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Harnessing the Summer of Sport: A Golden Opportunity for Brands


The summer of sport offers a golden opportunity for brands to connect with consumers on a profound level. As millions of people worldwide tune into major sporting events, brands have the chance to not only promote their products but also communicate broader brand messages and foster a sense of community.

Having worked on a wide range of sporting campaigns, 72Point Group know the intricacies of running a campaign through an intense period of sporting events. So, on the 29th May at Bounce Farringdon, we decided to gather an expert panel including Bianca Westwood, Freelance Sports Journalist working with TalkSport and Jack Peat from JOE and The London Economic to really drill down into consumer engagement with this summer of sport.

Moderated by Sam Brown, Head of PR at 72PointPLAY, the event highlighted a range of insights, examples and sporting intelligence for a crowd of Brand, Agencies and Consultancies, all looking to gain cut through for upcoming campaigns.

The key takeaways from the event were:

Understanding your audience

To engage effectively, it's crucial to get beneath the surface of your audience's demographics and understand their values, lifestyles, and how they engage with sports. Are they die-hard fans or casual viewers? Do they prioritise tradition or are they more interested in modern, interactive experiences?

For example, younger audiences might value digital innovation and interactive content. Insights from OnePoll revealed the number of people, particularly young people who watch sports across multiple devices at the same time, a fact backed by Bianca Westwood who not only does this herself, but also noted that young people use notifications to keep up with real-time scores across different sports, while watching a great goal score on a 30 second TikTok.  Older audiences are more likely to appreciate nostalgia and the history of the sport consuming sports by watching whole matches or via television.

Tailoring your campaign using such audience insights can make your brand more relatable and engaging. Sports evoke strong emotions and a sense of belonging, making them ideal for conveying wider brand messages and building a loyal community around your brand.

Emotion and brand community

Sports are about more than just the games; they’re about inspiration, passion and pride.  Campaigns that evoke the thrill of victory, the agony of defeat, or the spirit of teamwork can resonate powerfully with sports fans. As noted by the panel, inspiration filters through and PR plays a powerful role in conveying both inspiration and aspiration. Recent campaigns highlighted by Jack Peat and Bianca Westwood as being particularly great at this include the Norwich City Football Club Mental Health Campaign from 2023 and Paddy Power hanging a photo of Jack Grealish in the Louvre, Paris.

By aligning your brand with these emotional experiences, you can communicate your values and create a sense of community. This approach not only helps in selling products but also in building a brand identity that people feel connected to and proud to support.

This approach can be particularly useful for brands operating in highly regulated industries such as tobacco, alcohol and gambling, who are always look for alternative routes to communicate about their brand and services. Bianca noted that Paddy Power were masters at this, providing funny campaigns which achieved the almost impossible by being highly engaging, whilst sensitive and non-offensive.

Social-first strategy

In today’s digital landscape, a social-first strategy is essential. Social media platforms are where conversations happen and where content can go viral, exponentially increasing your reach. Creating shareable, engaging content that encourages interaction can significantly boost your campaign's visibility.

Jack Peat keenly iterated that social media is a place where journalists and the media can see through direct data and comment both audience engagement levels and sentiment. Again, identifying the Norwich City Football Club campaign as an example of social leading the media pick-up. He went on to say that PR played the support role here, the video went viral and then the PR machine behind it made clear the purpose behind the message, creating a truly great campaign.

Visual assets and press releases

Press releases remain a valuable tool, Jack noted that reading press releases remains part of his day as a journalist but in the digital age, they need to be visually appealing to capture attention. High-quality photos, infographics, and interactive elements like quizzes can make your press releases stand out. Jack was clear, the first thing he does when a press release arrives in his inbox, is check to see if there’s a great digital asset to go with it.

Journalists are more likely to pick up stories that come with ready-to-use visual assets. A visually rich press release is more likely to get noticed and shared, making it an essential part of your media strategy. Additionally, as many journalists and media outlets also push via owned social media channels, these digital assets are perfectly placed to fully optimise coverage. Our design studio, Oath and photography arm, PinPep are masters at this.

Personalised outreach to journalists

When reaching out to journalists, personalisation and research are key. Jack noted that he’s not interested in many of the releases at land with him, as they simply aren’t related to what he or JOE does. He said that PR’s need to understand what journalists have been writing about recently and tailor the pitch to align with their interests. He also said that the best pitches he gets, clearly highlight why the story is newsworthy and relevant to their audience.

A well-researched, personalised approach shows respect for the journalist’s work and increases the chances of your story being picked up. Building these relationships can be beneficial for current and future campaigns.

Leveraging data for coverage

Data-driven content is a powerful tool for gaining media coverage. Statistics, surveys, and interactive data visualisations can make your story more compelling and provide journalists with valuable information. The panel agree that data and insights are at the heart of driving great campaigns, providing the necessary intelligence for planning, audience understanding, creative outputs, engagement and measurement.

Data adds credibility to campaign narratives, making them more attractive to both journalists and audiences. Leveraging insights to create Interactive maps, quizzes, and videos not only enhances engagement but can also drive social media interaction and coverage.


The summer of sport is an excellent time for brands to engage with consumers on a deeper level. By understanding your audience, harnessing the emotional power of sports, adopting a social-first strategy, using compelling visuals, personalizing journalist outreach, and leveraging data, you can create impactful campaigns that resonate with your audience and achieve significant media coverage. This strategic approach ensures your brand stands out in a crowded digital landscape, fostering a loyal community and enhancing brand identity.

Get the Summer of Sport Report, which is full of rich insights into how consumers will engage with sport across the summer of 2024, or watch the Bianca Westwood and Jack Peat discuss the insights.