This year’s women’s World Cup final was watched by 23 million in the U.S. alone, generating an estimated 9 billion (yes, billion) tweets worldwide and $40 million in ad revenue. Much of the focus has been on the fact that a women’s sporting spectacle could attract such colossal audiences, but it’s also a sign that sports in general present a key opportunity for brands—men’s or women’s. And yet, media outlets were slow to sell against the women’s World Cup, and brands generally failed to catch the buzz.
Agile companies like Ford and Nike are getting great brand for the buck by following the NBA into Africa, while others like Mercedes Benz and Starbucks are less sporty and opt for heavy-handed product placement in big-budget movies like Jurassic World. Live events are more rich in possibilities than ever: Now they’re one of the few things we watch together, while social media generates unprecedented excitement across the twitterverse in real time. 4 million watched the Graybo replay of Roger Federer’s tweener at Wimbledon, the stuff branding dreams are made of. Is your business exploiting live sports events to grow your brand?