There might be ups and downs in the overall scheme of things, including the revenue generated by the sports industry; but given the stiff competition from other forms of entertainment, the global sports industry continues to not only survive but thrive. This is made possible due to the continuous improvements in technology and the way that sport is being presented to the viewer. The expansion of different sports to new markets around the world and the significant interest shown by the public to view this quality content has helped improve the health of the sports industry. Social media has also played a significant part in the grand scheme of things concerning sport in the last 10 years. Sponsors are biting their fingernails in anticipation of latching onto the next hottest thing in sport. Their aim is to build new relationships with popular sports brands, players and leagues to promote their products and services to millions of people worldwide.
The growth in the revenue of the sports market worldwide has been increasing for the most part over the last decade. The total revenue of the global sports market was $46.5 billion in the year 2005 and it has increased to $90.9 billion in 2017; as seen in figure 1 on the next page. The amount of money that is being generated in the sports industry is at its peak right now. Sponsorships, gate revenues, media rights and merchandising contribute to the growth of the sports market in a big way.
The concept of social media is more important now than it has ever been before. Social media is not only being used by youngsters and adults to share their personal pictures and messages with their family and friends; but also most companies across the world as a medium to promote their brand and interact with their consumers in a systematic manner. It is a new, improved and a much faster technique of spreading the brands message and connecting with the consumer on a personal level.
Social media and its networks offer companies around the world a digitalized platform to interact effectively with its consumers and gain a significant understanding of consumer needs and interests. It has become the go-to medium of communication, promotion and various other marketing and advertising techniques for brands. Social networks like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and YouTube have become media destinations for brands to advertise their products because it reaches a huge audience. Nike, is one such sports brand that has taken marketing through social media to the next level and created an iconic image for itself in doing so; as explored later in this research.
This dissertation will demonstrate how social media has blended with sports marketing to create a win- win situation for all parties involved. The case of Nike. Inc. and its social media practices in the present age of digitalization will be analyzed with examples. The traditional forms of media like radio, print and television that are slowly being side-tracked to make way for the digital marketing tools and techniques will also discussed. The popularity of marketing through social media around the world and exclusively in India will be observed and analyzed with facts and figures.
While the concept of marketing through social media can be very interesting, it is still a fairly new and an evolving form of marketing. As much as social media is being used in sports marketing, it is still just scratching the surface and there are many opportunities and ways in which sports brands can fully exploit the power of social media. The type of content that is being shared on social media these days by sporting brands is very diverse and takes the form of videos, podcasts, pictures, articles, blogs and other informative material about the brands products and services. All this is done to reach one major goal. It is to increase the sales and generate more revenue for the entity in question; whether it be a sports club that wants to sell merchandise and match tickets, or a sports apparel brand that associates itself with different sports to connect with consumers who follow these sports, and hence use that fan following to help increase their sales accordingly.
But with the evolution of technology in the last 15 years, the consumers have huge expectations regarding how brands communicate with them. The consumers feel entitled to be provided the best service possible when they like a brand’s Facebook page or subscribe to a brand’s YouTube channel. Consumers these days are not naïve. If anything, they are smarter than they have ever been before and cannot be fooled easily.
As social media keeps gaining more steam in the marketing world, many brands are considering to completely do away with traditional marketing methods and focus only on marketing through social media strategies. Brands should not completely eliminate their usual traditional marketing strategies to make way for social media. Traditional marketing methods may be old but they are not to be completely ignored. There should exist a fine balance for managing both traditional and digital marketing efforts by brands. There are benefits to be reaped from both these marketing methods.
Marketing through social media methods must not be an alternative to traditional marketing but an extension of it. Therefore, the core research question stemming from the research problem as explained above; that can be formulated to explain the purpose of this work during this project is How can marketing through social media be an effective extension of traditional marketing for sports brands?