Insights Strategy

2023 Sports Marketing Activation Guide: Top Sports Audiences for the Win

By Mareena Maki on September 14, 2023

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Mareena Maki

Senior Manager, Marketing

The momentum of sports viewership has been building all year and it’s about to hit its crescendo this fall with the return of NFL and college football. Big moments in sports such as the FIFA Women’s World Cup and the US Open has sports booming from both a viewership and advertising standpoint. For marketers—both brands looking to promote sporting events and teams, as well as everyday brands looking to connect with sports lovers—this intensified focus on sports poses both opportunities and challenges.  


Sports audiences are larger and more passionate than ever—but so is the competition for their attention. That means the key to success lies in sophisticated, cross-channel audience targeting.  


This year brings new opportunities for marketers to connect with sports fans and enthusiasts. Alliant helps brands and agencies activate the right audiences to drive performance and make marketers feel like champs. Alliant's unique view into advertiser spending includes details by brand and product propensity, along with purchase behavior categories. To help media buyers inform their strategies going into the ever-vital Q4 sports season, let’s explore the top sports-related Alliant Audiences used by advertisers and their media buyers for campaigns across digital, television, and social media platforms in 2022.  


Brand Propensity audiences are segmented by modeling known brand purchasers against Alliant's dataset of billions of multi-channel purchase transactions. By reaching consumers based on the brands they prefer, and their propensity to purchase, marketers can align themselves with the customers of brands that either complement their own or, as desired, are a part of their competitive set.  


Top 10 Brand Propensity Audiences  

1. Buyer 

2.  DraftKings Buyer 

3.  MGM Grand Hotel & Casino Buyer 

4.  Bass Pro Shops Buyer 

5.  Cabela's Buyer 

6.  Academy Sports Outdoors Buyer 

7.  Nike Buyer 

8.  Ticketmaster Buyer 

9.  StubHub Buyer 

10.  Under Armour Buyer 

Alliant brand propensity segments are modeled audiences built from 175MM+ credit and bank card transactions for specific brand purchases. 


Sports marketers shouldn’t stop at propensity, however. Audience strategies that employ propensity audiences in combination with demographic and behavioral segments can help media buyers add incremental value to their targeting efforts.  


For example, consider the below list of top sports-related purchasing audiences from 2022 in conjunction with the above propensity list. A ticket exchange and resale company aiming to drive ticket sales for a New York-based football game might want to consider activating an audience of East Coast sports fans in combination with the DraftKings brand propensity. Doing so in combination the Sports Enthusiasts purchase behavioral audience segment would make for an especially robust targeting strategy. 


Top 10 Purchase Behavior Audiences  

1.  Sports Enthusiasts 

2.  Crazy About Sports 

3.  Sports & Fitness Buffs 

4.  Entertainment & Pastimes 

5.  Health, Wellness & Fitness 

6.  Media and Entertainment Products 

7.  Fitness and Exercise 

8.  Mastercard Premium Card Holder 

9.  Action-Adventure Enthusiasts 

10.  Premium Affluent Consumers 

Alliant purchase behavior segments are deterministic audiences built from DTC transactional data derived from the DataHub for purchases across specific categories of products and services.  


Taking sports marketing and campaign targeting even further, let’s talk about interest-based propensity audiences. By bringing interest propensity audiences into the fold, marketers can transform social conversations and engagement data into actionable multi-channel opportunities. This social data layer, based on followers of specific sports-focused accounts or engagement with relevant hashtags, allows marketers to connect with sports fans around their passions.  


Top 10 Interest Propensity Audiences  

1.  Fantasy Sport 

2.  Sports TV 

3.  Golf Fans 

4.  College Football Fans 

5.  FIFA World Cup 

6.  Soccer Fans 

7.  Hunting 

8.  College Basketball Fans 

9.  Camping 

10.  NASCAR Fans 

Social media-based audiences built from followers of specific accounts or engagement with relevant hashtags. 


The above audiences translated into deeper connections and conversions for marketers in 2022 and promise to do the same during this year’s busy fall and winter sports seasons, particularly as sports command a higher level of viewer attention. As brands looking to reach sports fans plan their targeting strategies, they should employ multi-dimensional audience strategies designed to reach consumers with a high propensity to purchase. In doing so, they’ll want to seek out partners who have the ability to connect the dots across channels including digital, TV, and social. 


Alliant is relied on by thousands of brands and agencies because of our trusted people-based audience data available at scale across leading programmatic, TV, and social platforms. For more information on these top sports-related audiences, explore Alliant’s full taxonomy of over 2000+ audiences ready for activation for any sports marketing campaign. 


Sports Audiences Marketing Tips:

  • Include audience targeting in your campaign planning from the very start.
  • Think creatively about the sports-focused audiences most likely to be interested in your brand and offering. 
  • Build creative to resonate with sports fans and test multiple versions.
  • Use a blend of demo, propensity, and behavioral audience segments to find the right sports fans.
  • Build multi-channel campaigns that span TV, digital, and social.
  • Consider streaming television, as many live sports have moved to these platforms.
  • Measure results and optimize audience approaches as you go.
  • Put a strong attribution plan in place to inform future efforts. 

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