If you follow the sports marketing industry, things are changing fast and furious. Platforms are multiplying and you need to get every dollar spent to max your invested time and resources for tailor solid results. To start with, where do you connect with your fans? On social platforms, but on which one? Facebook, tweeter are obvious choices. But is there more?

Simple answer, yes. The key is to understand your audience, what they are on and what turns them on. And indeed the rules of engagement that is relevant to them, not you.

To this why you better start thinking about your Sponsorship deal as a “startup” and your fan base as “users” because to make this work, you’d need to run your bootstrap your fan engagement campaign, if you don’t have indeed huge budget for media. Quite literally. To get there, you need all of the process done correctly — from “user stories” to “lean canvas”, otherwise you are putting yourself at a mercy of a chance.


The Canadian Football League done that and realised that they can’t compete on for all of the attention on Facebook, neither had a budget to do media. They needed something different and after a research decided to stay tuned with series of Vine and Youtube videos along with social posts from athletes and fans to build up momentum for its season opener. Treating the season like a product launch, they managed to pull in athletes and fans to help them promote the season. And it worked.

While the overall numbers are not huge, keep in mind the league is relatively small (just 9 teams) and the entire country of Canada has less people in it than California. The big takeaway here is that even a small sports league can create momentum by choosing a rally hashtag and getting athletes (or employees), fans and the media to support it.


  • Customised content creation and distribution utilizing behind the scenes from athletes and fans own personal moments.
  • Gamification/fantasy/fan interactions — in-arena, online and gaming.
  • Build convergence of broadcast, digital and mobile to bring fans live action on their terms.

About the author:

With 83% of fans checking social media while watching sports on TV and 63% using social media while at the stadium, both teams and sponsors need new strategies. Ilya Vensky is market strategist at PAG_Digital that creates direct to mobile fan engagements to open a new era of sports marketing.
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