Sports marketers dive into AI, mobile-first, off-season engagement and more
Between sessions of the Clio Awards State of Play: Clio Sports Marketing Summit 2023, leaders in the sports arena were abuzz on topics ranging from AI to early mobile experiences. Here we collect some of their thoughts and ideas.
MUSE: What do you think are the most notable trends in sports marketing right now?
“The lines are crossing more than ever between advertising and entertainment. I think that’s what people are trying to do, to get to a place where you lose track. Is it from a brand? Is it from ESPN? Is it from a team? It doesn’t really matter anymore.” — Danilo Boer, Global Creative Partner, FCB Global
“I think women’s sport is a trend for some people right now, and I don’t think it should be a trend. Women’s sport should be a permanent part of our society. I recognize that there are more brands who spend money on women in sport, which I think is great. But I hope it’s sustainable. I hope it’s authentic.” — Shana Stephenson, Brand Director, New York Liberty
“I think it’s just fun and really connecting with the consumers, the fanbase, making sure it’s something they actually enjoy. What we’re making for sports, teams and leagues, it’s all about the fans, not the industry.” — Chris Bellinger, vice president of creative and digital at PepsiCo Foods North America
“Marketers look at what the culture tells them, especially region by region. That’s the best way to appeal to your fan base. For example, we’re in Washington, D.C. So we’re tapping into the culture of Washington. This can include things like music culture, go-go music. Go-go is a cross between hip-hop and house music. It’s synonymous with Washington, DC and the DMV [District of Columbia, Maryland, Virginia] area. So that’s something we try to evoke with what we do.” — Stevland Wilson, VP of Post-Production and Creative Services, Monumental Sports & Entertainment
“Everything has to feel premium. Going to a sporting event costs money. It’s a big deal for people to go out, and I think you have to feel that level of polish for everything – the game, the screens, just the experience of walking in [a stadium or arena].” — Stefan Woronko, Senior Creative Director, Nice Shoes
Are mobile-first experiences essential for reaching sports fans today?
“Yes and no. For the past few years since I moved to Brooklyn [the New York Liberty play at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center], it’s really a priority for me to attract a younger fan base. We have succeeded. We are seeing significant growth in our social media platforms. But we recognize that there are fans who have been with us for 27 seasons and still have flip phones. And this is the reality. So we’re trying to find ways to continue to grow, evolve and connect with a younger fan base, but also stay in touch with those who have been with us since the very beginning.” – Shana Stephenson, Brand Chief Officer, New York Liberty
“If you’re not thinking about mobile as part of the experience, then you’re not thinking about it properly. Even if they’re watching in linear media, like on TV in a bar, they’re all on phones. So the conversation is about how to do that holistically and create an experience that deepens fan engagement?” — Jason Campbell, Creative Director of Translation/UnitedMasters
“We always have 360 extensions that are mobile-first. With the content we create, we want to make sure it looks great on small screens as well as large screens.” — Chris Bellinger, Vice President of Creative and Digital at PepsiCo Foods North America
What do you think of the impact of AI on sports marketing?
“As a designer, I need to figure out how I can use these tools to improve my work, or maybe take care of something so I can focus on something else, but in a way that I’m in control. on the image.” — Stefan Woronko, Senior Creative Director, Nice Shoes
“We’re thinking about how AI is going to affect the creative process and therefore the storytelling of athletes or brands. So we explored that idea and tried to figure out what’s going to happen and how we can use it as a tool rather than being afraid of what it can do.” — Jason Campbell, Creative Director, Translation/UnitedMasters
“I see value in it if you’re thinking of a new concept, or if you need a name for a web series, or something like that. But AI really scares me. It worries me that humans are replaced. I see value in But I worry about the impact it might have on employment in general. — Shana Stephenson, Chief Brand Officer, New York Liberty
“I see him as an amazing tool. We used him for ‘McEnroe vs. McEnroe’, [the tennis match in which today’s John McEnroe played past versions of himself]. You just have to learn to use it.” — Danilo Boer, Global Creative Partner, FCB Global