Marketing in a Football World

Football is officially back! And along with the return of this outstanding sport also comes the influx of sponsored advertising to us football fans.  I won’t complain about the massive amount of Facebook ads filling my Newsfeed this offseason coaxing me to buy Patriots gear (in fact, I LOVED it), yet we’ve all endured the negative effects of brands trying to garner attention with forced online advertising.
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But now the world has evolved to a place where the consumption of football is no longer confined to a 4 quarter game viewed on TV; it’s transformed into a phenomenon that’s readily available at our fingertips, both pre-game and post-game. Social media has a huge part to play in this progression. Fans can now keep up with news, switch up their fantasy teams, stream live coverage and cheer or jeer on social media about the game all while on the go.

The big question for brands now: How to get your audiences eyes on YOU when they’d rather have their eyes on the game?

Two large media companies have already resolved this issue, and not only for themselves but also for brands seeking attention.  Google is paving the way for advertisers by building a tool that places ads alongside football-related results. The ads will run before official N.F.L. video clips that will appear in a box at the top of the page, next to scores and news items. Yahoo also made news by announcing that they will be hosting the league’s first-ever global live stream during the International Series game between the Buffalo Bills and Jacksonville Jaguars on October 25th. With a $20 million dollar investment, Yahoo is sure to be making space for advertisers.
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Another huge resource to consider, social media platforms themselves.  Both Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat have divulged future updates that will allow advertisers to push out football-related content to their audiences on the platforms.
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But beyond the aspects of advertising, where are people going to keep up with the fast-paced happenings of football?  There are so many applications now that users don’t even need to search for updates, everything is conveniently delivered to them from their ESPN or N.F.L apps.  Then there are the more niche apps like Thuuze that allow users to activate the app on multiple devices, customize for their favorite teams, stream highlights, and connect to social conversations all within one location.
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Yet even with all these applications, there is still one social channel that seems to be favored over the others in this situation: Twitter. Twitter’s real-time functionality is exactly what user’s want, and the different types of accounts to follow seem limitless. When breaking news hits, chances are it will become a trending topic on your feed.  Brands also have a chance to get in on the action thanks to Twitter’s new event targeting feature, which allows advertisers to reach audiences interested in specific events.
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At the end of the day, the real lesson for brands here is to know your audience. Know who they are, what they like, and where they are online. When it comes to engaging with them, maybe take some tips from the top N.F.L. teams themselves. My last piece of advice, don’t mess with Tom Brady.
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