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Sport is back on the agenda, and it’s stronger than ever

by Victoria Tidmarsh Victoria Tidmarsh

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  • Posted on Monday 26th April, 2021

Tournaments postponed. Matches cancelled. Leagues null and void. The sporting landscape has suffered immensely in the last year, there’s no doubt about that. 

But with restrictions starting to ease and the glimmer of potential fan attendance at upcoming events, organisations, commercial partners and fans are collectively looking to the future with more anticipation than ever before. As the world begins to open up, things are starting to happen again. 

For some, however, it never stopped. While the pandemic has brought its challenges, we’ve worked hard with our clients to ensure the wheels didn’t stop turning – they just pivoted slightly. Fans still wanted to be engaged, just in a different way. 

Our work with sponsors in the sport sector moved to long term planning for the larger activations, supported by consistent drips of smaller activity that kept them front of mind and still maximised their rights. 

Hisense, for example, announced their status as Official Partner of Leeds United in November 2020. Naturally, we knew we’d need to engage with fans digitally, so alongside the usual pitchside advertising and branded emails, we launched a video content series offering fans a behind-the-scenes look at players and staff while featuring hero products. This approach has been incredibly well received by the fans, and cemented Hisense as part of their football family, giving us a great platform to build on in the 21/22 season when fans will be back in Elland Road. 

 

Another recent project has seen us team up with Nationwide Building Society and The FA for a campaign specifically targeting grassroots football. Grassroots football has been postponed in recent months, and would have provided a tricky challenge unless played correctly. So, we timed the launch of the Coin for Respect campaign – which is offering kids across the country the chance to make their mark on the game in a design competition – to go live the week following the restart of the grassroots season. Not only did this tap into the target audience when they were most engaged, it also meant we could use that as an additional angle to support the campaign message. 

While the 2021 summer of sport begins to get pencilled in, the Rugby World Cup 2023 is a secure bet for any fan wanting to book something to look forward to. As an Official Travel Agent for the tournament, we worked with our client, Sportbreaks.com, to announce the partnership and our ambassador in style – with the support of England rugby legend, Mark Cueto. While Mark’s lasting memories of the World Cup may be tainted, fans love to engage with ex-pros, and it turned what could’ve been a standard press release announcement into a much more engaging moment for fans. 

 

Outside of sport sponsorship, we’ve also worked on some excellent activity for brands and tournament organisers this year. 

Powerleague’s Play to Talk campaign with CALM and Street Soccer London saw 40+ players – and Arsenal legend, Paul Merson – take part in a silent football match to raise awareness of the importance of conversation and team sports in preventing mental health struggles. 

 


The team working with Rugby League World Cup 2021 have switched into tournament mode as we enter a pivotal time for tournament planning. With six months to go until we see the opening ball kicked at St James’ Park, Newcastle, general admission tickets went back on sale with our team delivering strong PR and social activations to drive interest in the 61 fixtures across the three tournaments.

We’ve switched into highlighting and profiling some of the key players across the men’s, women’s and wheelchair tournaments – content pieces on social such “team of the week” and sharing relevant clips from respective domestic leagues giving  customers a glimpse of the action that will be on offer later in the year. We’ve also been doing the same with media titles, sharing stories of Greek internationals who played qualification games at midnight, and Irish internationals who cleaned windows to keep themselves busy in the pandemic – all building human interest stories for new audiences.

Sport is back, and after a year of missing out, fans are ready to attend and engage more than ever before. Whether it’s through sponsorship, PR, content creation, social media or a mix of it all, the sector needs to make the most of this unique situation, and rebuild those lasting relationships that are so important. 

 

If you’re interested in learning more about our sports activity or need some support, drop us a line at hello@hatchpr.co.uk