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2010 is a big year for the world of sport. Later this month, the Super Bowl will air, next month the Winter Olympics will begin and in June, the World Cup kicks off.

One player will be taking part in all of these events: social media.

This weekend, Adweek and Brandweek detailed how sponsors for two of the biggest events in sport and media -- the Super Bowl and Winter Olympics -- are ratcheting up their activity levels.

Social media is a no-brainer for sponsors looking for cost-effective ways to harness their sponsorships. Super Bowl and Olympic sponsorships don't come cheap and amount a brand pays for the sponsorship deals themselves doesn't represent the true cost because brands have to develop programs that 'activate' against their sponsorships.

That's where social media is playing an increasingly important role. Popular social destinations like YouTube, Facebook and Twitter come with built-in audiences and give brands a way to reach millions upon millions of consumers. Those destinations, coupled with mobile technologies and tools such as blogs, offer brands and their athletes a way to engage directly with fans on a global basis in ways never before possible.

Make no doubt about it: this is powerful stuff and it's only getting more powerful. That's because more and more brands are moving beyond the experimentation stage with social media and are finally integrating social media into their campaigns. As Adweek notes:

...compared to efforts around the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics, social media initiatives are more integrated with campaigns and less often add-on components.

An example of such a campaign comes from Panasonic, which will use the Olympics to introduce the world to its 3D entertainment tech. It's running a blog tracking some of the athletes it sponsors and is encouraging fans to produce their own online content. One lucky participant will win a trip to Vancouver, where he or she will be able to chronicle the Olympics on-site courtesy of Panasonic.

Of course, integrating social media into a broader campaign will mean that execution gets more complex and costly for brands, even though, as Adweek points out, social media still only represents a fraction of overall marketing spend at these primetime events. As more and more brands turn to social media, standing out will be even harder.

That means that, just like the athletes who are competing, brands will have to bring their 'A' games. Those that have planned, prepared and practiced are the most likely to perform.

Photo credit: a4gpa via Flickr.

Patricio Robles

Published 19 January, 2010 by Patricio Robles

Patricio Robles is a tech reporter at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter.

2392 more posts from this author

Comments (5)

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Bobjuck

Thanks for posting... it's exciting to see how quickly social media is changing society. As Social Media continues rapidly changing both the online and offline environment, it will be far less challenging to show the small to medium sized businesses the importance of embracing this change.

over 6 years ago

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rosamundwo

I wonder if those big events will have a big twitter board to view the latest updates or not... must be exciting!!!

over 6 years ago

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Paul Abbott, Marketing at PlanetWebfoot

Thanks for the great article, Patricio!  I think that these 3 events coupled with the way the major sponsors make use of social networking in conjunction with their offline marketing efforts will bring many new ideas and set many new benchmarks for the competition to live up to.  Also, as Bobjuck pointed out, this will be of great help in introducing to businesses of all sizes the need and effectiveness of using social media as part of their overall marketing strategy.

over 6 years ago

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Jack@sportsbuzz

Good information about a phenominon that is coming at us

like a tidal wave.  I continue to be amazed at the uses and growing

power of Twitter and Facebook.

over 6 years ago

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frank fitzpatrick

...interesting lopic. would love to learn more ...

over 6 years ago

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