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The Internet Society

is ready made for enthusiasts. In addition to the official Manchester United Web site, there are dozens of sites dedicated to the team. The newsgroup postings run into thousands every month and there is a minute by minute analysis of every move in on-line media sites as well.

Internet sponsorship has a host of advantages. The first is that the sponsor can target the audience with great precision. As long as the symbiosis between an the sponsored activity and its interest group match the marketing need, then the match is 100%. Unlike all other forms of sponsorship, this is target marketing at its finest.

The second advantage is that the events and activities of the sponsored activity provide every reason for the netzine to return to the site on a regular basis, and can be encouraged to do so.

The appeal of a sport, music or other sponsored activity already attracts netzines to particular sites. While sponsorship can aid added interest in the site, there is already a considerable real or pent-up visitors presence. In addition a wide range of portals encourage visits to sports and cultural sites providing excellent third party promotion. There would seem to be less resistance to advertising on sponsored sites than for other forms of internet advertising. There are also many opportunities to look for added value links and third parties.

ESPN, has been a leader in sport marketing on the Web. ESPNet SportsZone39 is often cited as providing the best example of the future of the media in Cyberspace. Three years ago (when the Internet Society in the USA was only 47 million) ESPNet provided over 140,000 daily users with interactive games, up-to-the minute scores, game reports, feature stories, and statistics. Users are continually drawn to the site as a result of ESPN’s Web strategy. Its attractions include up to date fixture, scores and participant and rules information, chat and discussion groups about a wide range of sports. In addition to the free information it provides, access to real-time results and information, including streamed Webcasting for fee paying visitors, and, in addition, is a heavily sponsored site. Companies sponsoring football also sponsor the ESPN site.

Of ten million people on-line 1 million men and 600,000 women in the UK primarily use the Internet for entertainment40. Some 17% of American users of the Internet get sports information from the Internet and the majority do so more than once a week.

Translated to the UK this would represent 1.7 million users in mid 1999. On-line sports magazines such as ESPN in the USA, if translated to the UK would attract 28,000 daily visitors. By any standards it would seem that Internet sport sponsorship offers some considerable advantages.

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Article Series

This article is part 4 of a 12 part series. Other articles in this series are shown below:
  1. Interactivity
  2. Brand Performance
  3. Online PR
  4. Sponsorship Marketing
  5. Brand Attacks
  6. Cyber Counterfit Sales
  7. Internal Communications
  8. Cyberstalkers
  9. Protection from Cyberstalkers
  10. Investor Relations
  11. Share Scams
  12. Protecting Investors
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