The Battle of a Marginal Sport: Rhythmic Gymnastics

After digging deeper and deeper into Marketing I was wondering why the Big 5, Soccer, Basketball,American Football, Cricket and Rugby are so much more present in media and our public life and why they seem so much more popular. There are so many other interesting sports and perhaps even more beautiful sports. With my last post about Social Branding, mainly in Soccer, I realized that other sports are often underrepresented. As I am a Rhythmic Gymnast the marketing inferiority or publicity struck me the hardest. (more…)

Social TV

Many people love going to the stadium, to watch their favorite team play. All dressed up, with a beer in their hand, flags, scarves and just enjoying the atmosphere of the game. Others prefer to rather stay at home and watch the game on their TV with popcorn and in their warm and cozy living room, without being soaked with beer during the ecstasy of a goal and ending up deaf because of the loud cheering. For the “coach-potatoes” there is a new innovation called Social TV.

What is Social TV?

James Warren describes Social TV as the “ mass online collaborative experienced that occur in real time during TV broadcasts, extending the viewing experience beyond the google box and towards interaction with the social media.”

It is nothing new following a game via Facebook or Twitter. Whether following a game via TV or Livestream doesn’t matter, anymore says Julian Gradke.

The video below is an example of Social TV during the Copa America Soccer Tournament.

According to Julian Gradke, there might be a time when Smartphones and Tablet PC’s completly replace the TV, by simply following the sport over Facebook or Twitter.

New Innovations

An example for Social TV is the Application Zeebox in the UK, presented by Blogger Martin Bryant. Zeebox combines a UK TV guide with social features. You can log in with Facebook and see what your friends are watching and when celebrities talk about a show or program on twitter. Once you tap on the show can see the cast list, the latest tweets and news about it and a chart tracking popularity.

Here the Promo Video of Zeebox:

My opinion

Social TV can be a nice possibility to follow your team and live your passion where ever you are; whether on the train, waiting for the bus etc. But personally I think I wouldn’t be to fond of it. Firstly, because everybody wouldn’t get their nose away from their smartphone or tablet PC and secondly because the relaxation of sitting on the couch and enjoying a nice game of soccer while others are running around like crazy would be lost.

Social Networks in Sport

While I was busy researching my next blog post about branding in sport I fell over so many discussions about social networks and sport, that I decided to dedicate an own post to that topic and to squeeze in a post about the impact of social networks on sports first.

I would like to refer to Alina’s Blogpost “Social Platforms and Sport” as she introduces the topic Social Networks in Sport, which is a great base for my following blogpost.

Emotionalizing the Sport is the Main Issue

According to Daniel Rehn, in his Blog sportmanager.de, the objective of Social Networks in Sport is to make the athletes and teams reachable, emotionalize and create a familiar atmosphere.

That is the main objective of Social Media; to include the fans into the daily activities of the team and make them feel like they are a part of the team.

Fans are the most important thing for every sport, so the athletes have to attract the fans and give something back to them; an insight into their life, how they train and what motivates them. But embracing themselves can also lead to scandals and of course involvement by the athletes leads to involvement by the fans, not everybody can cope with it. Staying authentic, differentiating oneself from others and staying interesting turns into a game, is said in Daniel Rehn’s post “Die Vier am Eck – Gedanken zu Social Media und Sport #16”.

So the main question, according to Andy Pawlowski, should be: “What is it that we see and hear that we can offer to others so that they connect with us and feel what we feel, even when they aren’t physically with us?”

An astonishing Example

One case really astonished me and gave an insight on how far social media are influencing sport already. According to Daniel Rehn, a mexican first league soccer team replaced the names of their players with their twitter nicknames. Another example is FC Valencia that replaced the logo of a missing sponsor with their Twitter Channel.

Continuance: Marketing in Sport

Scandal is inevitable.

What was inevitable is that the desire to win overrides any ideas of personal or corporate ethics. This need, constantly pushed on athletes, coaches and administrators clouds judgement and justifies appalling behaviors. What was inevitable is that scandalous corruption was coming to sport — because there is too much money, claims James Connor.

According to Connor, Children are plucked from the masses and selected into pathway or talent programs. They end up being coached, trained and played till they either break or make it into an elite team.

Marketing Machine

Winning a premiership guarantees further sponsorship for your team, the brand grows and more money is sucked into the system, says James Connor, and the influence of corporate control and sponsorship, where making money and exploiting your players and fans is the only option, is undeniable.

The commercial potential of sport celebrities is defined by their popular images, drawing from their achievements such as athletic ability and performance. Sponsor organizations therefore associate with the image of the celebrity in the hope that the favorable brand image of the celebrity will rub off on their image, says Ohanian.

Sport Down-Under thinks that a celebrity with multiple sponsors, and all those  sponsors speak to a different target market of those sponsors. If the celebrity manager is smart, they will select sponsors that cover varying demographics. Sport Down-Under states the example : “Guys want to be him, girls want to have him” is always better than “Guys want to be him, girls don’t know who he is.”

Scandal is inevitable

Connor believes that this drive to win, be the best and beat the opposition inevitably leads to temptation. Combine that with the corporate imperative to make a profit – the pressure becomes immense. The spirit of sport is money — gone are the ideals, claims Connor.

As soon as money enters sport we see corruption, whether it is the IOC, rugby league or Twenty20.

How do they promote themselves?

According to Mark, Blogs, SEO, Search and social networks are at the heart of Internet Marketing 2.0, and they can help you promote your business to the masses, a key trait in the world of Social and Business networking.

Lauren Drell claims that another great way to market sport are social networks such as Twitter and Facebook. The passion of the fans makes them a perfect audience for Facebook and Twitter— they crave interaction with the team and will gladly engage in  communication. Even if the fans can’t come to a game the person marketing the team should make sure that those who are left at home still feel like they’re in the crowd. There should be a constant update on what the team is doing as well as upcoming events.

My opinion

I believe that social networks are a great way to change and give a certain image to a company. They can “communicate” with certain age groups and target groups and take advantage of the passion of fans for their sport. The popularity of sport is a great stage to market products or services as millions of people watch a high class soccer game or follow their team on Facebook, twitter or on special applications on their cellphones. Athletes become brands…