3 Great Examples of Content Marketing in Sports

Aon/Man U, Intel Inside/FC Barcelona, Hershey/NCAASports have long been a source for positive association for brands because winning teams and successful events create a favorable return for the partnering brand.

One look at these lists of World Cup and Super Bowl sponsors shows what an attractive commodity sport sponsorship is.

Simply attaching a brand name does a good job of creating exposure, but it isn’t a premium method to guarantee value creation for fans.

Brands need to start moving from simple sponsorships to integrated partnerships. Only then can they truly earn loyalty from fans.

What is one strategy to create real value? The answer – Content marketing.

Let’s take a look at some entities who are activating their partnerships with content marketing and getting it right.

Aon and Man U

Aon was the sponsor on Manchester United’s kits from 2009-2013 and saw a huge boost in awareness for the company.

“More people on the planet recognize our brand than don’t,” says Phil Clement, Aon’s global chief marketing and communications officer.

But there is one huge problem Aon faced: “[People] just don’t know what we do.

To address this problem, Aon is embracing multiple forms of content marketing in their current deal with the club in a different partnership capacity. They’re producing articles, videos and native ads. Most notably is their creation of an online hub that explains how its talent, health, risk, retirement and data and analytics services relate to Manchester United. The section on talent, for instance, features interviews with Ryan Giggs and Danny Welbeck on the importance of teamwork.

With these programs, Aon has found a solution to their problem.

Intel Inside and FC Barcelona

In December 2013, Intel, a multinational computing company, became a worldwide sponsor of FC Barcelona.

What’s innovative about this partnership? The Intel Inside logo is on the inside of the jersey!

As we’ve mentioned, it’s the content that counts. Intel is creating content in the form of digital storytelling, which conveys not only information, but emotion and significance as well.

First, as seen in the embedded video, Intel correlates its role as the primary driver for technological devices with the motivations that drive Barça players and fans.

Next, Intel is producing videos showcasing its strength as a technological leader and community caretaker in its One Goal = One Computer campaign.

In this partnership, Intel is defining that “it’s what’s inside that counts.”

Hershey and the NCAA

Reese’s NCAA Hub

Hershey found content marketing gold in its partnership with the NCAA. Their strategy spills onto three social media channels –Facebook, Twitter and YouTube –but they created a hub that is awesome great perfect.

The hub is a microsite that offers a wide array of interactive content to keep visitors engaged. This array includes blogs, videos, games and even a nickname generator, which users can connect with their Facebook account “to find [their] perfect game day nickname.”

The video series, “Make the Crowd Go Wild,” took viewers around the country and behind the scenes, creating engaging rich content that fans love.

Others?

Content marketing is a key strategy for sports partnerships.

Fans are always looking for more insights and access to their favorite teams and players, and partnering brands are now telling their brand story by utilizing content marketing in sports.

What other examples are out there of brands enhancing their partnerships with engaging content strategies?

Share in the comments below!

About Carson Reider

Carson Reider is a research and content contributor for NR Media Group and a graduate assistant at the Center for Sports Administration at Ohio University. He is currently pursuing an MBA/MSA and also writes for the Ohio University Sports Administration website and OhioMarketingStudents.com.

  • Kyle Jennings

    Well done, a little out dated with AON as an example but can still use that argument for just about every world renound soccer team. The fact that companies can put their brand right in the face of everyone that looks up to these athletes and then get them to wear the brand as well… Remarkable. And I happen to love it.

  • http://carsonreider.weebly.com/ Carson Reider

    Glad to hear Kyle. AON looked at the return they were getting from just being the kit sponsor -which resulted in a ton of brand awareness- but saw that it wasn’t doing much other than that. People still didn’t understand what they did.
    They shifted to a content strategy to “put their brand right in the face of everyone that looks up to these athletes” to tie together their brand values and offerings with the power of the athlete and team brand.
    Go Cards.