Marketing in sports: location based of proximity?

Location based marketing is becoming increasingly popular amongst companies and marketing agencies. What does it mean and how can this form of marketing be used in sports? In this article we will look into location based marketing and even compare it with proximity marketing.

Location based marketing vs proximity marketing

Location based marketing has been indispensable in the last few years when it comes to mobile marketing strategies of companies. Location based marketing defines the offering of information through a mobile device based on the location of that specific device. The difference between location based marketing and proximity marketing lies in the accuracy of the traced location. GPS and ‘geofencing’ are the beginning of location based marketing. A geofance is a virtual demarcation of a certain area that is determined through GPS. GPS however is not accurate enough to be used inside. Location based marketing is perfect for companies that want to target a specific but large area.

Proximity marketing is, as said before, a improved form of location based marketing. With proximity marketing, the communication with a user is relevant and personal. The use of a accurate location is something which makes proximity marketing more effective than location based marketing. With location based marketing, the locations have an accuracy of 50 meters, with proximity marketing this is only a few meters. Using this accuracy in a sports stadium, clubs can determine the exact location for someone in their stadium. Someone who is sitting in the fanatics stand will rather have a beer where someone who sits on the business stand would want a meal. In this way advertisements can be more effective.


The beacon technology is gaining popularity. Beacons are a way of determining the location of a mobile device through Bluetooth. Using the beacons, automatic advertising content can be load into the mobile device when it is passing this location. In order for the beacons to work Bluetooth must be turned on. Beacons only work in combination with a mobile app. An example of beacons being used for proximity marketing in sports: a sports fan scans his season ticket at the gate of the stadium and walks up to the fanatics stand. Next to this he gets a push notification in which the club welcomes him and thanks him for his undivided support. Beacons have a lot of advantages but also a few disadvantages. Examples of disadvantages are that mobile users without the club-app can’t be reached and users can not choose when to receive notifications.


Wifi can also be used for proximity marketing. This can be done by tracing the location of mobile users through wifi and using this in communicating offers or advertisements. This form of proximity marketing is mostly used at high density locations, such as event venues and football stadiums. These locations usually offer an own wifi connection which can track the location of its users. With the wifi that we provide in stadiums, locations of visitors can be traced with great accuracy.


Using GPS, one can track a location of a mobile device through a connection with a satellite. Nowadays smartphones with GPS are a standard. GPS is mostly used for location based marketing in a wider range. An example of this: someone is passenger in a train and this train passes the stadium of his favourite football club. He then gets a push notification with an advertisement from the club-app thanks to his location.

Possibilities of location based marketing & proximity marketing in sports

. in Indoor stadium tours

Proximity marketing can be used to offer indoor navigation for visitors of a sports stadium or accomodation. By directing visitors to the merchandise store or the betting stand, you can improve the matchday experience and the customer relations.

Personalized advertentising

This possibility has already been highlighted in this article. By using location based marketing or proximity marketing, a sports team can send personalised advertisements that are specifically targeted. An example of this is when someone who always buys a snack during half time, no gets an offer of two snacks for the price of one. By tracking the location, the club knows exactly when this person is in the stadium and when to send the offer


Where in the stadium do people buy the most? What gets bought in the stadium and where? These are questions which can be answered by using location tracking. Connecting mobile devices and club-apps with the wifi network, more specific data can be collected and analyzed.

Tracking the location of mobile users and using this for marketing purposes is becoming more important in the search for an effective marketing strategy. With a society where the individualization is ongoing, personalized marketing techniques are becoming an important asset. As mentioned before, BD Sport tries to anticipate on this trend. In every stadium where BD Sport is involved in the process of installing wifi, the wifi is combined with beacons and a dashboard in which all collected data can be viewed. For more info about location based/proximity marketing and how we use this in our work activities, feel free to contact us: and

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