When it comes to figuring out the 50,000 foot view of sports marketing, there are two angles to take – do you sell the team? Or do you sell the program? Sometimes it is appropriate to do both. Sometimes its better to just pick one and run with that. If your program is doing outbound sales, it’s a good idea to make sure they are aware of both ways of approaching their conversations with potential clients.
The team is the group that plays right now. The current roster. Sometimes, these are the people that your fans are paying to see. If you don’t have anything else, maybe you’ve got a couple of superstars or a group of seniors that dominate or a new transfer or trade that makes your team worth watching. Maybe you’ve got a couple of one-and-done type of players that you just can’t miss or “see them while they’re still amateurs” kind of players. That’s the team angle of sports marketing – selling your current roster and the people playing right now.
The program is who you really are – what you and the people before you have worked to develop over the years and what you stand for as an organization. When you think of certain sport organizations from around the world, these are the ones that immediately come to mind; these are also the programs you have to stop and think about any famous players that may have come from their sidelines. These are the ones synonymous with greatness (or worse in some cases…). Sure, there are great players that rose to the occasion of playing for one of these teams and became famous, or better yet, legendary, but it’s really the program that comes first in this scenario. Regardless of your history, the essence of your program is worth being a part of – if you’ve taken the time to figure out your mission, vision, values and goals. If you have, you know what you stand for and what kind of “program” you are selling. In this case, the program angle of sports marketing is the bigger picture of getting people who want what you’re selling.
Team vs. Program – Figure out which angle your sports marketing is going to go and get everything lined up consistently.