Digital Marketing

Why the sports industry loves SMS marketing

SMS marketing in the sports industry

In 2011, the Phoenix Suns – a major NBA basketball team – came out with an SMS campaign to draw in more fans. The campaign was a huge success and signaled to marketers across the sports industry that SMS marketing was a worthwhile and effective investment channel. There is a host of ways that sports teams can get fans more involved through SMS including providing the latest team information and schedules, scores, player stats, as well as something most fans enjoy: contests and giveaways. Everyone loves free stuff and sports fans are no exception. Who doesn’t want a football autographed by Tom Brady or a baseball autographed by Mike Trout? Therein lies the strength of SMS. Here are just a few ways the sports industry can leverage SMS in their marketing.

Related: 7 Tips to Improve your SMS marketing

The sports industry & ticket promotions

Sports teams frequently run promotions to increase ticket sales and draw new fans to the sport. The New England Patriots might run an opt-in SMS campaign in their stadium programs: “Text PATRIOTS to 454545 for a chance to win tickets to the Superbowl”. A message like this is bound to get traction from football fans and the opt-in functionality means that marketers will be able to send future marketing material to these fans and build loyalty. The more ticket promotions and contests they run, the faster and larger their opt-in database grows. This has an obvious effect on ticket sales and helps sports marketers understand what kind of promotions work and what level of engagement fans are willing to commit to.

Scores and stats by SMS

With the advent of side industries like fantasy teams, fans are as involved in sports as ever. Real-time score updates and statistics sent via SMS are an easy way to keep fans up to date with their favorite team and creates a channel of communication that the fans learn to trust, enabling future promotions or communication. For obvious reasons, scores and stats are what fans are most interested in and it’s important for teams to deliver the information that their audiences want.

Team schedules

Sports seasons can sometimes be quite haphazard with teams qualifying and not qualifying for a host of different competitions. Taking an example from English soccer, a team can be involved in as many as four different competitions at once – and many of the competitions require qualification, meaning that there’s bound to be some reshuffling of games during the season. SMS marketing can reduce fan anxiety by keeping fans informed of the latest schedules and team announcements. This is bound to directly influence attendance at games, particularly if fans are traveling to an ‘away’ venue. In turn, this maintains a healthy audience and revenue base for sports teams.


Piggybacking off of databases collected through other promotions, merchandisers can alert fans to merchandise sales and promotions. An example of a way that this sort of promotion was leveraged came earlier this year when PSG bought the Brazilian soccer star Neymar from Barcelona. The PSG merchandise store was overwhelmed with people clammering to buy replica shirts with the new player’s name on it. This is what a little marketing can do.


Just how is SMS marketing so effective for the sports industry? It’s more affordable than traditional marketing outlets, it’s extremely efficient, and the ubiquity of SMS means that marketers can reach almost every fan. This helps build loyalty in their fan base, attract new fans and keep fans updated on current news and events. But the sports industry isn’t the only industry leveraging SMS. Our latest article highlights six major industries that are making use of SMS marketing. Can you afford not to use this channel?

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