The New Frontier: Global Companies Turn to Sports Marketing to Engage Customers in Asia
Over the last two decades Asia --- home to 3.5 billion people --- has become the most important driver in global economic growth. A recent article in the New York Times proclaimed that the global balance of power has forever been altered due to the rapid economic development in the Asian region — starting with Japan, South Korea and Taiwan, then extending to Hong Kong and Singapore and finally taking hold in India and China. Indeed, Asia now boasts 4 of the world's 12 largest economies—Japan, China, India and Korea.
In conjunction with this new found economic vitality has come an amplified interest in sports driven by increased funding from governments for grassroots, participatory sporting programs and infrastructure. Major global events such as the World Cup in Japan/Korea and the Beijing Olympics have created a new generation of Asian stars that are inspiring the younger generation toward athletic achievement.
The Asian region is now ripe for multinational companies to utilize sports as a platform to build brand awareness. Lisa Johnson, Asia director of the GMR Marketing agency, stated to the Campaign Asia Pacific that sports marketing gives brands "a unique opportunity to have a conversation within consumers' hearts and minds, and to build a personal relationship and loyalty to the brand through sports."
AON, the leading global provider of risk management and insurance, has recently spent hundreds of millions of dollars in a sponsorship arrangement with Manchester United. AON has successfully utilized the partnership to connect with a vast new consumer base by tapping into Asia’s passion for soccer. By utilizing summer tours of Asia by Manchester United, AON has been able to activate and build new relationships all across the region.
We have merely seen the tip of the iceberg as it relates to sports marketing spending for the region. As sports becomes more and more popular in the future – for example, soccer viewership of the top professional league was up 53% in 2012 – more multinational companies will want to build a stake in the region, the amount of money invested in sports marketing is sure to rise exponentially.
Direct quote was sourced from Warc , 27 March 2013
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