Sporting events are lucrative opportunities for marketers to get their brands in front of a mass audience. Marketing during big events, though, has been evolving quickly and often comes with a high price tag. Marketers can make effective use of their promotion budget and engage consumers in unique ways if they are aware of the unique dynamics of marketing their brand during these events.


Sports marketing focuses on promoting a product, service or brand by aligning it with a sporting event or sports team. The element promoted can be a physical product or a brand name. Major sporting events include occasions such as The Olympic Games, FIFA World Cup or The Super Bowl.

Key Insights

1. Major sporting events are attracting record levels of sponsorship investment

Advertiser spend on sports sponsorship is expected to rise 5% in 2020 to reach more than $48bn worldwide – the strongest growth in a decade and ahead of growth projections for all traditional media. This recent market growth has been buoyed by record investment ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, which is expected to garner $5.94bn in sponsorship revenue during the current Olympic cycle – almost double the previous one. This is driven by increased spending from both worldwide Olympic partners such as Coca-Cola and Procter & Gamble and domestic sponsors, which will include Canon, Asahi and Fujitsu. However, the Tokyo Olympics is not the only driver. US domestic sponsorships in the National Football League (NFL), National Basketball Association (NBA) and Major League Baseball (MLB) are growing in value, as are sponsorship investments in football in Europe. Asian investment has been lifted by the upcoming Olympics, Chinese brands’ association with the 2018 FIFA World Cup, the PyeongChang Winter Olympics, the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan and, in India, IPL cricket sponsorships.