Sports marketing is more important than ever.  Passionate fans, live viewership, big personalities, and incredibly expensive marketing strategies bankrolled by the biggest brands.  With countless scripted choices easily streamed at a convenient time, “live” sports commands our attention in real-time.  You must have a huge budget to take advantage of a sporting event. 

Well, actually… That’s not true.

Here’s a thought:  Don’t rule out sports marketing just because you can’t afford expensive TV ads.

I truly believe that tomorrow’s most successful brands will optimize their budget while carving out innovative ways to grab attention with the last 20% of their spend.   Someone else will always have a bigger budget, but you can make your dollars work even harder.  Now more than ever, fortune favors the bold (and those who find ways apart from the digital algorithm’s sameness.)

Sports marketing is a game-changer.  Here are five ways to help win the game within your budget:

Be in the game, not on it.

TV ads are the most obvious way to make sports work for you (that’s being “on” the network showing the event.)  Instead, put your logo behind home plate for the game-winning home run.   Be on the boards as the hockey defender smashes someone into your brand.   Invest in being visible during a buzzer beater goal or a jaw-dropping slam dunk.  In other words, put your brand IN the game, not on it.  Even better, there is always a chance that your brand is in the right place for the big play and is streamed millions of times the next day.

Invest in the “away” games.

The team in your primary market may be too costly.   That’s OK.   Chances are, they play another team in a smaller market that is cheaper.  Take your brand on the road.  You will not only be seen by every fan of the “big” team, but you’ll also support a secondary market.   That’s a win-win. 

Go “live” where the tables are breaking.

In the NFL, Buffalo Bills fans are known to jump through folding tables in the parking lot during tailgate events. They even post the best breaks online.  There are very few places to find happy, passionate people than at a live game or match. Be a part of it.  Look into ways to set up brand events on-site, give out swag, let people try or taste your product.  Be where great memories are made and your brand will be remembered.  You don’t have to spend a fortune to do this.  

Find creative ways to integrate the “next” superstar.

Both college and pro athletes are now available for your brand.  You don’t have to pay the biggest, most expensive athletes.  Be bold in your creative approach.  How can you integrate the “next” superstar into your campaign?  What about retired players?   Having someone simply say they like your product is played out.   Be creative with how you use the athlete and fans will love your brand for it. 

Don’t just run one great play.

Doing any one of these things will help, but integrating several actions together is the difference.   Implementing a fresh new offense will score a lot more points than one play in the first half (it’ll keep defenses guessing, too).

This is just not a theory presented by The Zest Lab. These are real “live” examples. We’ve helped many brands find a way with a limited budget.  Contact us to get started.  You will not believe what you can afford. 

Put us in, Coach.  We’re ready.