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How to Boost Your Brand Through College Sports Marketing


By collegemktgrp | August 29, 2021 | Brands/Advertisers

The sporting industry suffered a huge blow following the pandemic. As college campuses closed and social distancing measures were implemented, public sport events were also put on pause.

The dynamic situation of the pandemic brings a set of new challenges for sports advertising. Brands and advertisers have to rethink their strategies, especially since most college sporting events are still accompanied by stringent safety regulations.

While stadiums may not be packed as they used to be this fall, that doesn’t mean college students’ love for sporting events has tapered off.

College sporting events are a long-standing American tradition that attract fans in droves. From college students to their parents, alumni to local fans, sporting events are usually packed with a mix of attendees. 

College sporting events present a powerful opportunity for brands and advertisers to reach a broader audience, capture their attention, and make more conversions.

The Benefits of Advertising at College Sporting Events 

Whether you decide to sponsor an event or organize activities for on-site engagement, sports marketing can provide significant exposure for your brand. We’re talking about reaching millions of attendees who show up to cheer on their teams and participate in adjacent activities like tailgating and homecoming. 

Sporting events provide a ready market for brands and advertisers to expand their reach and win more customers. It’s essential for your brand to have a marketing strategy in place for the upcoming fall sports season. 

Discover the benefits of having a college sports marketing strategy and how your brand can reach more college students and their parents this year.

Earn Better Attention

  • Sporting activities are one of those rare moments where you can find college students in a passive mode without their hectic schedule distracting them.
  • Arm yourself with a branded freebie or an excellent deal to capture their full attention. 

Take Advantage of Herd Mentality

  • Herd mentality means the inclination to conform to group behavior in order to fit in. During college events, you can count on herd mentality to work to your advantage. 
  • When you reach out to a student with a coupon or product sample, there’s a likelihood their peers will want to try out whatever you’re offering. 
  • This can produce a ripple effect around the college as more students seek to experience your brand.

Wide Exposure

  • Sponsoring the sporting activities provides an opportunity to have your brand logo on banners, advertisements, and signage, giving you extensive exposure to the broad mix of attendees. 
  • In addition to sponsoring the event, you have a chance to conduct on-site engagement by setting up a booth and offering freebies, coupons, or discounted products/services. 

Best In-Person Sports Marketing Strategies for This fall

Like every other industry, the changes brought by the pandemic presents your brand with the chance to adjust, exercise your creative muscles, and discover new opportunities.

1. Tailgating

  • Tailgating is a tradition that isn’t losing popularity any time soon. 
  • Event-goers will always need refreshments. Add some entertainment to it, and your brand can get even more attention. 
  • Tailgating provides an excellent opportunity for on-site engagement. You can identify a high-traffic area and pitch a branded tent, offering free water, ice cream, or phone-charging ports.
  • Run contests with fun games with simple prizes like branded t-shirts or stationery. As the crowds gather to watch the competitions, you can hand them flyers with company information, discounts, and more.

2. Product Sampling

  • People love free stuff. Most consumers view product sampling as the best way to test a product or service.
  • Depending on the products/services you offer, you can give away free product samples to college students and their parents to increase brand exposure. 

3. College Brand Ambassadors

  • For maximum impact, consider appointing brand ambassadors among the students and have them champion your brand to their peers throughout the year.
  • They can also help in handing over freebies and participate in tailgating whenever there are sporting events.

How to Attract Fans to Sporting Events Through Digital Marketing Strategies

While the examples above can help you win new customers, you can achieve even more sports marketing success with pre-event preparation. 

A substantial section of the college sports fan base has turned online, opening up a new channel for brands and advertisers to capitalize on. 

By letting your audience know about the exciting offers you’ve lined up for them, you can trust them to not only show up at your booth, but to bring their peers along, too. 

Social Media Campaigns

  • Assuming you have college sports fan followers on social media, share informative posts across your social platforms about your involvement in the oncoming games and any offers up for grabs.
  • If you have already enlisted student brand ambassadors, have them re-share the posts with their followers.

Email Campaigns

  • Another effective way of prepping your followers for the oncoming deals is by sending them informative email campaigns.
  • Segment your audience so that the email goes out to the most relevant group of students, parents, and alumni.  

Real-Time Geo-Fencing Technology

  • CMG also offers real-time geofencing for your ads during a college sports game.
  • Geo-fencing allows you to use college students’ and parents’ locations to determine if, when, and how to best serve an ad.

Make the Most Out of Your College Sports Marketing Efforts

College sporting activities present a ready market for brands and advertisers. The benefits of participating in sports events — whether through sponsorship or on-site engagement — are immense. 

Beyond gaining brand awareness from event attendees, you have the chance to win their hearts through freebies, product samples, and exciting offers. 

Looking for more support to make sure your brand can make the most of this college sports season? Learn about our experiential marketing strategies for college sport events > 


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