Sports Banter can be fun, but it can also be destructive
Loyal fans of various sports teams love to display their support and pride. No matter what the level of competition, women, men, boys, girls, no matter what the sport, we talk up our teams. We also talk down other teams. We “trash talk” other teams and cities here in the United States. It’s called “banter” in the UK. In both countries, the fun can become ugly, if we’re not careful.
Banter as Marketing Tool
The National Football League uses banter effectively in its advertising. The Giants fan in the elevator with an Eagle’s fan. The series of commercials with the son-in-law Raiders fan, sharing holidays with his wife’s Kansas City family. It’s fun because it’s not ugly. The NBA presented a brother-sister feud yesterday. The brother was a Milwaukee Bucks fan and the sister a New York Knicks supporter. It was cute. Because cute works, the league sells more jerseys.
In the UK, banter between supporters is constant. The EPL gives way to the teams on merchandise sales. The individual teams promote their kit and gears. The fans buy kit. They don’t need television to make the point. Team and League sponsors promote banter more than the teams.
Sponsors and Banter
Banter attracts sponsors desiring a simple message. So, a beer company sponsors the team. They use banter to make that known. While international competition offers a wide range of targets, sponsors of the US Men’s National Team (#USMNT, soccer) produce commercials poking fans of the Mexican National Team. Commercials supporting the Women’s National Team (#USWNT) include less banter and more positive affirmation. Since the Women defend their World Cup Championship in 2019. look for banter to pick up.
The sponsors want credit for their support. They generate excitement for their teams. Hopefully that excitement leads to sales.
Social Media Opportunities
The smart social media user uses banter year-round. Sports loyalty promotes look-ins when creative. So your specific banter strategy depends on your targets:
- Cities/regions with popular teams
- Metro/Regional rivalries (Auburn/Alabama, Florida/Florida State)
- National banter (Army/Navy, Yankees/Red Sox, Dallas/Washington)
Recognize what works in your area.
Banter creates problems on social media when you show your passion. Saints fan? Excellent. Hate Atlanta? OK, unless you’re marketing to potential customers/clients in that city. Therefore, ff your business focuses on a more local base, let your flag fly!
Just be sure you don’t go too far. Be cautious with heated rivalries. For example, after the “Iron Bowl”, banter often leads to violence. Avoid promoting anger. New Orleanians don’t like references to Hurricane Katrina. Additionally, Atlanta residents aren’t fond of references to Sherman’s March to the Sea. Keep your banter at a fun level. While your fellow fans love the fun memes, fans of your opponents turn away from insults.