Sports – The World Domination Plan

Seems like everyone has a world domination plan (WDP) these days.

Google and Facebook have essentially taken over advertising. A full 98% of Facebook’s $9.3 billion second quarter profits came from advertising while 87% of Google’s $26 billion profit from the same period was ad based. Facebook is charging advertisers 24% more than it did in 2016. And those numbers will only continue to rise.

The reason they can do this is their ads work. They have the numbers to prove it. As long as they deliver this kind of performance, people will continue to advertise on these platforms. They dominate because they perform.

I’m more troubled by those who dominate without having to perform.

There is a branding vacuum being created in sports. It’s happening slowly, but surely in golf and tennis and probably other sports as well. When the governing bodies and/or professional associations begin taking over the marketing of the events and tournaments they are supposed to be helping, branding no longer serves the event. It serves the higher entity.

It starts with bundling. If your tournament uses Ticketmaster, for instance, you’ll get a set amount of marketing dollars to spend on that platform as part of your deal. Of course, the professional association must manage those dollars for you, essentially handling a chunk of your media spend. Before you know it, they’re doing your creative.

You’ve seen ads where you swap out the city scape visuals yet the message is the same. That’s what happens when governing bodies and associations do the creative campaigns for the tournaments on their tours. It removes the personality from the local events and turns them into generic stops on the road to the major.

Marketing is about carving out and promoting that one thing that inherently differentiates you from the competition. Each tournament offers a unique experience – through its venue, its sponsors, its history, and its spectators. I hate to watch so many sporting event brands diminish so their professional associations can thrive.