts, or to meditation lessons with a famous motivator?

We can therefore summarise by saying that from the real to the virtual, when a company needs to organise an event, they should rely on an agency that provides entertainment marketing services.

The larger and more complex the events the company is planning to organise, the more likely it is to choose a top entertainment marketing agency with great experience and solid background.

What about sports marketing agencies? Don’t they also deal with events?

As I have already mentioned several times in this blog, sport is considered one of the main forms of entertainment that thrills and excites hundreds of millions of people around the world.

Sports marketing agencies, such as ours, therefore, offer advice to companies that want to use sport as a marketing and communication tool to raise brand awareness or to interact and engage their target audience more effectively and thus increase visibility and sales.

2 main differences between entertainment marketing and sports marketing

  1. The first major difference is that a sports marketing agency does not deal with the creation of events, whether they are generic events or events that have to do with sport. A sports marketing agency is a marketing consultant specialising in sport and sports sponsorship.

A company consults a sports marketing expert when they are willing to use sport as a communication tool for the company itself or for a specific brand.

  1. Another big difference is that events are often organised for a specific occasion and then the entertainment agency creates and manages the very event. When the event is over, the work is also over. Think for example of a corporate convention or a celebratory event, or a product launch. They have a specific timeline.

A sponsorship programme, on the other hand, has a longer duration; the Formula1 or MotoGP championships last approximately 9 months, and take place in various countries around the world. Football championships have a season of more than 10 months, tennis tournaments season, both ATP and WTA, lasts around 11 months, and these also take place in various countries around the world. So, sponsorship and event management and activations also have a longer duration. They must be planned, organised, and managed in a completely different way than an event on a specific date.

Are there points of contact? And if so, what are they?

There are many points of contact and among the main ones we would like to highlight 4:

  1. Both companies are involved in entertainment, which is something that excites and entertains the public and therefore allows you to communicate in a simpler and more memorable way.
  2. Sport and entertainment appeal to the passions of the target audience and therefore engage them more effectively than other communication channels.
  3. Sport and entertainment are two passions that audiences will never tire of: if you’re a football or Formula 1 fan or an Ed Sheeran or Taylor Swift fan, you’ll always be a fan. You’ll follow them on TV, at concerts, buy their albums… and any communication activity related to them you’ll notice and remember.
  4. Often there are entertainment agencies that have among their “products” also testimonials or brand ambassadors linked to the world of sport. These are usually offered to companies for presence at events, or as speakers at conventions or even as testimonials for advertising campaigns.

Can the two types of agencies interact and collaborate with each other?

Absolutely, yes. It often happens or has happened to us that a client wants to organise an event that provides specific services linked to entertainment marketing, rather than sport, and so we have asked for support or recommend a specific entertainment agency. The choice can be made according to the type of services and the location of the event; if it is Los Angeles, for example, then a Los Angeles entertainment agency will be recommended rather than another one.

If, on the other hand, a company has an interest in investing in a sports sponsorship, then the entertainment agency should recommend a sports marketing agency.

It’s a bit like going to the doctor; depending on what you have, they refer you to the right specialist. I don’t think you’d go to an orthopaedist if you had a tooth problem, would you?

So if you are a company or a brand manager and you want to invest in sports sponsorship, make sure you select and talk to the right contact person, who has the right expertise and skills.

The same applies to an entertainment event.

If this topic interests you and you would like to know more, please contact us.

Can we help you sign your best sponsorship deal?

Silvia Schweiger
Silvia Schweiger
Associate Director, Executive Marketing and Commercial at RTR Sports Marketing, a London-based sports marketing company specializing in motorsport for over 25 years.
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Differences between sports management and sports marketing