Esports & AR: 4 Promising Sports Marketing Trends in Digital

Posted on by Rob Caliolo

From betting to esports, marketers are only just beginning to scratch the surface on sports marketing possibilities in the digital era. Today, new technologies make creating and distributing a memorable campaign more achievable than ever before. This is why a growing number of brands are shifting even more of their sports marketing budgets towards online channels and platforms.

esports sponsorships
The esports market continues to expand globally. It’s a billion-dollar industry that will have more viewers than NFL Football by 2020.

But what channels and technology are key to success? As change occurs, how can brands win over audiences through these new mediums? These questions are critical moving forward.

With that in mind, here are four key digital trends and opportunities sports marketers and advertisers need to be jumping on.

Sports Betting is a Gamechanger
Sports betting has already created ripples in sports marketing, and it’s just the beginning.

Last year the Supreme Court granted states the power to legalize sports betting, and so far, seven states, including Nevada, Montana, Delaware and New Jersey, have begun cashing in to the tune of $8 billion. This presents opportunities for all parties, including leagues, marketers, advertisers and gambling institutions, to create new revenue and fresh ways to engage with fans around the world. Fantasy league providers like FanDuel and DraftKings have already launched bookmaking services in legal states, and as more states pass betting legislation, other services will follow. If marketers and advertisers aren’t already planning to take advantage of these new opportunities, they will fall behind.



Esports are Just Getting Started
The esports market continues to expand globally. It’s a billion-dollar industry that will have more viewers than NFL Football by 2020. According to a report by Newzoo, the market will exceed $1.6 billion by 2021.

As eSports have gone mainstream, they’ve become a perfect environment for advertisers. Microtransactions are a major player here, as most competitive games are free and drive revenue through in-game purchases such as character/weapon skins or loot boxes. Some companies have already taken advantage of branding opportunities through microtransactions, and it will become a hub for top-tier brands and sports leagues to reach their target demographics in new and interesting ways.

Personalization is Key
By understanding the wants and needs of fans around the world, marketers can develop tailored experiences that result in increased engagement.

To be more dialed into the customer experience, many marketers and advertisers have already started taking advantage of new resources as well as exciting technology like AI. In 2018, it was projected that 83 percent of companies with more than 1,000 employees use or plan to invest in AI. Using AI for marketing and advertising allows for a more streamlined approach and drives personalization at scale all while providing high ROI. AI will be an important resource for the future of online advertising, and adopting the technology will be essential for marketers to remain competitive.

Stadium Experiences are Being Transformed
All sports fans enjoy going to a live game, but with such a great viewing experience at home, stadiums and arenas are doing more to bring the at-home experience to the field.

One way they’re changing the live experience is by incorporating augmented reality as a way to increase fan engagement while at the game. For example, MLB’s official app, called At Bat, allows fans to view live statistics of players on the field. Aside from leagues, individual sports venues and teams are also looking to be involved, as many have technology in place to innovate the fan experience, like using JumboTrons to interact with fans during commercial breaks or in-stadium activities to win prizes.

Marketers and advertisers have opportunities to win big on these new technologies, and they should be taking notice if they haven’t already.
Rob Caliolo is vp of Product at interactive content and gaming biz Arkadium. He can be reached at rob.caliolo@arkadium.com.

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