Why Sports Marketers Should Target Influencers For Their Brand

Nearly every professional sports team has at least a few die-hard fans, the types of fans who hold season tickets and will tell you that they haven’t missed a game in over two years.  These are the fans who are happy and relieved when their teams win, but become physically angry when their teams lose.  Regardless, they’ll stick by their teams through thick and thin, based on deep-seated loyalty that may go back generations.
Unfortunately, most sports fans are not like that.  Many will express undying love for their favorite teams, only to stop watching when their teams are having a rough season.  Others are fair weather fans, fans who only seem to care about sports when their local team makes it into the playoffs.

For sports marketers, it may be tempting to go after the moderate fans, and direct efforts toward people who are not already coming to games and showing support for their teams.  The die-hard fans are already going to the games, spending money, and showing support, so it makes sense that they’d be a low priority…. right?

Perhaps that was the case back before social media became integral to our everyday lives.  But these days, your die-hard fans can also be your biggest brand ambassadors.  A sports franchise doesn’t need to unload its entire marketing budget on getting fair weather fans to invest in sports…their die hard fans can do it for them!

Take, for example, the MLB Fan Cave, located at 4th Street and Broadway in New York City.  Through an online contest that involved Facebook sharing, tweeting and voting, a handful of baseball super fans won the opportunity to spend baseball season in the MLB Fan Cave.  There, they’ll watch every single baseball game while tweeting and sharing their thoughts to their followers.  They’ll also have the opportunity to meet celebrities, watch in-store performances, and to otherwise have the once-in-a-lifetime experience of being a brand ambassador to the MLB.

The MLB Fan Cave Twitter account has a quarter million followers, and looks to only amass more as the season continues.  These super fans are also creating content for their own Twitter, Instagam and Facebook accounts, as well as contributing to the MLB Fan Cave blog, writing about a range of subjects, such as MLB Tattoos.

These super fans are valuable to MLB because of their status as influencers.  The genius marketers at the MLB knew that by choosing people through a series of online votes, they’d effectively choose people who already had strong social networks, paired with the ability to effectively market themselves.

Sites like Klout are designed to realize the importance of influencer behavior to marketers, a field which will only continue to grow.  Marketers have long known that word-of-mouth marketing is the best form of marketing, and a program like the MLB Fan Cave is an excellent way for a big brand to garner publicity while letting its franchise fans do the work for them.

So, for sports marketers who think that marketing to the super fan isn’t the right consumer tier in order to help grow the business, it’s important to remember that the these super fans can be your biggest advocates.  It looks like team that created the MLB Fan Cave have hit a home run.

For more sports marketing and advertising ideas, contact the team at our Florida advertising agency, who can help you design a campaign that meets your company’s needs – and, your budget!

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