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The dynamics of sport marketing

Article in Marketing Intelligence & Planning · April 2016

DOI: 10.1108/MIP-07-2015-0131


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Vanessa Ratten
La Trobe University


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Marketing Intelligence & Planning
The dynamics of sport marketing: Suggestions for marketing intelligence and
Vanessa Ratten
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Vanessa Ratten , (2016),"The dynamics of sport marketing", Marketing Intelligence & Planning, Vol.
34 Iss 2 pp. 162 - 168
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The dynamics of sport marketing
Suggestions for marketing
162 intelligence and planning
Received 13 July 2015
Vanessa Ratten
Accepted 13 July 2015 La Trobe Business School, La Trobe University, Melbourne, Australia

Purpose – Sports marketing is a dynamic subject area linking academic research, marketing
practitioners and public policy planners. This special issue of Marketing Intelligence and Planning
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focusses on “The Dynamics of Sports Marketing” by including a number of articles on this topic.
The purpose of this paper is to discuss these issues by highlighting the growing area of sports
marketing, sport entrepreneurship and sport management.
Design/methodology/approach – Sports marketing contributes to the future of the global economy
because of its linkage to other industries including manufacturing, tourism, education and technology.
The role of marketing intelligence and planning for the sport sector is crucial for sport and related
organizations as a way to drive the global economy and spur growth. In sport organizations, marketing
consists of planning and forecasting for future demand.
Findings – The findings of this introduction paper to the special journal issue highlight how it is
interesting to see how sports marketing will continue to be dynamic due to its importance in building
marketing practice with theory.
Originality/value – This paper discusses the main sports marketing issues raised by the articles in
this special issue and suggest directions for future research.
Keywords Market intelligence, Market planning, Sport, Sports marketing
Paper type Viewpoint

Sport is a social product and service as it is often marketed within a community of
people (Traquattrini et al., 2015). The aim of this paper is to identify the future research
avenues for sports marketers to maximize planning and associated forecasting
strategies whilst focussing on the main issues discussed in the articles included in the
special journal issue. Sports marketers need to identify the most prominent features
that attract spectators, participants and views (Ratten, 2015). It is important to
understand how consumers identify with sport in order to market it more effectively
(Ratten, 2011a). Often consumers will have a subjective valuation of sport marketing
based on the teams they support or the athletes they identify with (Ratten and Ratten,
2011). Sport is different to other types of marketing because of the personal
identification sport has with people (Mullin, 1983). Due to individual personal
preferences and identification associated with sport, marketing can be used to have a
more intense effect in the sports context (Chalip, 1992). Some sport marketers can use
social persuasion to affirm the role of sport in society. Other sport marketers can do this
is by connecting sport marketing in a dynamic way to a person’s cultural background.
Marketing Intelligence & Planning This will enable the sport to be marketed more effectively using the linkage between
Vol. 34 No. 2, 2016
pp. 162-168
psychology and marketing (Chalip, 1992).
© Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Marketing is important in order to overcome consumer resistance and focus on the
DOI 10.1108/MIP-07-2015-0131 most appropriate communications for reaching consumers (Lazarus and Wexler, 1988).
Some consumers first become involved with certain products because of their The dynamics
association with sport (Vaughn, 1980). Due to the emotional investment people have of sport
with certain sports, marketing is a useful avenue that can have a positive impact if
conducted in the appropriate manner. Marketing can be used as a non-verbal and
verbal medium for the consumption of a product to be realistic and viable in consumer’s
viewpoint (Unger and Kernan, 1983).
The three major types of sports marketing are about interest, participation and 163
consumption (Chalip, 1992). Sport marketing to promote fan interest involves
increasing the linkage between sport products and services with fan behavior (Ratten,
2011a). This can include promoting sports teams or athletes based on consumer
behavior. Sport marketing to promote sport participation increases the visibility of
sport as a recreational activity that people can engage in a number of ways. One of the
most common ways people participate in sport is by playing, refereeing or supporting
others either physically or electronically through the use of online communicators.
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Sport marketing can be used to promote the consumption of sport related products,
services and merchandise. Sport clothing including football jerseys is a major revenue
raiser for sports organizations and is popular also as leisure wear. Other products such
as beverages and merchandise can be branded with sport logos to encourage people to
consume these products. Celebrity endorsement by athletes or clubs is another way sport
can be used to increase consumption.

Dynamic sport marketing

Sport marketing is dynamic because of its polysemic nature as it generates multiple
affective means for consumers based on spectator behavior (Chalip, 1992). Sporting
events are polysemic as they invoke multiple sources of affective behavior because
of their cultural power (Handelman, 1990). Sport marketing receives a high
degree of attention due to the involvement of consumers. People are motivated to be
involved in sport for a variety of reasons including economic, political, aesthetic,
social, community and collective (Guttman, 1986). The social psychology literature
has been used to explain the reason for the high linkage between sport and
consumer involvement because of the relationship between emotions and fan behavior.
Some people use sports as a diversion to everyday life as this can be described
as entertainment theory or “sportertainment”, which is the combination of sport
with entertainment. A useful example of this is the use of half time live performances by
musicians at sports games.
Chalip (1992) states that there are three major sources of polysemy in the sports
context: multiple narratives, embedded genres and layered symbols. Multiple
narratives involve stories that are interrelated between contemporary events and
history (Real, 1989). In sports this could include a theme song or anthem related
to a team sport (Ratten, 2011a). Embedded genres involve parallel associations related
to the same theme (Rothenbuhler, 1989). Examples of this could be linked to sports
competitions or events based on a certain theme link the World Cup (Ratten and Ratten,
2011). Layered symbols involved the ceremonies or rituals associated with an event. In
sports contexts there are a number of different layered symbols utilized from team
mascots and logos on clothing.
Sports marketing research has increased significantly over the past ten years in
conjunction with major sports events including the Olympics and World Cup growing
in terms of sponsorship and appeal to global audiences. Despite this growth our
MIP understanding of what drives successful and dynamics sports marketing is still
34,2 developing. The ideas advanced in this special journal issue are premised on the idea
that improving sports marketing practices among organizations will lead to improved
performance whether it is financial or non-financial. There is growing consensus
among sports marketing researchers around the view that improved marketing
intelligence and planning should be the goal of sports organizations. This means that
164 sports marketers should engage in activities that drive positive planning approaches to
future business activities.

Special journal issue themes

This special journal issue offers insights to marketing researchers and managers into
ways of improving organizational performance by focussing on dynamic sports
marketing. The way managers practice what is taught and researched by marketing
educators is important (Thomas, 2002). Sports marketing practices are interesting
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ways competitive performance can link into marketing intelligence and planning.
Important influencers of successful strategic marketing are a formalized planning
approach (Brooksbank et al., 2012).
In the world of professional, amateur and recreational sport, the application of
marketing intelligence and planning makes it possible to support management
decisions. Strategic marketing planning is important in sport because of its commercial
linkages (Hoye, 2006). Previous research by Ferkins et al. (2009) suggests that there is
little known about strategic planning activities of sports organizations. Brooksbank
et al. (2012) refer to strategic planning and marketing practice in the sports context as
linking strategic to marketing execution by determining the long-term direction of
a sport or related organization. Many managers in the sport and leisure sector see the
contribution that marketing makes to the success of the organization (Brooksbank
et al., 2012).
Marketing is an important and necessary strategic activity for sports
organizations concerned about their communications technology and how to focus
resources on the best markets to target. Sports’ marketing is part of marketing but
focussed more on the sports context and how sport can increase organizations
capabilities in order to influence customer value. Many organizations use sports
marketing as a way to position themselves for competitive advantage and to link
sport to a more business orientation. It can include sport being the tactical focus of
marketing communications or part of the marketing mix including sports
sponsorship and sports related promotions. The customer led planning approach
used by sports marketers can make sales to organizations by enabling an ongoing
relationship. In the rapidly changing global marketplace new sports such as action,
adventure and adrenalin sports enable organizations to use marketing as a way to
capture emerging societal trends and changes.
Prior research by Huan et al. (2008) states that formal marketing planning is the
goal of successful organizations. Some organizations do this by conducting a
situational analysis for the effective marketing plan (Aaker, 2004). This marketing
strategy supports the notion of better performing organizations paying more attention
to the complexity of situational analysis (Siu and Liu, 2005). Situational analysis
can include internal, competitive, customer and company analysis in the global
business environment (Brooksbank et al., 2012). Brooksbank (1996) suggests that
the normative approach to strategic marketing planning involves analyzing,
strategizing, implementing and controlling. In the sports marketing context,
analyzing includes defining where the organization is and where it wants to position The dynamics
itself in the future. The strategizing phase involves determining where the sports of sport
organization is in terms of its competitive rivalry and how it is going to improve its
market position. The implementing phase involves sports marketers translating
strategy into action by defining key performance indicators. The last phase named the
controlling phase involves maintaining effectiveness of the sports marketing plan over
a long time period. 165
Marketing implications
In today’s global society, marketing intelligence and planning is competing for
attention because of the increased complex myriad messages being communicated.
Consumers whether they are individuals, organizations or government bodies are
processing more sport marketing messages about products, services and
technologies. The task of sports marketers is to focus on the best ways to find out
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the appropriate strategies based on planning decisions. Sports marketing practice

can be enhanced by further research into the best ways to disseminate sports related
information. This can be done by cognitively targeting marketing messages to be
processed more through a evaluative approach than dramatic ones due to their
subjective orientation.
Sports market segmentation has increased in popularity as a strategy for
organizations to target appropriate consumers. Sport can represent more to
marketers than a game because of its linkage to history and heritage of a region.
The challenge to sports marketers is to dynamically engage with audiences using
innovative strategies. Understanding dynamic sports marketing is significant to
marketing practitioners and researchers affected by changing global contexts.
The appeal of sports marketing can be enhanced by implementing intelligent
planning activities that increase social interaction and identification. This paper
suggests that sport marketing is a dynamic process that can be understood in a
number of different contexts.

Future directions
The aim of future research is to study the correlation between sports marketing
intelligence and planning with performance. More research should be directed to
analyzing the dynamic sports marketing practices as a result of emerging
technological innovations and to compare the analysis to previous activities.
By extending dynamic sports marketing practices to other industry and
geographical areas, it will be possible to expand the academic literature in this
area. The concept of dynamic sports marketing needs revisiting in order to increase
the benefits for marketing practitioners and researchers. The role of sports
marketing and its dynamic nature to its relationship with innovation and
entrepreneurship has potentially wide appeal to marketing planners. Sports
marketing has transformed in the past decade to capture more global audiences
based on advances in mobile communications, television and sponsorship. Sports
marketing has been integrated into global culture and has evolved with society
changes based on integrated marketing communications.
Future research is needed to widen our understanding of the marketing potential
of sport and the role that marketing strategy plays in sport. Sports event marketers
need to rethink how they integrate promotional activities to capture a diverse market
segment. New synergies linking sports marketing to events such as the arts, culture
MIP and tourism holds potential. The challenge for sports marketers is to ensure that
34,2 marketing strategies are designed with dynamic interactive technologies in mind.
From a marketing perspective, it is necessary to reevaluate sports marketing to
realize the new innovative technological advances marketing communications can
provide. For example, as more consumers utilize mobile phones to watch sport events,
marketing can be tailored to individuals based on their location and demographic
166 profile. In order to achieve this, sports marketers need to consider the ways sport is
viewed and consumed to determine the ways that marketing can be better designed.
Sports marketers should study the potential of sports marketing in the increasingly
integrated technology world or internet-of-things in which individual technology
communication devices are all connected. Mechanisms that ensure the integration of
sports marketing campaigns to organizational strategies is important for future
research to investigate. A greater emphasis on the connection between sports marketing
as an entertainment role provides a good research avenue for emerging discussion about
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the role of sport marketing in societal change. This will help provide ideas for the future
best practices of sports marketers that realize the synergy between sport and culture.
Further research could seek more information from marketing managers about
innovative sports marketing practices in developing and emerging sports markets. It is
important to see how sports is changing in terms of the types played and participation
levels to see the effects marketing strategies have in practice. Advice for future sports
marketing researchers is to incorporate the news and opinions of multiple stakeholders
in the sport context. It would be beneficial to involve marketing practitioners in future
research so that a more holistic view of sports can be developed. For example, leaders
could be studied to see how they affect marketing strategies in addition to sport
managers, athletes and associated personnel. This will enable a better methodological
approach using a triangulation study to see how sports’ marketing is applied. Future
research should do this to provide feedback to marketing managers and sports leaders
to identify areas for research enquiry.
The relationship between marketing intelligence and planning has long been argued
by scholars as important for sport organizations. The stronger awareness and
knowledge about sports marketing will increase the congruity between planning and
practice. This paper has presented an argument those dynamic sports marketing is
predicated on the success of the marketing intelligence and planning activities of the
organization. These activities require sport organizations involved in sports marketing
to invest more into the right types of communication technologies.
In conclusion, this paper has focussed on the dynamic role of sports marketing in the
marketing intelligence and planning section. Advice and suggestions for future
research about dynamic sports marketing were discussed. It is anticipated that this
paper will enable debates about the role of marketing intelligence and planning in the
sports context to be more effectively addressed. This paper also provides a timely
resource for sport marketing scholars and consultants as governments around the
world place more importance on sports. It is hoped that as a result of this special
journal issue that more marketing research about sport is conducted to produce a more
positive marketing outcomes about sport practices.
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in the sport industry”, Journal of Management and Organization, Vol. 16 No. 4,
pp. 482-487.

Corresponding author
Vanessa Ratten can be contacted at:
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