Pro Sports Scandals Have Sponsors Looking Toward Amateurs

Sports celebrity scandals turn sponsor attention to amateur sports

By: Max Emanuel Donner, Sports Business Examiner

October 25th, 2012 – Sports sponsors seek to accomplish many goals. The latest series of sports celebrity scandals
is giving them a good reason to take a closer look at sponsoring
traditional amateur sports and the engaging athletes who have loyal
fans. And the chaos marketing departments face when bad news about a
sponsored star athlete grab the headlines is much easier to manage when a
company has an entire talent pool of popular athletes to present with
its marketing campaigns.

This season’s sports celebrity scandal headlines have been dominated by Lance Armstrong,
the cyclist defeated by a barrage of doping allegations, and Shaun
White, the energetic snowboarder whose energy went into overdrive,
prompting a hotel to charge him with alcohol fueled vandalism. White’s
lead sponsor Target is standing by the athlete and featured him at its
landmark Fiftieth Anniversary Celebration in New York on October 17
The quick take on the two headline grabbing scandals is that many
consumers have a spot in their heart for occasional “Bad Boy” events,
but not for unfair schemes to win a trophy. And no one should make light
of the substantial expanse that public relations professionals at
Target will have to fund to get the most out of their investment in the
Shaun White brand.

At the other end of the spectrum, the U.S. Women’s Olympic Bobsled
Team has earned a few headlines by adding track and field star Lolo
Jones to the team and is engaged in grass roots fundraising. The fastest
women in America have teamed with the Susan G. Komen Foundation to
launch the “Komen for the Cure Bobsled” Their
joint-effort gives donors a lot to feel good about and a welcome
alternative to the fan fatigue that sets in after too many sports
scandals. These charming women are quickly becoming the poster girls for
“Clean Sports.”

Traditional amateur sports are also gaining popularity with sponsors
because their ties with fans through social networks add real value. The
Hungarian Olympic Handball Team is sponsored by adidas,
which gets a lot of visibility for its brand with the thousands of
dedicated fans who watch the sport closely. They don’t just wear adidas
branded team uniforms, they also travel with adidas custom luggage and
and posting photos on social media. The adidas sponsorship is already
paying off. Two days ago, European broadcasters announced that they are increasing the time slots for handball to match growing fan interest.

Read more about adidas sports marketing at this link.