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Sport Marketing

Valahian Journal of Economic Studies
Volume 7 (21)  Issue 4 2016
Contemporary Aspects of Sport Marketing
Judyta KABUS
Czestochowa University of Technology, Poland
Nowadays, sport has become a product, for which demand within the societyconsumers, is on the increase. Sport is a marketing product, which brings significant
economic benefits for persons dealing with sport directly, for the sport environment and
This work constitutes an attempt to present contemporary marketing trends
employed in sport. Special stress was put on sponsoring as the main instrument for
promotion and development of sport.
The main purpose of this work is to show how significant and important role is
played by marketing in contemporary sport. The work thesis is inevitability of marketing in
its whole complexity, within sport undertakings.
Keywords: sport management, sport marketing, sponsoring
JEL Classification: M3
Marketing is a collection of actions of an economic character, a purpose of which
is not only to achieve an economic profit, but also to fulfill the needs of a social and
psychological character, expressed by the clients. Enterprises are paying increasingly more
attention not to how much and how to manufacture, but to the fact, on what target markets
the products should be placed. Generally speaking, marketing is a certain system of
economic activity, with its aim to correlate the products, services and their price in such a
manner that they fulfill the needs of customers.
Therefore, the essence of marketing can by specified with the notion of
“communication”. Effective and efficient provision of goods and services to customers,
based on marketing strategies, requires communication with their recipients. On one hand,
an enterprise must hold the information on purchasing preferences of specific socioeconomic groups, and on the other provide them with specific data on products, which will
fulfill their expectations while purchased. From the marketing perspective, actions related
to the products cover planning and development, standardization and determination of
assortment. The scope of problems also encompasses specification of a trademark,
packaging of the goods.
Products are divided into various categories: consumption and industrial, durable
and non-durable, material and non-material. Researchers list five levels of a products,
Volume 7 (21)  Issue 4 2016
Valahian Journal of Economic Studies
based on which its quality can be influenced: basic benefit (product core, i.e. the benefit
brought to the consumer, who purchased it), appearance of the product, expected product
(i.e. what a customer expects from the product), improved product (i.e. what can it differ
with from the competition) and a potential product (the final product).
Figure 1.
Product Development
final product
of the
(Source: own work)
Sport has become a product, for which the need is continuously reported by
recipients-consumers. Economic benefits, flowing from the mass character of production
and publication, are brought to both competitors, coaches, managers, entrepreneurs,
manufacturers of sport equipment, organizers of events, companies that promote
themselves, owners of sport objects and media. The advancing commercialization of sport
causes that it is clearly hading towards fulfillment of sport fans, willing to pay for a good
sport show, with simultaneous provision of the possibility to develop and achieve success
for the sportsmen. From the marketing point of view, the product, thus the sport product,
poses a set of benefits, and its consumption gives the purchaser some satisfaction. Matthew
D. Shank defines the sport product as “material good, service or combination of those
elements, devoted to fulfillment of the needs expressed by the followers of sport events,
their participants or sponsors”. Materials goods that he mentions are e.g. sport equipment,
while the service is something not material like classes on a swimming pool.
The purpose of this work is to show how significant and important role is played
by marketing in contemporary sport. The work thesis is inevitability of marketing in its
whole complexity, within sport undertakings.
1. Marketing in sport
In sport rivalry, physical fitness, resistance and the technical skills level are of
great importance when it comes to combating rivals and achieving the best results possible.
An equally important aspect in sport is the ability to develop a proper tactic, which will
Valahian Journal of Economic Studies
Volume 7 (21)  Issue 4 2016
facilitate effective utilization of held potential and skills, and as a result it will make it
easier to win. Gathering and use of information for a proper tactical analysis is also present
in business, which is strictly connected with sport. Relationships between sport and
marketing are brought down to two marketing concepts:
1) marketing through sport,
2) marketing of sport.
Figure 2
Relationships between sport and marketing
of sport
(Source: own work)
The first approach treats the function of sport objectively - marketing activities are
carried out by companies and other organizations not necessarily related to sport. In turn,
the marketing of sport concept assumes that marketing activities are carried out by sport
organizations that are subjects of sport. They include sport associations, clubs, organizers
of sport events and the participants themselves.
Sport or a sport show is not a typical product. The features and elements that
distinguish sport from other products are: positive and happy rivalry, detachment from real
space and time, completely different regulations and rules, physical fitness and physical
training of oneself, which is why it requires some marketing strategies.
A sport show as a product has two levels: basic and extended. The elements of the
basic level are: participants (they are the ones, who create quality of the performance,
Valahian Journal of Economic Studies
Volume 7 (21)  Issue 4 2016
thanks to their skills and popularity, charisma, media attraction), achievement, equipment
(its often of crucial importance for the participants, thus for the whole show) and the place
(a sports hall or a stadium with proper standards).
The second level is posed by components, which provide additional advantages:
setting of the show (e.g. announcer, cheerleaders, music), gadgets (allow the sport fans to
mark their interest in a given sportsman or team), food or accompanying services (e.g.
A peculiar quality of a sport product, which is a sport show, is the fact that it is cocreated also by its purchasers, i.e. the fans. Its essence is the fact that is is a “public”
product, experienced in a community. The number of fans, their behavior, encouragement,
can greatly influence the show quality, not only for the recipients themselves, but also for
media and sponsors.
A significant element, which allows to identify sport products is a strong brand.
A brand in sport is especially important because sport is a domain that engages the
feelings of their recipients, attaching them strongly. What is important, sport organizations,
similarly to enterprises, can create numerous brands.
2. Sport sponsoring
Marketing utilizing sport consists in promotion of brands and products through
sport, while these are often products or brands not directly related to sport as such.
Sponsoring is believed to be the most effective tool for marketing through sport, but forms
of influence, such as advertisement and sales promotion are also important.
A basic feature of sponsoring is mutual provision of benefits. Sponsor provides the
beneficiary with specific goods, most often money or sport equipment. The role played by
the sponsored party is to provide the service agreed on beforehand, which are directly or
indirectly connected with achievement of the sponsor’s marketing objectives. A significant
feature of sponsoring is also the fact that it combines other forms of promotion advertisement, public relations and the complementary promotion. Regarding its
specificity, sponsoring enables realization of numerous objectives of enterprises that
decide to invest in this instrument of promotion.
Therefore, the companies treat sportsmen and sport objects as an advertising
surface (it is usually strictly connected with sponsoring, although not always, as a place
can be purchased for one time only), or they use sport as an element of a traditional
advertisement. In the second case, sport is a background for the product, a point of
reference and a source of connotations. Connotations with emotions, victory and success.
Sport sponsoring has become fashionable. It warms-up the sponsor’s image and guarantees
priceless access to fans, reflected in millions of zlotys. Nothing works on consumption
such as emotions, and sport is inseparably connected with a human life, it is something
natural, an analogy to real rivalry, taking place in everyday life. Great emotional load
accompanying sport shows causes that marketing has become an inseparable part of sport
A significant part of potential consumers has a positive attitude towards
sponsoring actions, believing that these actions support culture and sport, and by
appreciating contribution of companies promoting development of sport in such a manner.
It is also important that emotions triggered by a sport event improve absorption of the
Valahian Journal of Economic Studies
Volume 7 (21)  Issue 4 2016
marketing message accompanying the performance in the participating recipients (potential
partners or clients).
Therefore, drawing attention of the customer and the emotional context of the
brand presentation during the sport show causes that the objective kind of sponsoring has a
visible advantage over the traditional advertisement.
By gaining a sponsor status, a company or a product that it offers will be
associated with values that accompany sport, i.e. persistence, precision and certainty. Such
an identification developed through sport sponsoring is left in the recipients’ awareness for
Companies that use sponsoring in marketing communication, adjusting to the new
consumer culture, containing abundance of advertisements and promotions, try not to force
the attention but rather to draw it spontaneously. It is natural and acceptable in case of
sport sponsoring. This manner of promotion is also cost-effective. A condition for success
is efficient transfer of emotional associations from the sponsored field, to the sponsor, and
noticing the fact of sponsoring by the wide specter of recipients. These assets are also the
main motif for actions in this scope, among the sponsoring objectives declared by the
As the image is an important marketing argument, allowing to achieve a
competitive advantage on the market, also the amounts allocated to sponsoring are
becoming a major part of promotional budgets in Polish enterprises. Therefore, an
economic factor of sponsoring poses a significant motif for actions within the area.
Sponsoring is often the only opportunity for a sportsman to achieve professional
success. In case of disciplines that require extensible financial outlays, i.e. car rallies,
sailing, etc., only proper sponsors can make it possible to start in international competition.
Development of a sponsoring strategy should be preceded with an in-dept analysis
of an array of notions described in this report. A strategic document developed in such a
manner will pose a basis for sponsoring actions, realization of which will increase
effectiveness of image actions undertaken by an enterprise.
Sponsoring is a relatively new trend in the field of promotion. The main
determinants for sponsoring development are surfeit and negative approach of consumers
to traditional advertisement, as well as an increase in popularity and globalization of sport.
Sponsoring is based on long-standing cooperation, and it is increasingly most often applied
as a promotional instrument because it enables realization of numerous marketing
objectives of enterprises at the same time. Proper application of this tool for
communication with the market provides the sponsors with great benefits with relatively
low outlays when compared to other means of sales activation.
The basic advantages that results from sponsoring actions consist in increase in the
sponsor’s products sales and awareness of its brand, as well as improvement in the general
image of the sponsor. Sponsoring actions that are carried out in a skillful manner allow to
reach various groups of purchasers, and to transfer positive features of the sponsored
subjects to the sponsors.
Valahian Journal of Economic Studies
Volume 7 (21)  Issue 4 2016
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