Using sport as a hook for your sales promotion is one of the most powerful ways to engage with consumers and drive mass participation – often on a global scale.

Of all the hundreds of promotions we manage each year, sports-related promotions out-perform all of them hands down, generally redeeming 60% higher than their non-sports counterparts when run alongside a really popular sport/tournament.

With so much sporting excitement ahead… the Rugby World Cup, European Championships, The Ashes and Olympics 2020 to name a few, there’s never been a better time to weave a bit of sporting action into your marketing activity.

5 essential tips for engaging sports promotions in 2019/2020

With younger audiences – GenZ and the Millennials – wanting to be entertained with endless content, the trick for running a successful sports promotion in 2019, is to offer a wide variety of engagement opportunities.

Here’s some of the top ways to engage and entertain…


1. Create ‘playability’ – connect fans closer to the game

Too often you’ll find a sports promotion engages with its audience in a one-off hit. But to really maximise your partnership with a particular sport, the key is to design a promotional mechanic that provides continued engagement through a whole World Cup, World Series, Olympics or season.

What works really well is to incorporate direct links between the prize structure and the progression of the scores/games in a fun and innovative way. Some fantastic examples of this are…

Cadbury – Match and Win. Read more…

Sure for Men – World Cup Last 8. Read more…


2. Slam dunk your brand into the winning moment

You know “that moment” when a team (or individual) you’re supporting scores the final winning goal? It’s pure elation right? So putting your brand at the centre of that moment really helps cultivate a deep and positive relationship with fans.

How can a promotion achieve that? It is a strategy that Taco Bell have had huge success with in America, by teaming up with the NBA and offering the whole country free tacos when a team wins. A grand gesture like this is sure to hit the press, so media coverage can be immense. Although it sounds expensive, it’s really not! With the financial risk correctly covered, it costs a lot less than you’d think! And here’s how you do it…

Budweiser offered the nation free beer if England won the World Cup. Read more…

Taco Bell offered free tacos should Golden State Warriors win their basketball game. Read more…


3. Bust some social media #RealTime

To really feed the younger audience’s appetite for engaging content, using social media as the central platform for your promotion is a fantastic way to drive a 2-way dialogue with fans and base your promotion on sports occurrences in real-time.

BT Sport ran #GoalsRecreated across social media channels featuring video content of fans attempting recreate famous goals. It achieved more than 100 million views.



4. Bring fun to the pitch

If you really want to cultivate a deeper relationship with fans, nothing quite beats getting your brand at the sports event itself. Whilst we’re not an experiential agency, we’ve worked on some amazing sports promotions that have been run as part of experiential campaigns…. from running an against-the-clock drilling competition for £1million prize… right through to dunking prize winners in a large vat of fizzy drink.

Our best example of bringing fun to the pitch is this epic promotion, that was so good, even Sky News jumped straight on it!

Tui Beer – Catch a Ball for $1Million. Read more…


5. Tap into an inspiring new trend – Girl Power!

The recent media support of women’s leagues and the success of the Lionesses, has opened up a whole new marketing arena to be tapped in to.  A Nielsen Sports report stated that 84% of general sports fans find women sport more “inspiring” and “progressive” than the male version.

For a brand to partner with a female league adds a highly emotive string to its bow – messages around equality, diversity and inclusion are very powerful in 2019.

With brands such as Nike, Boots and Budweiser tapping into this market already, we’re yet to see a big on-pack promotion that really explores this new arena!…

So come on, what’s stopping you?!!

Here at Umbrella, we have a team of experts who have been building sports promotions for 30 years. They know exactly how to build a prize structure that ties in with real-time match scores – and how to ensure that the risk is managed securely and effectively. They know what prize structures work and more importantly, what don’t! They can help you build the ultimate customer journey and also manage the backend of that journey. They are a fantastic resource to pull into a creative brainstorming session to help you develop a fun, engaging and powerful sports promotion with absolute confidence!

Contact Beth Johnson: 01844 202317 / 


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