A new survey from Cascade Influencer indicates that influencer marketing is fast becoming a staple marketing channel for sports teams across both the US and Canada. More than 65% of sports marketers agree that influencer marketing programs are a necessity for a brand’s success in today’s world.

It may come as no surprise then, that 45% of teams increased their influencer marketing budget in 2018, with nearly 25% of sports marketers having spent more than $20,000 on influencer programs.

In addition to financial investment, it also revealed that managing influencer programs takes time in order to be strategic and effective in approach. For brands, the top benefits of putting time into influencer marketing are driving social media engagement around a product or brand (22%) and creating authentic content about the brand (20.4%). Sports brands measure the success of a program by looking at engagement (37.8%), reach (20.7%) and follower growth (19.8%), and track follower growth (42.3%) more than any other metric – including coupon code usage and unique urchin tracking modules – to gauge the success of their influencer programs. “When compared to organisations similar in size in other industries, sports entertainment companies are much slower to adopt influencer marketing,” said Matt Diteljan, co-founder at Cascade Influencers. “While other industries have been pouring money into influencer marketing for years, sports entertainment companies are just now starting to jump on the bandwagon.”When it comes to challenges in influencer marketing, determining whether influencer marketing is right for the brand came out top (31.7%). There is still plenty of work to do with educating sports entertainment brands about the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) regulations, as the survey revealed 55% of sports teams are not aware of the regulations. FTC is an independent agency of the US government, with a mission to promote consumer protection and eliminate poor business practices. As influencer marketing continues to grow, sports marketers will need to brush up their knowledge of the regulations if they want to avoid penalties. The aim of Cascade Influencer’s research was to better understand how sports and entertainment brands are currently using influencer marketing, and how they plan on using influencer marketing in 2019. A variety of professional sports teams were surveyed.
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