Dial M-M-M-M for Sports Marketing

Jerry Maguire. No, the movie did not "have me at hello", but the movie had me right here when Jerry delivers these lines:  "I will not rest until I have you holding a Coke, wearing your own shoe, playing a Sega game *featuring you*, while singing your own song in a new commercial, *starring you*, broadcast during the Superbowl, in a game that you are winning, and I will not sleep until that happens."

That was the day for me when sports, sportsperson and more importantly sports leagues became more than just about players. They became what they would be crudely called - The Complete Package. IPL was one such package in India, EPL has been for a long while in Europe and NBA in America. But it was at the start of the first IPL that I had watched the movie and made a choice of becoming a sports agent. It was in this view, that I started researching about sports marketing and wrote a few research papers in college. During research for one such paper, I came across a model followed the football club Real Madrid and it has stayed with me.

This post is about that model. The 4M model of marketing sports and leagues - Mark, Man, Manoeuvre, and Money. 

Mark - Stands for the brand name. For a club, it would be the name of the club, the brands that it is associated with, the brands lining to associate themselves with the club. For a player, it would be the club that he plays for, the brand pull that he alone carries. The coke that he alone inspires that people to drink and action figure that embodies him.

Man - Stands for the players and the personified character. The club can not stand without the players, for the players through their individual public image define the character of the club. And it this character which the people associate with. Of course, for a league like EPL and IPL, another factor of the county or the city comes into play. The club has to decidedly choose players that can be happily married to the existing character of the team and the city/county.

Manoeuvre - Stands for administration. This is probably explains why choosing the manager in a FC in EPL is a decision that these clubs make with utmost precision, for those of you who don't the fortunes of these clubs. And this also explains why the title character's backside in Jerry Maguire was always on fire. The administration needs to be bold and has to have the vision for the marketing of the brand.

Money - Stands for, well, more money. Now this one is sort of self-explanatory, I would say.

Sports marketing is a fascinating field alright, but it hasn't taken off in a big way in India. In other words, it doesn't pay much to start your career with this. So, yes, I never followed my dream of becoming one in this field and went to become a consultant for infrastructure that I am today. However, hopefully things are set to change. With the Indian GP and FIFA wanting to make India one of its homes, money should flow in. May be, one of you will become a great in this field. May be the movie will inspire you too and you will follow your dream. May be, I will one day back to it!

(Kindly note, that the credits for this model rest with Real Madrid and not me or this magazine. The post is my interpretation of the same.)
An Article by Ankit Poddar who blogs at All Padded Up

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