Sports Marketing | The evolution of relationships between brands and athletes



Athletes: A vehicle from the best sports brand

The Indian sports industry is one of the most popular and esteemed platforms for social interactions not only in India but around the world. Considering contemporary media culture, sports dignitaries are seen not only as athletes, but as social influencers, possessing ideological values ​​and cultural meanings, who best showcase the affinity of individual personalities and provoke a social influence. inclination and a desire for their personal balance in relation to sport. marketing. Sporting events capture the hearts and minds of the public and arouse many opinions. The concept of athlete branding and sports marketing has taken on a new form and is emerging as a multifunctional aspect of marketing and endorsement.

Athletes and brands share a long history which has made their relationship more important over time. Thus, athletes are a means of advertising and promoting popular brands and their products. Hardcore fans and people perceive athletes as the epitome of perfection and their idols, which in turn increases the popularity of sponsored athlete brands.

Image Source: The Branded Athlete

What is sports marketing?

Sports marketing is an art of enhancing and amplifying fan awareness and allegiance; informed values ​​and standards; and persuasive relationships for an athlete. Athletes are seen as cultural products that can be sold as brands and, for example, it allows them to build their personal brands, outside the framework of their sporting heritage. Moreover, India is home to the best of sports marketing such as Nivia, Cosco, Adidas, PUMA, Tyka and so on, which are in proficiency with the global giants. The controversial relationship between sports marketing and athletes has led to various changes in the field of sports culture. This has reinforced the importance of the associations established between athletes and people, who perceive them as their role models and this could only be made possible through the culture of branding.

It has raised the profile of the sports industry over the past decades and captured the attention of a wide audience. This in turn is also beneficial for athletes and the brands that advertise them.

Sports Marketing in India and Global Competition

India is a representative of major sports brands who partner with international brands to support and promote Indian athletes with sponsorship agreements. The Indian market is inundated with premier Indian and international brands that have a long history in the sports world. The Olympic Games are a great sporting event, which attracts the attention of several notable and recognized brands, who wish to engage and be associated with the prestigious event. Therefore, proper sponsorship deals and sports marketing strategies are essential to strengthen the existing relationship between athletes and brands.

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India is home to many large and small manufacturers of sports equipment and products. It is a lucrative business in India to produce a variety of sporting goods such as sportswear, helmets, rackets, sports shoes, balls, etc. to meet the needs of the fans and the athletes themselves. Many Indian brands have skyrocketed in their progress and are just as attractive as the international brands promoted in India like Adidas, Nike, Puma, Reebok, etc.

Adidas sports marketing strategies

It is a German multinational company which was officially registered on August 18, 1949 under the name Adidas AG, by Adolf ‘Adi’ Dassler. The company bears its name and is one of the leading sports brands in India. As early as 1989 Adidas entered into a licensing agreement with Bata and became operational in 1996 with the establishment of Adidas India Marketing Pvt. Ltd. In no time at all, Sachin Tendulkar became his brand ambassador and strengthened the brand. India has a huge growing market and the brand itself is very successful in India. It promotes and produces multiple sporting goods for different games, ranging from football, basketball, cricket, baseball, golf, tennis, kabaddi, etc.

It manufactures a variety of sportswear for aspirants and athletes. During the Indian Premier League (IPL), Adidas sponsored the majestic teams of Mumbai Indians from 2008 to 2014 and Delhi Daredevils from 2008 to 2013 and was also an accredited sponsor of the Pune Warriors in 2011 and 2012. Apart from this, Adidas supported the Indian Olympics with offering several promising offers to athletes. A recent example is where Gold Star Hima Das was offered a sponsorship deal from Adidas India. It aims to produce high quality sports products to improve athlete performance, as well as to raise awareness and uplift the sportsmanship of young people.

Sports marketing strategies by Nike

It is an American multinational corporation, equipped with the design and development, production and sales marketing of athleisure. Nike is one of the world’s largest suppliers of sports equipment such as footwear and clothing. It was launched on January 25, 1964 by Bill Bowerman and Phil Knight. The brand officially acquired its title “Nike” on May 30, 1971 and had been part of India for over a decade now thanks to its seven-year licensing agreement with Sierra Companies. It sponsors prestigious sports teams and renowned athletes around the world. Nike operates impeccably and supports Indian athletes by sponsoring them. He has been an official sponsor of the Indian cricket team since 2005 and has also sponsored the Indian soccer team. the trademark of Nike, ‘Do it’ captivates audiences and emphasizes the message of never giving up.

READ | Sports and entertainment pave the way for the digital revolution of young India

Besides these brands, Puma and Reebok have also thrived in the Indian subcontinent over the past decades and are one of the top Indian athlete sponsored brands. They are associated with many national and international sporting events around the world. Athletes are a major source of marketing and advertising for the brands mentioned above. At the same time, it is not surprising that people appreciate these international brands more than Indian brands. Brands are a product of Western globalization. And people should understand the vitality of promoting them, creating opportunities and building concrete ambitions for young people.

Promotion of the brand during the Olympic Games

Indian athletes are supported by reputable brands around the world. Their partnership empowers Indian youth and strives to bring about positive change. It is a crucial strategy to accelerate sports progress while increasing opportunities. Several brands promote sports culture. They use athletes as a tool to harness the unmatched potential of aspirants and promote their brand. For example, advertising is the main medium of sports marketing that illuminates the key aspects of a brand in relation to athletes and aims to build a strong sports nation.

However, the abilities of aspirants are underestimated by their families. Their potential remains unknown. But brand promotion offers opportunities for everyone. They use innovative ways to sponsor athletes and educate people in their best interests. Besides sports brands, Edutech companies like Byju’s and Unacademy also sponsor Indian athletes, which in turn yields positive results for both. Sponsorship deals steal the attention of a large audience. And made the event a huge success. Athletes and brands are in the spotlight.

Examples of sports marketing: the Unacademy & Sachin ad

In view of the recent Olympic Games, India has anticipated its hopes for a contingent of 228 members. Comprising 119 athletes to compete in 18 sports. Following the event, top brands supported the Indian contingent to represent Indian athletes. Puma being one of the others. He sponsored 18 Indian athletes, showcasing the country’s talent in different disciplines like hockey, table tennis, boxing, badminton, etc. Likewise, digital platforms like moj have also supported the Indian team in the Olympics. In addition, the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) has approved 11 sponsors, including Inox Group, Raymond, Amul, Nippon Paint, JSW, SRL diagnostics, MPL, etc.

In addition, Sony Pictures Sports Network was the official broadcaster of the mega event, which additionally recruited 11 sponsors. Several campaigns were launched to encourage and support the athletes during the match. Numerous news channels such as ABP news and News18 also took over from the Indian contingent at the Olympics. The hard work and dedication of all participants and their supporters brought praise to the nation.

Sports Marketing Strategies by Thumps up

Brands and athletes: the backbone of the sports industry

The world of sports is dark and fragmented without a strong relationship between brands and athletes. The Indian sports industry would not have been the same without the presence of one or the other. It has brought huge changes to the sport. Both reached the zenith from scratch. And still looking for a way to make India a strong sporting nation. Amid the pandemic, athletes haven’t given up on their hard work and neither have the brands. Moreover, they were equipped ahead of the 2020 Olympics.

The Olympics provided a platform to accelerate the growth of athletes and brands in association with each other. The strong interest of sports sponsors by brands has exceeded the levels observed during previous Olympic Games. The main objective behind the whole idea is to evolve and promote the sport across India. It is a major tool of awareness and opportunities for athletes. Nonetheless, Indian sports have progressed as aspiring youngsters are also interested in sports other than cricket. The other sports are gaining notoriety and attracting advertisers in a framework of national pride and patriotism.

READ | How to build a successful athlete brand and why should you start building one?

The ever-changing relationship between brands and athletes is the backbone of the Indian sports industry. There is a fair partnership between the two. It’s not just the superior recognition and medal prospects that brands want to be associated with. But they form the unparalleled support system of Indian athletes. They encompass a vision that goes far beyond profitability. Together they explore golden opportunities to bring laurels to the nation.

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