Why should your brand be associated with sport?

What do people imagine when they think of sport? Have a think about what you associate with sport. Whilst all of us have memories of heartache and loss, what we jump to is an image of success. We think of unity, healthy living, teamwork and greatness. This is why billions of people watch sport, and these charactertistics are exactly the same ones you want to convey in your marketing. So, whilst being associated with sport is undeniably good, the choice you then have to make is which sport to align with. Here are a few things to consider.

What are the top UK sports?

It's wise to pick a sport that is popular amongst your target audience, but here we have listed the top sports from the Active People Survey taken by Sport England (Source) between October 2015 and September 2016.

  • Swimming
  • Athletics (includes gym goers)
  • Cycling
  • Football
  • Golf
  • Exercise, movement, dance.
  • Badminton
  • Tennis
  • Equestrain Sports
  • Bowls

There are some unlikely sports in this list. Even though we work in the sports industry some of these suprised us. A lot of these we do promotional sports merchandise for but I was baffled to see bowls higher than the likes of rugby, basketball or netball. Whilst you should primarily look at your target market for answers, these are a nice guideline. See the full source to look at all the numbers taken.


Whilst some sports are played a lot, you should also look at attendence numbers. Bowls might be a more popular game than rugby in terms of player numbers, but there is no denying the size of the crowds at the 6 Nations. Wimbledon is one of the largest attended events in the UK, and Le Tour de France is the largest annual sporting event. Crowds like these do not want to be missed out on so remember to do your research here.

TV audience

This is a great way to gauge national interest in a sport. The viewing figures for the 2018 FIFA World Cup were definitely some of the highest numbers that will be achieved this whole year. The quarter-final in which England played Swden was watched by over twenty million people in the UK alone. Looking into these numbers will reflect the number of people searching online for related items, and this helps you with your advertising efforts. However, you do not need to be a direct sponsor of a tournament or sport to have that effect. In an interesting piece by Maarten Albarda, he concludes that paying to be a recognised sponsor of the World Cup proved to be fairly ineffective. You can read his full blog here.

What does your brand say?

If you are a company that promotes teamwork and connecting, then it's probably not a good idea to associate yourself with a mostly single-player game like golf or tennis. This might be different in the likes of the Ryder Cup or Davis Cup but you get the idea. If you choose to promote healthy living then this gives you a wide selection of sports to choose from. The key is to look inward at what your brand communicates to others and see if there is a sport that might already suit it.


Are your compeition associated with any sports. It's worth looking into. There are a couple of strategies you can look at here. You can try and outprice them on the advertising, although this might be very costly. The other thing to do would be settle for a similar but different sport. You see this all the time, as there are hardly any competitions that have both Pepsi and Coca-Cola sponsoring it, or both BMW and Mercedes.

Promotional products

If you are the type of company that pedals promotional gifts, then you might to see the cost of promotional sports merchandise. You might want to also see whether you can get sports promotional products in this area. We have a huge range to choose from, and we work with a lot of stuff that isn't on our website, but before you tailor every marketing effort to show that you sponsor the International Quidditch Tournament (yes, that is a thing) then you might want to see whether you can get the right promo gifts. If someone came to us and asked for two thousand branded golden snitches, even we would have to research as the best place to get them.

Share this article

Looking for promotional sports merchandise?

From custom rugby balls to branded footballs and promotional sports bottles, we can do it all. Just choose your sport and be inspired...

See All Sports