Thought Leadership

How can brands prepare for a summer of sport?

Industry leaders share how brands can leverage sporting experiences to retain and attract new customers during this year's summer of sport

Georgie Moreton

Deputy Editor, BITE Creativebrief


With the Paris Olympics, Paralympics and the Euros fast approaching, a bumper Summer of sport is set to bring with it a breadth of new ways for brands to connect with audiences.

Sport has the unique power to bring people together. The shared excitement, build-ups, successes and near-misses make for unique, once-in-a-lifetime opportunities for brands. Those that engage authentically can leverage these moments to forge deeper connections with audiences. Be it through experiences or partnerships, the cultural firepower of sport cannot be underestimated.

With the Summer on the horizon, industry leaders share how brands can leverage sporting experiences to retain and attract new customers during this year's Summer of sport.

Anna Johannes

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Inclusive Design at Interbrand

The upcoming Olympics and Paralympics present an unprecedented opportunity for brands to connect with diverse audiences in exciting new ways. This year marks a historic milestone with Paris 2024 set to be the first games ever to achieve full gender parity, reflecting the growing demand, popularity and investment in women's sports. Additionally, the Paralympics are poised to reach their largest global audience ever, with a record number of countries televising the events. With such widespread and diverse viewership, brands have the chance to engage with audiences they've never reached before.

However, with this opportunity comes the responsibility to authentically reflect the values of inclusion and celebrate the achievements of athletes. Brands must demonstrate a genuine understanding of athletes' commitments and the desires of fans. Whether a long-time sponsor of either of the Games or a local business capitalising on the excitement, authenticity is key. By entering the sporting arena with a deep understanding and appreciation for the event's significance, brands can become more than just background noise; they can be active participants in the celebration.

Helenor Gilmour

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Director of Insight and Strategy

Beano Brain

Brands are starting to see dollar signs on the horizon as we head into another summer of sports extravaganzas that will draw viewers from all over the world. These events are a hotbed for brands looking to win customer engagement and long-term loyalty. And it’s no wonder why; sports connect families like nothing else does.

However, brands shouldn’t underestimate the power of these sporting events to reach Generation Alpha (Gen A), an often-overlooked generation born from 2010. We are seeing a significant shift in family bonding experiences, as parents seek to involve their kids more in their activities, and children show increasing interest in their parents' pursuits, a trend we’re naming ‘Parallel Me Time’. This means we're witnessing more children attending sporting matches than ever before.

But to make an impact with Gen A the tried and tested route of investing in an expensive ad slot won’t cut it. Instead, brand investment should be directed towards creating engaging content across various digital platforms, including YouTube, TikTok, Instagram, and Twitch, using strong PR, social media, and POS strategies. A viral video will have a far greater long-term impact on this generation than any ad campaign.

Gen A is a critical generation of digital masters who hold higher expectations than previous generations, and they will call out brands that lack authenticity. So, brands looking to use these upcoming sporting events to connect with this generation must consider how they can show up for this generation in the long run, not just during the summer.

Ally Azizi

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Junior Strategist


Given sports' mass-market reach and popularity, effective engagement in this space allows brands to reach multiple audiences at once. This is critical in a period where audiences are more fragmented than ever - enabling brands to engage with diverse audiences via a large platform.

To make the most of their investment and achieve maximum ROI, marketers must consider a few factors.

For starters, sporting experiences (by definition) include a variety of in-person interactions.  Brands should capitalise on this opportunity to create unique experiences that forge deep and emotional connections and create lasting memories for attendees. By utilising experiential marketing at sporting events, brands can ride the wave of excitement and novelty that surrounds these occasions. This creates a halo effect, boosting brand recall and turning attendees into long-term supporters.

However, successful execution is dependent on having a strong understanding of the audience and knowing what they expect from you.

Amy Still

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CEO and Founder


This summer brings about another sporting reckoning with both the Euros and Olympics taking place. But not all eyes will be just on the skills of the footballers and athletes - there’s a real opportunity for brands to tap into a new breed of fashionista. More and more teams are appointing fashion-forward creative directors, and we’re seeing national teams create kit ‘drops’ with all the hype and controversy of the latest streetwear brand, such as Nike’s latest release of the England outfits. With these developments, brands are scoring increased revenues from people who may not be the traditional fans, but are being tempted to buy the replica shirt as a fashion item not just tribal colours. And as 92% of Gen Z football consumers believe footballers should be able to express themselves through fashion - the fashion, brands and football crossover opportunity is huge.

With this news it’s no surprise that stadiums are billed as the new catwalk and the terraces are the equivalent of the coveted fashion front-row seat, presenting huge opportunities for a multitude of brands. Creating a point of interest is key - either by tapping into a local designer, like Bayern Munich, or making the most of local music legends, like Manchester United and their adidas/Stone Roses clothing line will be key. There’s plenty of scope for brands to score both on and off the pitch.

Danielle Barwick

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Group Director


2024’s summer of sport will benefit those brands who take the opportunity to leverage the huge excitement and national pride surrounding the Olympic and Paralympic Games as well as Euro 2024.

Not only is it a great time for brands to connect with existing fans but, there’s also a chance for them to reach new audiences, some of whom may have never engaged with sports before. For example, breakdancing or ‘Breaking’ is a new addition to the Olympics this year which will bring with it an existing fanbase and continue to diversify the Olympic landscape. On top of this, Paris 2024 is aiming to make these the most sustainable Games to date. The potential is huge for brands aligned with this ambition to activate around this.

It’s important to recognise that while brands may jump at the chance to get involved in the commercially appealing Olympics, it will be a competitive and crowded space. So it’s worth considering the benefits of the Paralympic Games. Paris is expected to reach its largest ever audience, with total broadcast revenue increasing by more than 20% compared to the previous Games. This additional exposure inevitably creates more sponsorship opportunities and space for brands to play. An example of this is the British Gas campaign featuring Ellie Simmonds.

Lastly, let’s not forget, Paris is only a 2-hour train ride from the UK, with only a 1-hour time difference. So, from a UK/Europe targeting point of view there’s significant potential for brands. They should be assessing their marketing efforts and looking how they can target untapped spaces to ensure cut through during what is as close to a home Games as the UK will get for a while.

Agathe Rakowicz

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VP Demand Enablement, CX Brand & Agency


As we approach a busy summer of sport, for brands, it’s more than just seizing the moment with a cool ad or sponsorship. It’s about understanding the intricacies of the sports landscape and its diverse audience personas to craft marketing strategies that truly resonate beyond just the hardcore fans.

Shifts in tech, AI and consumer behaviour have transformed how people consume and interact with sports. People not only increasingly immerse themselves in a variety of digital experiences surrounding the games themselves, but 53% actually access online sports content while watching a match or tournament. A 2023 Open Internet report states that consumers spend 59% of their online time on the open web, more than inside the walled gardens of social media. This is where a savvy open web advertising strategy becomes a marketer’s best ally – all kinds of brands across different industry segments can participate in creating standout experiences.

For example, acknowledging that one in three fans are likely to order food, the food and beverage industry can establish strategic partnerships for home delivery or special game-day menus. Retail brands have a place as well, from footwear to outdoor apparel and leisurewear.

But the campaign environment is not all that matters. With personalisation at the heart of every successful marketing campaign, crafting creative moments is essential for grabbing attention, and deepening the bond between a brand and a sports audience. To forge meaningful long-lasting connections, brands need to push the boundaries of their digital canvases to stand out from the crowd.