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Using March Madness For Marketing And Promotions


Guest post by Jenna Smith

Sports marketing is one of the most successful ways to bring in business and capture a casual passerby’s eye. You need only look at how popular and anticipated the commercials for The Big Game (that football one that people go crazy over but we can’t say the name of because of super strict copyright laws).

Football isn’t the only type of game in which sports marketing can be used to attract customers. March Madness is a big one too!  Check out Car Madness 2013 ( for an example of a unique March Madness Sweepstakes presented by Century 21 Insurance where entrants can win 2 tickets to the 2013 NCAA Final and $2100 in cash.

So, if you want to tap in to the power of “the big game” (or series of games) how do you do that?

Game Day Specific Promotions

Offer special discounts to people who patronize your store or website on the day of the big game. You can give them a percentage off of the customer’s purchase or a free item. Customers tend to appreciate the discount but the free item (especially if you can relate it to the sport being played) is usually more fun—and a great way to tie your business to the event.

Local Promotions

If you live in an area with a professional sports team, offer a promotional discount or item to people who bring in a ticket stub from the most recent game or to people who come in to the store wearing team-specific paraphernalia (jerseys, hats, shoes, etc). This encourages people to shop with you and shows that you believe in civic pride—two very important aspects that feed into the success.

Work with the Team

Talk to the person in charge of the team’s PR and marketing. Offer to run a team-specific special if the team will help promote it or provide something that you can use as incentive.

For example, Raffle off a signed ball or jersey—you can ask for people to buy specific raffle tickets or you can put a ticket into the pool for every purchase someone makes on a specific day (or of a specific type).

If you run a website, you can promote the game and then ask people to share their best sports stories in your blog’s comments section. Put each comment number into a jar and draw one. That commenter gets the team-specific merchandise!

Give Discounts to Your Local Team

One of the best promotions to run, especially for small or independent local businesses, is to give your local sports team’s members major discounts on your merchandise in exchange for talking up your establishment. The celebrity endorsement will bring people in, the players get discounted stuff—everybody wins!

Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is

Every team needs sponsors and every game needs advertising dollars to help it happen. Why not become one of those sponsors or advertisers? Pay the money to put fliers for your business in the arena or at the field. If you run a food-based business, pay to have a booth near the concession stands. There are lots of different things you can do!

Sports marketing is something that everybody understands and can even appreciate when it is done well (the GoDaddy commercials are not a good example of this). Tying your business to local sports is one of the most profitable things you can do, so get to it!

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