In Digital Marketing, Sport Sponsorship

Sports sponsorship, marketing and social

There’s no question that the way we’re watching and engaging with sports is changing. Whilst in the past we might have been limited to physically attending a match or tournament, or listening to it on the radio or watching on the TV, now we have a seemingly endless number of platforms through which we can access both the match and the huge amount of content that is related to it.

Forbes noted the value of live-streaming for in sports sponsorship back in 2017, and noted that platforms such as Instagram Stories, Facebook Live and Snapchat were becoming increasingly important to brand’s engagement with their audiences. The site flagged Facebook’s streaming of college sports and Amazon Prime’s streaming of Thursday night NFL matches as prime examples of the success of this outlet.

Of course, smaller brands can leverage social media in their sports sponsorship campaigns too – it’s not essential to have a huge audience that needs to be relied upon to follow a live stream. Facebook Advertising is still a hugely successful platform for brands that want to target specific audiences, tap into key markets, or find success with a small budget – the platform is incredibly flexible, allowing brands to cast their nets as widely or as narrowly as they like.

This year, we’ve seen nostalgia, great use of video, and the importance of content built specifically for niche channels. Here are a few brands that have used social to great effect in their sports marketing and/or sports sponsorship campaigns recently.


Nike – We Won In It France

After France’s World Cup win this summer, Nike used French football heroes including Kylian Mbappé and Paul Pogba to tap into their audience’s feelings of nostalgia and national pride. With a Youtube video focusing on local communities, this effective piece of viral content marketing (3.5 million views and counting) showed how many of the country’s best players started out by playing football in the streets – and leveraged the idea that France as a country had helped secure the victory, too.

Here’s the video:


Wimbledon’s digital strategy

In tennis, Wimbledon’s digital strategy has engaged audiences online and in the process has created “the second-highest awareness of any sporting event in the world”, according to David Arnold at London Business School – without resorting to clickbait. A focus on content, the knowledge that sitting down in front of the TV to watch prolonged periods of tennis is becoming less common, and the leverage of mobile has changed the tennis tournament’s relationship with its audience, according to Arnold. Short snippets of related, relevant, attention-grabbing content, optimised for mobile and shared through social channels, is key here.


NBA on Snapchat

Instagram Stories might have stolen some of its audience, but Snapchat still has a strong enough brand to attract the biggest names for sports marketing campaigns – as is proved by the exclusive content that the NBA releases on it. The NBA’s Snapchat channel is stocked with content created especially for the platform, including three to five minute stories that were created for the first time during the 2017 finals. The content, featuring celebrity fans, players behind the scenes, and other Snap-friendly bits of content, is designed especially to reach a younger market – that is, the Gen Z-ers who are unlikely to be sitting down to watch a full game on TV.

Want to learn more about sports sponsorship, marketing and social? Contact RTR Sports Marketing at

If you wish to have more information about sponsorships read What is a Sponsorship Activation.


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Emanuele Venturoli
Emanuele Venturoli
A graduate in Public, Social and Political Communication from the University of Bologna, he has always been passionate about marketing, design and sport.
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