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Establishing the RIGHT connection with fans

When organizations strive to connect with sports fans, they have to consider a wide variety of factors. Among other things, it is vital to form a positive degree of ‘emotional equity’ when targeting different groups since the effectiveness of promotional initiatives tend to be optimized if they contain width and depth and hence succeed in appealing to a large portion of stakeholders. Therefore, these organizations will most often find success if they find the right path in terms of connecting with different stakeholders, .e.g. television viewers, radio listeners, readers of printed materials (newspapers and magazines), live audiences (people in the stadium/venue), coaches, sport governing bodies, volunteers, and sports stars.

Whether this discussion focuses on the positioning of a sports organization or of an organization, which applies sport as a platform to market itself (or its products), these market considerations should be emphasized. To go a step further, such an organization must attempt to influence or appeal to the attitudes, lifestyles, and interests of their stakeholders and thus to reach a point where these stakeholders develop a preference for the organization itself (or its product/offerings).

Carlsberg wanted to connect with football fans and to underscore the fact that Carlsberg was the official beer of the England team and a proud sponsor of the UEFA EURO 2012 and thus introduced a TV commercial, i.e. ‘The Carlsberg Fan Academy’. The commercial featured celebrities such as former England stars Bobby Charlton, Peter Shilton, Stuart Pearce and Ian Wright along with other celebrities such as Linford Christie, Ray Mears and Helen Chamberlain, whom Carlsberg decided to use in this initiative to help football fans support England (for the UEFA EURO 2012). Check the video below:

In terms of building and managing fan relationships, the objective and the advantages are to found around the development of a system, which all stakeholders (internal and external) can employ to gain insight into essential aspects of the organization behind the branding initiative and/or the initiative itself.  At the same time, it is equally important that the system facilitates the organization’s desire to meet the needs and wants of fans/consumers and thus acts as a platform to help the organization identify and target current and future fans/consumers, i.e. to build brand loyalty. Moreover, such a system helps the organization to identify the most lucrative fan groups/consumers, which makes it easier for the organization to offer these groups the best service level. All in all, a better understanding of and a more effective connection with the RIGHT fans guide organizations to deliver optimal marketing solutions.


Schwarz, E. C., Hunter, J. D., & LaFleur, A. (2012). Advanced theory and practice in sport marketing. Routledge.


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