John O’Neill: Paris Olympics and Paralympics pose huge advantage for brands. Are you ready to play?

QMS Chief Executive Officer John O'Neill (1)

The Olympics and Paralympics allow brands to associate with athletes and the fans who adore them.

By John O’Neill, chief executive officer at QMS

It was one of the biggest sporting moments in recent Australian history, one that captivated and united the nation.

The Matildas’ fantastic performance in last year’s FIFA Women’s World Cup proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that sport has the power to reach and engage with incredible numbers of people in a way that few other things can. It also proved the power of sport as a marketing tool.

Although they are a wide and varied bunch, sports fans are united by their emotional connection. So deep is this connection that the love for a favourite team or athlete can form a huge part of their identity (I for one bleed black and yellow for the mighty Tigers). With the biggest sporting event in the world – the Paris Olympic and Paralympic Games – ready to kick off from 26 July, marketers need to remember the unmatched power of sport, and the results it can drive when brands are associated with it.

The Olympics and Paralympics are widely considered the pinnacle of sport – and sports marketing. Research by Kantar Consulting for the Australian Olympic Committee shows that the Olympics, like no other sporting event, connects Australians with the Olympic mindset, a way of living that helps overcome obstacles to find fulfilment.

It’s all about being your best self. That’s what people see in our athletes: people who can inspire others in whatever they do.

Not surprisingly, other research studies also show sport delivers the highest level of engagement versus other forms of content and drives higher recall for brands. Done right and in an authentic way, a sports marketing program gives brands a way to connect in the right context across various media, reaching passionate and focused fans at big moments.

And never forget that sport is the great leveller; it unites us all as we barrack for our team, country, and favourite athlete.

Sport can reach huge audiences and it’s particularly good at reaching and engaging younger audiences. It can be consumed across multiple media platforms, making it even more attractive for media owners and marketers to invest in. And, perhaps most importantly, sport sparks passion and devotion – qualities that most brands want to be associated with – among consumers and can drive attention, then intention, and ultimately sales.

Sport changes attitudes. Recent research by Idea Xchange for Paris 2024 broadcaster, Nine, found that 1 in 5 people surveyed were more likely to trial or purchase a product if a brand in question is a sponsor of their favourite sporting team (even higher among those under 45), while 1 in 6 were more likely to trust a brand that sponsors their favourite sporting team.

Sport also boosts inclusivity and social cohesion and reduces isolation, by uniting people from all backgrounds around a common passion. Team spirit, solidarity in the face of challenges, creativity, fair play – all of these qualities are as useful in everyday life and work as they are in sport.

Paris 2024’s ethos of “the Games for everyone” is based on the Olympics’ societal benefits. The organisers want to harness the Games to show that sport boosts inclusivity in ways that help society. In fact, the Paris 2024 Olympic Games will be the first gender-balanced Games in history, with an equal number of men and women competing. In a similar vein, nearly 350,000 visitors with disabilities will travel to Paris in July and August to watch the Olympic and Paralympic Games, making it a priority for Paris 2024 organisers to ensure these fans have a truly inclusive experience.

As The Media Ant (a marketing and media information website) observed last year, sports marketing is not merely a game; it’s a strategic move that can propel brands to extraordinary heights.

“By harnessing the power of sports, brands are impacted by brand visibility, build unwavering loyalty, and forge meaningful connections with consumers. As we navigate the ever-evolving landscape of sports marketing, one thing is certain: the game is changing, and those who embrace its power will emerge as winners. The game is on, and the possibilities are limitless. Are you ready to play?” it said.

That’s a good question. Are you ready to play when it comes to the Olympics and Paralympics? They are still the biggest events in the world and represent a strong opportunity for brands to find authentic ways to associate with the athletes, sporting communities and the fans who adore them.

With sport so interwoven into the DNA of all Australians, the Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games will be a unique opportunity to leverage the influence of outdoor media like never before, helping brands deliver diverse audiences at scale and extending reach in a completely brand-safe environment that is proven to make brands famous.

The countdown to Paris has well and truly started and we are thrilled to be a part of it.

See also: QMS lights up Paris 2024 Digital Screen Network, announces launch partners

To Top