It’s no secret that college athletics equals big money—the Texas Longhorns took in over $150 million in the 2010-11 season—and youth marketing should glom onto this by capitalizing on college sports.
College sports programs, especially football teams, bring in huge amounts of cash and inspire great loyalties and rivalries—in some regions, college football fans seem more like fanatics. And wherever passions run high, college marketing is given good leverage. By tailoring advertising strategies to reference and capitalize on preexisting regional sports loyalties and emotions, youth advertisers stand to easily capture students’ attention.
So what are some of the advantages of emphasizing regional college sports in campus marketing campaigns?
- Immediate recognition. Rather than seeming new or strange, products or services in advertisements that manage to integrate college sports references will be automatically affiliated with something familiar and beloved. If players, coaches, or other sports celebrities endorse it, so much the better.
- Loyalty. It goes beyond just cheering for a certain team—fans feel personally invested in the program. And college marketing companies can try to associate this loyalty with a client’s product or service by implying that a relationship and/or similarity exists between the two.
- Official endorsement. Creating an apparent connection between the college sports team and the client’s product also gives the illusion of endorsement by the college itself. And this is a great way to market to college students, who are already taught to respect and obey their institution.
- Aura of success. If the sports program is generally successful, the client’s product will likewise benefit from this track record of winning. Conversely, one would probably want to avoid this strategy if the sports program were unsuccessful, unless it had a strong and loyal fan base.
As far as specific college marketing ideas about creating this apparent association between the sports program and a client’s product or service, there are various possibilities. Marketing to college students at sporting events, sponsoring some facet of the sports program, including sports team imagery in the advertisement itself, or hosting game-day events are all viable options. Whichever path is ultimately decided upon, though, it’s clear that college athletics can be used as a powerful youth marketing tool. Earn fans and capture the youth market by capitalizing on college sports!
Want to learn more? Contact Marc Sorel!
 Wieberg, Steve, et al. “Texas Athletics Overwhelm Rivals in Revenue and Spending.” USA Today.