How Would Russia’s Ban from Olympics and Football World Cup May Impact Marketing Trends

Marketing Trends 2020: We know now the power of content and its larger impact on global and local marketing campaigns, especially if there is a negative development related to fake news and technology abuse. Russia’s doping ban will lead to a dramatic loss in traffic, revenue and popularity for Russian-centric brands.

“Life isn’t about what you have but the gifts you are given.” –  17-time Paralympic medalist Tatyana McFadden.

We may not see the repeat of a Nadia Comăneci syncing the Perfect 10 as a gymnast in an Olympic Games. For Football lovers, the entire Russian squad could be out of the UEFA Euro 2020 in the Qatar FIFA World Cup 2022. These are big updates if you have a Marketing campaign designed specifically to target audiences and users attending such global mega-sporting events.

Following WADA’s commitment to strengthen its anti-doping policy, Russia has been unceremoniously banned from all major sporting events, starting today. This takes out Russia’s sporting teams out of two major sporting events – the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Football’s 2022 World Cup in Qatar. The implications of this ban on the Marketing and Retail industry could be immense, given Russia’s growing muscle in football and its historical performance in the Olympic Games (Summer and Winter both).

As a marketer, you should learn how Russia’s ouster from the sporting arena could dent your campaigns badly, especially if you are in the businesses of Sports merchandise, TV Advertising, Entertainment and Media, Social Media, and Retail.

Marketing Trends 2020 May Suffer Due to Russia’s Vibrant Internet Demography

Russia has one of the most impactful ratio of number of sportsperson per 1,000 individuals. It’s a gold-mine of data for sports analytics firms and BI platforms.

Russia has a rather unique Marketing advantage. It’s average population is below 40 years, and come with a life expectancy of 71 years and more. The 144+ million nation boasts of producing one of the highest numbers of sporting professionals in all categories. These professionals are both consumers and influencers of Marketing and Advertising platforms. It’s own MarTech community is bubbling with new sports analytics firms, such as ICEBERG.

The doping ban may jeopardize the immediate future of these players and analytics professionals who are closely associated with all major sporting teams participating in such events.

Losing Attention of 75% of the Russian Population

For the western media and internet Marketing companies, Russia may not be a go-to destination when compared to North and Latin America, Western Europe or South East Asia. However, Russia still enjoys a sizeable internet base and it retains a very high percentage of loyalty towards Content, Video, Social Media and Email Marketing campaigns.

According to an independent survey on internet usage, 75% of the Russian population is RuNet (Russians on Internet). This group accounts for the highest number of subscribers for dial-up, internet, cable, mobile, wireless and OTT satellite services. Russian doping debacle means that the internet marketers could lose potentially the entire RusNet population, accounting to loss in billions.

Going by numbers on social media, Russia has the fifth-largest (42 million) group of Instagram users. It is behind only the US, India, Indonesia, and Brazil in Instagram usage.

Countering the Fake News Business: A Key Feature in Marketing Trends

Russia’s absence and its history with doping policies could lead to an unstoppable rise of the fake news industry. This could put every Global Marketing and Social Media Intelligence campaign at risk, especially if the polls and content are directed at Russian Olympic Committee’s inability to control and reverse the ban.

Russian media is regulated by Roskomnadzor. The internet business is regulated via a centralized internet blacklist which is masked as a “single register”. Though it was conceived to arrest media content promoting and advocating drug abuse and trafficking in the country, the doping scandal has left deep impressions on its blacklist policy. In March 2018, the Russian lawmakers passed a bill that fines media companies for ‘disrespecting’ the sentiments of its people and for spreading fake news.

In effect, Marketing teams who could be targeting RusNet audience with their TV, On-demand Video and Sporting analytics related to the sporting events could find themselves sitting on the wrong side of the fence, just because they may not be covering the biggest sporting news in Russia’s absence.

Mass Purge of Russian Sporting Teams will Impact Regional Marketing Trends

E-commerce, retail and hospitality businesses could lose a large chunk of sporting-related revenue.

Russia, the official host of 2014 Winter Olympics at Sochi, has earned the most dubious distinction of losing the highest number of Olympic medals to doping scandals. Between 2002 and 2016, the country lost 51 Olympic medals to doping accusations. After hosting the 2018 FIFA World Cup, the ban makes it hard for both local and global marketing teams to bet their money on the Russian sporting teams.

A loss of revenue and followers across social media platforms are expected for branding companies that are tied to the events and promotion. Russian teams would lose out on their branding and merchandise sale opportunities. However, dope-free individual athletes can still compete in sporting events.

Travel and Tourism Business

There may not be a direct impact of this doping scandal on Russia’s internal travel and tourism business. However, with the teams losing out to participation in major events, Russians may not turn up at these events.

For example, Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games could see a dwindled Russian numbers and fans. As a neighboring country, marketers would miss out on a great opportunity in inviting and attracting visitors to Olympic Game venues that Russia had.

Marketing companies catering to the businesses associated with the hotel booking, flight tickets, trip planning, and numerous consumer goods related would have to bear the brunt of this WADA decision.

What Next?

WADA is neither keen about lifting the ban to back individual sportsmen nor about mellowing down on its stance to revoke its ‘blanket ban’ on Russia.

We would keep an eye on the event-based Marketing tactics that Marketing teams put up to the regional audience, especially when the odds are against the revoke policy. Losing the demography of one entire super-sporting nation definitely needs a serious Marketing maneuvering. The MarTech leaders we know about are not only capable of redesigning tactics and strategies arising from such disruptions, but also empowering in utilizing technology and human intelligence to benefit every consumer.

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