Activate provides sports marketing and sponsorship activation intelligence for agencies, brands, consultancies and rights-holders. In this report, they give a point of view on ‘What are the best sports and sponsorship marketing campaigns of 2018?’.  Compiled from tens of thousands of campaigns from across the global sports landscape, the report provides their top 10. In addition, the report provides an overview of the trends, themes, strategies and tactics seen in 2018 and predictions for these in 2019.

For 2018 the most evident trends, themes, strategies and tactics are summarised as:

  1. Belief and purpose – campaigns that address political and/or social issues
  2. Women’s sport
  3. Eco-warrior – eco-activism/environmental campaigns
  4. Rightsholders reboot and refresh – properties adapt to attitudinal, socio-cultural and technology changes and look to engage with a new, younger generation of fans
  5. Amalgamations, blends and fusion – sports collaborations across the worlds of art, culture, fashion and entertainment
  6. Good tech, bad tech – new technologies adopted in sports marketing
  7. Old school craft – leveraging of traditional channels

For 2019, sports marketing and sponsorship trend predictions are forecast as:

  1. Pragmatic purpose – brands to focus on purpose and values, rather than product
  2. Streaming/OTT – viewing fragmentation will continue with large and small rightsholders switching to stream
  3. Content cost – costs for high quality, professionally produced content is likely to fall
  4. Athlete media – player power will continue to rise and their influence will grow further by owning their own channels
  5. Interaction/immersion – live experiences continue to be of great importance, and their share of investment will likely grow
  6. Right time – marketers will hold their firepower for the right moment, rather than long lead-ins or tails of content pre/post
  7. Betting boom and bust – US regulations start to slacken as Europe’s are tightening
  8. Local community – more city/local/neighbourhood-focused work and shared interest community platforms, than global/regional approaches
  9. Voice tech – voice is becoming omnipresent on mobiles, at home and in cars
  10. The age of Asia – Asian brand presence continues to grow on the world stage, and not just regionally

So what are the best sports and sponsorship marketing campaigns of 2018? Well, activate provides case studies on what they believe are the top 10, namely:

  1. Nike ‘Dream Crazy’
  2. Nike ‘Nothing Beats A Londoner’
  3. Nike ‘Juntas Imparables’
  4. Jordan Brand + PSG ‘Apparel’
  5. Sasol/SAFA ‘Limitless’
  6. Paddy Power ‘Rainbow Russians’
  7. Cristal ‘The Hacking Jersey’
  8. Tim Hortons ‘The Away Game’
  9. PGA Tour ‘Live Under Par’
  10. Formula One ‘Engineered Insanity’

To get the full detail behind what are the best sports and sponsorship marketing campaigns of 2018, download the report here.