Sports has an effective level of marketing to it if the popularity of American football and “soccer” are any indication. No matter the walk of life, it seems someone can enjoy these sports. But, I say “seems” because there are exceptions.
Stating the obvious: I’m familiar with nerd culture. Stating the controversial: I don’t like sports.
The term “sportsball,” if one does not know the lingo, is a term used to refer to all ball-based sports by lumping them into one cluster—marking them as a nondescript blob of little importance. And, yes, as a term it’s a little dry and a little pejorative, but sums up the way some nerds and other dorkier members of society see most sports.
They don’t understand the appeal, and I can understand the mindset since I have it.
But, this article is not a smack down of sports. Far from it. One shouldn’t fault or put down those who enjoy the exploits of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers or the Rays. That would get us nowhere. Just widen the gap.
Instead, as a person who does not like sports, I will offer advice on how, anyone, regardless if they are a television producer, local event planner, or Tampa/Clearwater citizen who would just like someone to watch sports with them, can go about marketing to someone like me.
Because like how we nerds can’t understand how someone could not like Star Wars or Doctor Who, sports fans can have that same confusion for the same reasons.
So, let’s batter up some ideas.
· Make Us Understand.
Seriously, this is the first step to marketing anything. Get the intended public to understand why they would want the product. In this case, why someone should care about sports. Try to explain the appeal, why, specifically, you like the sport. What this sport, or this team, means to you. But also, go one further. Because while you may take for granted that someone would know what a “touchdown” is, non-sports fans don’t necessarily understand any of the terminology.
And, as you can imagine, it’s hard to enjoy even watching a game when you don’t know the rules.
· Give Sports a Personal Connection.
You know what humans are hardwired to connect with? Other people. You know what holds universal appeal across all of humanity? Stories.
People love a good story.
A group of men fighting another group of men over a ball in the shape of an oval, without context, is dumb. But if suddenly one team, the underdog, comes close to victory—then drama exists. And anyone can enjoy a good human story regardless of the setting.
Just by giving the potential sports fan a clear enemy, or a group to root for, or even a single player on a team which they can connect with, will make them care—when before it was all meaningless. The same way a movie studio goes about marketing the movie’s protagonist will work with a real-life player.
· Tie It with Other Pleasant Experiences.
Just watching a game, is not enough for some people. Sure, perhaps someone with a long-standing interest in the team will remain entertained even if they are alone on a couch with some nachos.
But, we are not talking about marketing to those people. They are already in the “fan base.” You don’t have to convince them.
But you must convince the non-fan. And a party with friends, or going to a sports bar with friends, or even going to the physical game with friends, would be immensely helpful to the cause. Connect the sport to friendships, and general pleasant moments, and good food. Any piece of media (no matter how awful) is better if viewed with the right people.
Sports is no different.
Marketing through the wall of snide “sportsball” comments is not easy sometimes, but if you want more people to watch, then my three pieces of advice will help.
These things apply to all media. Applicable to all advertisements. Storytelling is a fantastic tool to having good, solid marketing.
So, if you want more sports fans, then you must go for the goal...or whatever other score systems you want to use for this metaphor.