Consumer Psychology of Sport

The study of what makes experiences and life happy or unpleasant is known as hedonic psychology. It includes all of the pursuits that humans find enjoyable. The vicarious consumption of competitive sporting events is one particularly particular sort of hedonic activity that is of importance here and contributes to the pleasure people experience in their daily lives. Because the delight of watching sports results from the process of blending emotions and cognitions to give the experience meaning, watching sports is a mental pleasure.

A sporting event is an emotional rollercoaster, full of anticipation and worry about what could happen to one's favourite team. For those who are the most devoted fans, the intensity of the experience cannot be exaggerated because, for them, emotions of self-worth are frequently intimately correlated with the success of a beloved team.

Consumer's Psychology of Sports

Sports consumer motivation is conceptualized as representing orientations towards autonomy and control that promote the desire to engage in goal-directed behavior in sports to gain benefits.

There are three types of sports consumers −

  • Spectators as consumers or fans.

  • Participants as consumers or commonly referred to as athletes or coaches.

  • Finally, there are sponsors as consumers and sports companies.

Consumer Segmentation in Sports Psychology

It includes −

Gender Segmentation

Gender is one of the most commonly used variables for market segmentation. In the context of sports marketing, an exciting development is the increasing consumer power of women. Globally, it was recently estimated that women control $28 trillion in consumer spending and over 70% of all consumer-related decisions. As a result, much of the sports sector is now invested in the female consumer market. Related examples of this investment include women's sports equipment (e.g., shoes and clothing), health clubs, fitness programs, and sports tournaments for women. For example, Nike has predicted that its women's sportswear line will add $2 billion in annual sales by 2017.

Age Segmentation

Age segmentation is one of the essential types of segmentation due to the significant difference between the needs and habits of different age groups. This variable can be visualized in specific age groups or life cycle stages: children, adolescents, adults, middle-aged and older adults. For example, many sports organizations create different events and offer different merchandise to target different age groups. They target certain clothing, gadgets, and technology at specific age groups. Age groups and generations differ in shopping habits and how they respond to advertising. They tend to prefer a different tone and often spend their time on separate platforms at different times.

Behavioral Segmentation

In behavioral segmentation, the consumer market is segmented based on the number of products purchased, frequency of service use, and brand loyalty. It can be based on simple metrics like the number of matches an individual attends yearly or the number of times members visits the health club weekly. It can also be based on a more complex approach, such as using multiple criteria to classify consumers by loyalty.

Socio-cultural Segmentation

Although it has long been asserted that the socio-cultural field is one of the constituent elements of human psychological phenomena, the science of sports psychology has only just begun to consider culture as the primary basis of human activities: physical activity and behavioral performance, well-being, engagement, and performance of sports participants. Certain religious beliefs or cultural backgrounds influence the physical activity they participate in. For example, in Islam, women must cover their bodies. In addition, negative experiences or racist behavior may cause some minorities to avoid participating in specific sports.

Psychographic Segmentation

Psychographic segmentation is the most challenging segmentation approach for marketers, as it is often based on individual consumers' intrinsic and subjective characteristics, such as attitudes, preferences, and personal opinions. Psychological concepts such as motivation, attitude, satisfaction, and fan engagement are some of the most commonly used by marketers. Sociocultural variables can also be used in conjunction with psychometric data.

Geographic Segmentation

In geographic segmentation, the market is segmented based on the location where consumers live, which can be based on region, city, or country. The prevailing perception is that individuals living in different places have different consumption opportunities and behaviors, depending on the influence of where they live. Geographic segmentation is also often applied when sports organizations select specific communication channels (local or national TV channels, radio stations, newspapers, magazines, events, and direct mail).

Sports Marketing Strategy

Targeting Specific Audiences

As with any form of marketing, defining and understanding your target audience is essential. Consider the characteristics of your niche, such as −

  • Location − Remember the local sports teams and sports heroes your customers may have. Are you targeting a regional or local audience? Talk directly to specific audiences using tools like email segments.

  • Hobbies − Does your audience enjoy basketball, sailing, golf, or hiking? The more specific your marketing strategy is, the deeper the connection you will create with your customers.

  • Lifestyle − Know your client's lifestyle and goals. Are they trying to get in shape, become a serious athlete or enjoy the sport as a spectator?

  • Income − How your target audience chooses to spend their time and money can be influenced by their income.

  • Age − Your marketing tactics may need to be adjusted depending on the age of your target audience. Try to reduce a specific slice.

  • Sport Level − Find out about your client's athletic level or desire to achieve it. A typical runner may not be as interested in the same services or products as a marathon runner.

Create Compelling Content

If there is one thing that sports fans and your customers are always interested in, it is engaging content featuring their favorite athletes. Maximizing your pre-existing network of sports enthusiasts will open up new possibilities for your audience.

The Perfect Timing for Your Content

With sports marketing tied to live events and seasonal sports, it is essential to determine the most effective times to post content your content. Take advantage of the pre-match buzz wave by doing pre-event marketing. Seize the opportunity to congratulate the winning teams while everyone is watching. Timing is critical when planning content across all platforms. Consider when an email will be more effective than social media. Once you have the perfect cadence for posting content and developing an effective email campaign, consider using automation to maintain consistent content referrals to your customers and prospects.

Building Partnerships and Brand Sponsorship

Some of the most exciting parts of sports marketing come from its relationships with famous athletes and sports. When developing your sports marketing strategy, consider the following −

  • Use Promotional Contests − Contests can spark interest in your business and attract new followers to engage with your social media platforms. Promotions can create buzz and improve customer awareness and interactions.

  • Developing Brand Partnerships − Whether through advertising or not, brand partnerships are a fundamental part of sports marketing. Sports teams and sports brands often come together to form strong partnerships. Take advantage of unique opportunities to attract potential customers.

  • Guaranteed Sponsorship − Sponsorships are a great way to generate brand exposure. Consider the times you have noticed the brand logo on a shirt, in the stadium, on the field, or on a helmet. Connecting with sponsors can mean gaining tremendous exposure.

Using Social Media

Sports marketing is based on exposure to sports and fitness fans. For this reason, social media is a great way to build brand awareness. This is a modern cornerstone of sports marketing, as many fans have a deep connection to social media as a tool to enhance their match-watching experience. Leverage this resource by creating a brand presence on −

  • Facebook − While Facebook News Feed competes with marketing efforts, it can often enhance sports marketing strategies. Use Facebook to engage with your customers, raise awareness, and inspire them to take action.

  • Instagram − As an image-focused network, Instagram is a great place to create awareness and engagement through event-related posts.

  • Twitter − Twitter is the perfect place to drive the conversation. It is a popular place for fans to follow the lives and thoughts of athletes, giving you a great way to connect with potential customers.

A Marketing Campaign that turned Pro Kabaddi League (PKL) into a Perfect Success: Case Study

Carving out a space for any other sport in a nation like India, where cricket is the national obsession, is quite a struggle. Nevertheless, Kabaddi, a de-glamorized sport, has captured some widespread interest. While Kabaddi had to be reinvented, PKL's marketing division took on the difficult task and masterfully overcame it. The Pro Kabaddi League (PKL) focused on the 4Ps—Product, Place, Pricing, and Promotion—to create a successful marketing strategy that gave the sport a stunning makeover. The following is an explanation of how the 4Ps of the marketing mix was utilized to create a strategic marketing campaign −


Indian sport Kabaddi was once considered a rural activity performed by "pehelwans" (wrestlers) in dirt bowls with little to no relevance in modern-day metropolitan India. Pro-Kabaddi League, however, introduced Kabaddi in a new format where the game is played on a synthetic surface rather than mud. In order to enhance the viewing experience, changes were made to the sport's venue and the game's rules. The sport was a terrific product for the audience because of how it was shown on television as well. The viewing experience has completely transformed thanks to many cameras, slow-motion replays, commentary in Hindi and English, and freshly defined game statistics. Combining all these elements gave spectators a novel experience, increasing interest in this sport.


PKL needed to create a massive "trial" of PKL as a product that provided enjoyment to promote the current sport in a completely new manner. As a result, it was shown on several STAR India channels, including family-friendly ones like STAR Gold and STAR Utsav. So, PKL was able to reach a large audience of customers, even people who might not regularly watch sports as a form of enjoyment.


As a result, there are no upfront charges for purchasing a ticket or paying an admission fee when watching entertainment on television. Nonetheless, it is crucial to consider the associated indirect costs. Because it lasts less time than cricket, kabaddi has an advantage as a sport. The amount of time a spectator must devote to a single match is reduced, lowering the time expense.


A tried-and-true marketing strategy for promoting any product is celebrity endorsement. In order to increase customer involvement and encourage "try," a variety of superstars, including Amitabh Bachchan, Sachin Tendulkar, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Virender Sehwag, etc., were brought in to promote PKL. The product quality took care of the repurchase.

A sport will likely be discussed in society when more people watch it. This significantly improves the customer experience. The Pro Kabaddi League gained the public's interest by enlisting celebrities and securing prime exposure on the Star Channels. Following its introduction to key societal figures, word-of-mouth widely publicized the sport, significantly expanding its audience. The starting time of an event is yet another crucial factor that the marketing team must consider.

Regarding event launching and broadcasting, the marketing team for PKL was more aware of the "Time." The marketing department chose the league's introduction to coincide with an Indian cricket team series. Similar to IPL, PKL had a quick turnaround (37 days), which guaranteed that there would be constant interest during the competition.

A flagship project of Mashal Sports, a sports management firm co-promoted by Anand Mahindra, Charu Sharma, and Rajiv Luthra of Lex & Legal Services, is Star Sports Pro Kabaddi. The International Kabaddi Federation (IKF), Asian Kabaddi Federation (AKF), and Amateur Kabaddi Federation of India (AKFI), which are intimately involved with the league's organization and technical conduct, officially support it. The third season of the Pro Kabaddi League, which took place in 2016, was a big success.


Sports marketing is the commercialization of products by sponsoring sporting events, teams, or equipment for sporting events. The goals of sports marketing are no different from any other form of marketing in that you want to satisfy the consumer's needs while also meeting the goals and objectives of the organization.

Updated on: 29-Mar-2023


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