How football can embrace the branding opportunities of sound

Football is so visually cluttered that sound is perhaps a better way for brands and sponsors to connect to audiences, argues Roscoe Williamson, Head of Branding at MassiveMusic. So long as you bring the fans with you

Football is a sport fuelled by sound. From the roar of the crowd when the ball hits the back of the net, to the club anthems that echo around stadiums as teams enter the pitch, the experience itself is very much a sonic one. Matches that lack any significant atmosphere or fan involvement are considered to be lacklustre in terms of enjoyment. It’s what spinach is to Popeye – and brands are starting to clock on.

Competitions and sponsors are slowly but surely trying to implement sonic strategies to stand out from competitors, and with good reason. In a study by Katz Marketing, 79% of consumers correctly identified FOX’s coverage of NFL football through its theme music – recreating this is becoming a universal goal as brands in football look to increase recall and dominate an already crowded space. In order to achieve genuine cut-through, they should be daring in their approach and show an appreciation for the traditions of the sport while improving the overall experience for the fans.

In contrast, American sports’ use of sound is widespread. The NBA has taken ownership of hip-hop and rap music, while the NFL often uses gladiatorial-style entrance music. Fans will often be prompted to chant or reminded of a club sponsor regularly over the course of the game. The difference in football is that fans don’t want to be told when to chant or how to do it. They can however be guided and encouraged.