Sunday, January 16, 2011

De-genderized sports marketing

Over the past couple decades there have been a number of sports that are leaving gender lines behind.  For example, basketball, football, golf, and figure skating are all sports that were at one time or another seen as a male sport or a female sport.  With the changing of gender roles in the sports industry it has become necessary to really exercise best practices in marketing and promotions.
This article from the Wall Street Journal about figure skating for the male fan is very interesting and is a prime example of how to reach a target without losing everyone else. In an effort to reach the male audience, figure skating is not all about flashy garments and grace anymore.  Figure skaters are now showcasing their strength and agility in order to show the masculinity in the sport.  This is an example of two of the best practices in sports marketing: narrow your target market down and find out what aspects of a sport sparks their interest.   In order to get more men interested in the Winter Olympics, Skate Canada encouraged athletes to use words like, “strength, power, speed, and risk” when describing the sport. 
It is also important to know what your organization stands for and the image you want to portray to your fan base.  In knowing the answer to this, you have an idea of the demographic you want to focus on. For example, if your organization is about fun, family friendly entertainment you will not target college-age men.  Even though the face of sports may be evolving, best practices will still go a very long way; as long as marketers are able to figure out a strategy that will keep the focus on the target while not alienating the other demographics. 

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