Marketing Guidelines


Marketing is a key element at any sports event, also Beach Volleyball. In general, sports marketing may be divided into three sub sections: marketing of a sports federation, i.e. FIVB, a Continental Confederations, etc.; marketing of sports products, i.e. Beach Volleyball events; Beach Volleyball teams to attract public, media attention, etc. and lastly, marketing the sport to the public to increase participation. FIVB, as the governing Volleyball entity, is actively utilizing all three pillars of sports marketing, however in the below section, we will focus specifically on Beach Volleyball event`s promotion, inspirational ideas and examples that may act as a basis for new ideas.

Marketing at a Beach Volleyball event should be based on a strategic approach that helps the organizer to build strong customer relationships and create value for their customers and for themselves. An effective marketing strategy always starts with a good product and/ or a brand. FIVB has already invested a lot of time and resource to create an attractive Beach Volleyball brand which, at this time, can be used by the organizers to stage memorable Beach Volleyball events.


“We create brands in our heads because we need to make choices. Brands allow us to return safely to what we have tried and liked; and to never make the same mistake twice. People create brands because they are useful.”

Nial Fitzgerald, Ex-Chairman, Unilever

In the last decade Beach Volleyball has established itself as a brand, mainly through the colorful and dynamic elite level tournaments, the FIVB World Tour, but recently also through National and Continental level events worldwide. Combining the product, a sporting event, and the “personality”, the entertainment, side events, sport production at Beach Volleyball event, an attractive brand is borne. A brand that coincides with one`s lifestyle and makes a promise of an entertaining sporting event.


The beach of The Hague during SWATCH FIVB Youth World Championships

To reposition Beach Volleyball`s brand in the market the following definition has been established as of 2011: “Powerful, expressive and vibrant, Beach Volleyball is a showcase of physical strength and energy. Juxtaposing the explosive, dynamic and intense, stamina and strategy, this sport dances to its own tribal beat. Unsurprisingly compared to a contest in a gladiatorial arena, it’s a fusion of color, beauty and abundant athletic ability in a striking environment, producing a unique atmosphere that is electric, creative, vibrant, exciting and striking!”

To understand the positioning of Beach Volleyball in the market the values that are perceived by the audience should be considered:


Fun sport that first developed on Californian and Brazilian beaches by players that wanted to have fun while playing Volleyball on the beach in an outdoor environment with simple rules.


An image of fun, cool, trendy, professional beach sport to play, to participate in and attend in touristic destinations.

The following Vision has been designed by the FIVB to support the Beach Volleyball brand:

To create the most naturally vibrant, exciting sporting and entertainment spectacle.

The Vision is also supported by a defined Mission:

To promote the entertaining, expressive yet ultimate sporting values of Beach Volleyball around the world.

FIVB HEROES CAMPAIGNthis-is-beach-volleyball-400-477

Any sport needs heroes! They may be created at any level – National, Continental and World. The new Marketing and Promotional initiative with the FIVB Hero Campaign at its core intends to better involve the FIVB top players. This project forms an important part of the re-branding of the FIVB and is meant to increase the popularity of our sport by placing the athletes as “heroes” on center stage. We thus seek to promote the best Volleyball and Beach Volleyball players and the sport through them.

The selection criteria for those players were the following: 1) Either winners of major Beach Volleyball events or score high on ranking points; 2) Very popular in their home countries; 3) Relatively young (being able to play for at least another 3-4 years); 4) Have appeal and charisma.


FIVB believes that this is in the interest of all the Beach Volleyball family including athletes, fans, clubs, promoters, National Federations and Confederations. By creating at the same time role models for the young generation and global exposure for players, the Heroes Campaign could be of fundamental help in the development and promotion of Beach Volleyball. Please note: The FIVB Heroes campaign is a non-commercial campaign to promote Volleyball and Beach Volleyball globally and is not associated with any commercial party.

During the 2011 season, FIVB successfully unveiled the Heroes Campaign at selected FIVB events such as the Beach Volleyball Swatch World Championships in Rome, the World League Finals in Gdansk, the World Grand Prix Finals in Macau and the World Cup in Japan. At the same time the new website and FIVB Heroes channels on facebook, twitter and youtube were launched, where soon tens of thousands of fans started to interact with the FIVB Heroes, FIVB and each other. Within a few months the campaign and the imagery representing the campaign have become very popular with the global volleyball community. The FIVB Heroes campaign also plays a crucial role in the global promotion of FIVB's social engagement.

Rome, 16.-19.06.2011: Launch of FIVB Heroes campaign / Beach Volleyball section / FIVB Beach Volleyball Swatch World Championships powered by smart

After its launch in 2011 the FIVB Heroes Campaign will be further expanded and advanced over the course of time to reach an even wider audience. This second stage will include increased integration at FIVB events and on its media/online channels as well as the adaptation and creation of new tools and the presentation of the campaign on new “stages”, e.g. in new territories and surroundings around the world.

Following the example set by the FIVB, also Continental Confederations have tried to adapt the HEROES Campaign to their local needs. African Volleyball Confederation has acknowledged that becoming a “Heroes” raises the involvement of the athletes, and they are proud to promote the sport and act as idols for the young generation of athletes. Ms. ALAA, the CAVB Beach Volleyball Director, called the campaign inspirational.

China's Penggen Wu and Linyin Xu sign autographs for fans in front of the special statues of FIVB Heroes

MARKETING MIX - 4 Ps4-ps-of-marketing-mix-400-261

Marketing Mix – the four Ps determines the four key elements of a marketing strategy. These elements are operational and complement each other: Product, Price, Place (distribution) and Promotion. Marketing mix model may be easily applied to a Beach Volleyball event and helps one to determine the global marketing approach which should be taken to achieve the goals set for a successful Beach Volleyball event. Obviously, theory of marketing definitions may be interpreted and adapted to the needs of the specific product, would it be a high class Beach Volleyball, an amateur Beach Volleyball tournament or a Beach Volleyball camp for kids. In the below points, we present to you an idea that may help you to develop an appropriate marketing strategy for your specific activity.

Full stadium at The Hyundai Open Barcelona


Beach Volleyball event is an intangible product which consists of several elements which, when and if in harmony, form a successful sport event fulfilling the expectations of spectators, sponsors, partners and participants. The quality of your product, your Beach Volleyball event, is the core of all your Marketing efforts.


When talking about a Beach Volleyball event, as an organizer you are creating a service, which depending on the audience you would like to attract and the resources of the audience you would like to attract, you may set an appropriate price / entry fee for your service – a Beach Volleyball event. Most of the Beach Volleyball tournaments, especially in their first editions are free of charge for the spectators. This allows attracting also public that might not yet know they are interested in Beach Volleyball. Always remember to consult the customs of the country you are organizing the event in. Some countries are not accustomed to pay an entrance fee, and if an entrance fee is put, it should be always established in order not to jeopardize spectators` attendance. On this matter it is very important to be consistent in the way to communicate the event through all communication channels and at the venue. On the other hand, in some countries, quality sports events are with a paid entrance, which creates the image of the event as a high quality with limited seating, therefore urging public to buy tickets well in advance to secure their seat (s). In the long run, this could be also applied to Beach Volleyball events, but needs to be supported with a powerful promotional plan, positioning your Beach Volleyball event as an exclusive property, event. An example may be mentioned of the Grand Slam in Klagenfurt, which throughout the years has established itself as an elite sports event, attended by celebrities, and has a guaranteed returned guests/audience. The Grand Slam in Klagenfurt has become a benchmark, where spectators want to attend at no costs spared.


Placement of the product in the marketplace, and what sets a Beach Volleyball event apart from other sports events and what makes it a good investment should be established. Beach Volleyball event has several qualities that differentiate it from other sports. For example, the event is held outdoors in magnificent locations in both: beach and city settings. A Beach Volleyball event will depend on seasonality due to weather conditions, therefore requiring a prolonged communication around the event throughout the “low season” of Beach Volleyball (winter time) to maintain the “hype” about it.

Ten years for Shelda, ten years for Grand Slam in Gstaad … a cake to celebrate ten years of events with Brazilian Shelda being the only player to have attend all ten events

Also, in today`s perspective, Beach Volleyball stands as a brand; therefore attracting a certain target market – young people with a flexible, trendy, healthy lifestyle, many times, a beach lifestyle, and a substantial income.

In order to solicit players and sponsors successfully, and if applicable negotiate a television deal, you must be able to “sell” to everyone where your Beach Volleyball event takes place. Even if the chosen venue is a world known landmark and a spectacular tourist destination, there are other considerations to consider when choosing the perfect location for your event. Make sure you find out the terms to obtain a permit to hold the event, liaise with the respective city council, governmental entities concerning the available dates, price of the permit, sound restrictions, etc. Furthermore, make sure to evaluate a possibility of a long term agreement for the venue/ location creating a tradition by holding the event in the same location on the same date repeatedly.


Promotion strategy is based on finding the best media channels, activities, advertising to reach your targeted audience to promote your Beach Volleyball event. Promotion strategy would include the media operations and promotional activities, including any opportunity to have a “word out” about your event. Depending on how you define your Beach Volleyball event and what values you add, the Promotion will follow the concept. For example, your Beach Volleyball may be promoted as a Sustainable event by acting on sustainable activities, implementing a sustainable organizational structure, attaching a sponsor with an environmental responsibility to your event. Once the appropriate promotion strategy has been defined, an effective promotional plan will make sure you reach your goals. A successful promotional plan will include long term, short term and on-site activities to be implemented. As part of your developed promotional strategy, make sure your Sport Presentation program and elements complement it.


If you want to succeed in your quest for sponsorship funds and strong sponsorship relationships, you must ensure that you have access to people with relevant marketing skills, sufficient resources, a good strategy, a marketing plan and market research.

As part of organization`s strategic planning process a Marketing plan should be established. This plan will include how to market your organization and the Beach Volleyball event/ activity. Marketing plan will be closely tied with the Media Plan of your Beach Volleyball event. For detailed elements and aspects, please refer to the Features of a Media Plan in section Media Guidelines. Every marketing plan must be based on a market research, and needs to reflect your audience profile you are trying to reach, the number of people who will attend your event and channels through which you may reach your expected audience. Defining a marketing plan will help you to determine what makes your organization and the Beach Volleyball event appealing to potential sponsors.


Your goals and objectives should be synchronized with the ones set for all the promotional efforts – Media Plan, Promotional Plan, etc. What do you expect to achieve with the marketing plan? What are your organizational goals? How do these goals and this plan support these?


Define your target audience. Your audiences will be defined largely by your goals. Start by identifying the people you currently reach and those you are trying to reach to achieve your goals. Knowing the positioning of the Beach Volleyball brand in the market, you may also align the target market with the results that are already proven – Beach Volleyball attracts audience between 20-45 years of age, all races, trendy society, people for whom Beach Volleyball is part of their lifestyle, audience that enjoys sports in a combination with fun on the beach.


In order to identify the strengths and weaknesses of your Beach Volleyball event, you should examine issues within your organization that impact your ability to sell your event to your targeted market and to sponsors. Strengths and weaknesses are generally issues within your organization`s control.



Every threat provides an opportunity.

The next step is to analyse factors outside your organization that may affect your event – opportunities and threats. Once having determined the threats to your event, you may then reassess the situation and analyse how you can make these threats into opportunities.



Now that you have completed your SWOT analysis, it is time to plan your marketing strategy. In order to ensure your marketing strategy remains on track, you need to include the following information: objectives, rationale, strategies for achieving each of the objectives, mechanism to determine the outcome of each objective.

All plans require resources: information, time, advertising expertise, graphic design skills, media talent, equipment, office space and staff, as well as funds. In many cases, your marketing and promotional plans will be designed considering a set budget. Ask yourself the following questions to make sure you have the necessary resources:

resources-600-146As a next step, develop an action plan, as strategy is nothing unless actual actions are taken. Create a Master Plan with the actions, deadlines and the responsible parties to complete the actions. For details on the Master Plan please refer to Features of the Media Plan in section Media Guidelines.


The following are the elements you may want to develop in your Marketing Plan:


The purpose of this document being prepared.


State your target audience and what you know about it.


What are the key things that need to be achieved for this plan to be a success?


State your strategies and the rationale behind the strategies.


What may affect this plan within your organization?


What environmental factor may affect the event? Back-up plan?


Who are your competitors?


What factors are helping your event and what are restraining to achieve the goals set?


Where do you want to go?


How do you want to get there?


How will you know that you have achieved your goals?


When will you get there?


In a global strategy plan there are several activities/ step you may consider and gain inspiration to implement for your Beach Volleyball events. These combine activities enlisted in the Media and Promotional Plans as follows:






Media events / Conferences

Media cooperation with high circulation publications

Media cooperation with Host TV Broadcaster, domestic TV station, local radio

Event website and your organization’s website

Poster announcement

Press Releases/ Media Kit

Dedicated promotional materials

Live coverage

Social media (blogs, facebook, twitter, etc.

Event specific installations


Cooperate publications/ Sponsor’s publications

Footage distribution

Websites of FIVB, NFs, Confederations

Video screens, SMS, digital columns

Conventions and Speeches

FIVB / NF / Confederations publications

Highlights of your event

News / Sports / Volleyball websites



Video screen at your event


Events venue branding




Promotional events/ activities for the specific Beach Volleyball event.



Finding a sponsor for one`s Beach Volleyball event is not an easy task, especially for smaller organizations in countries where buying power is low. Plus, once you have them on board it is just as important to keep them. Beach Volleyball is an attractive vehicle for many commercial organizations. There are several values one may offer to an organization willing to sponsor a Beach Volleyball event, or Beach Volleyball team – they might contribute towards a National Championship or a National Beach Volleyball team that further may represent the country with the help of the respective sponsor at an international event or Olympic Qualification event. In return, such organizations will want value in return for their financial involvement.

Sponsoring organization may provide cash or product (s) (Value in Kind or VIK), or a combination of the two.

Mikasa inflatable displayed on the side of the center court
Sponsor Village at 1 to 1 Energy Grand Slam in Gstaad, Switzerland


Before approaching any sponsor, one has to determine what exactly may be offered to a sponsor, and what the benefits of a sponsor would be. At the present day, all organizations donating money will want a commercial value.

The following examples may be considered to be key benefits at one`s Beach Volleyball event for a potential sponsor, however make sure to also consider the cost to yourself to deliver these benefits and if it will be profitable for the organization.


Would the sponsoring organization benefit from being associated to your organization.


Would the sponsoring entity get the Official Sponsor title? Could they also be Official Supplier? For example delivering the Beach Volleyball balls, nets, uniforms for the athletes/ officials , etc.


Will there be a limited number of sponsors, therefore making it a more exclusive deal for the sponsoring entity. Could you define categories of sponsors and grant a higher category of sponsorship to the sponsoring entity?


Design a detailed layout of the venue and identify any possibilities where you may provide exposure to the sponsor – panels on the courts, flags, banners around the venue, backdrops for interviews, inflatable, etc.


Will you be able to feature the sponsor`s logo on printed promotional material, such as the poster, billboard, flyer, official event`s program, an accreditation card, etc.


Will they have an exclusive product category?


Do you have any publications a sponsor can advertise in? For example, on the official event`s website, in the official event`s program?


Can you obtain good commercial spot rates on the television? Do plan to televise a feature on the local television, where you could include and advertising of the sponsoring entity?


Athletes play a crucial role in the benefits of a sponsor. Do you have a possibility to have athletes attend sponsoring organizations official functions, or create promotional activities during the event involving the athletes?


Do you have access to high ranked persons, celebrities, known personalities on TV, etc.? Would they be able to appear at certain activities/ occasions?


Will you be able to provide tickets of your Beach Volleyball event to the sponsoring entity? Will you be able to assign to the VIP accreditation and some catering benefits?


Will you be able to provide Hospitality to the sponsoring entity during your Beach Volleyball event?


Can sponsors produce premium products and can they sell them at the venue of your Beach Volleyball event?


Be creative, and see if any other opportunities arise during your event which may be used to add value to your potential sponsor.

UK Prime Minister David Cameron playing with the Mikasa (credit Reuters) before the Olympic Test event in London
Visa FIVB Beach Volleyball – the Olympic Test Event

Making an example of the Beach Volleyball Continental Cup, as FIVB had managed to involve Mikasa as a supplier of ball, nets and antennas (and uniforms for the final stage of the event) for the entire event, in return Mikasa has been granted 3 panels on the centre court in strategic locations. All the remaining panels and exposure at the venue creates opportunities for the Beach Volleyball Cup events` organizers to be offered to their local sponsors.


Court layout and the positions of the panels granted to the international sponsor Mikasa


Example: Sponsors flags at the Seoul Challenger 2011

Example: poster of a CEV Continental Cup leg in Kazan (RUS)
Example: 2011 VISA FIVB Beach Volleyball International Olympic Test Event Press Conference


Example: Staff & athlete uniforms at the FIVB SWATCH World Tour in Quebec (CAN)



The below colourful layout represented the commercial opportunities that have been created by the organizer of the FIVB SWATCH World Tour Grand Slam in Moscow, Russia. Obviously, creating such opportunities also add costs, however the return of investment may be worthy to finance your event. The below template should be seen as a source of ideas what you can sell at your Beach Volleyball event.



Once you have determined the available opportunities you may offer to a sponsor, it is crucial to prepare an appropriate presentation. How will you present the available benefits to a potential sponsor? It will usually depend on the budget available; nonetheless, the presentation must be professional.



Having determined the available opportunities, and having prepared a presentation of your proposal, it is necessary to identify key organization to approach. As a recommendation, first look at the companies that might have similar values with your Beach Volleyball event, or your organization in general: Performance, Quality, Development, Education, Excellence, and Heritage. Choose them carefully, and remember that financial institutions, like car producers, airline companies, telecommunications, and major industries are good targets. These organizations usually foresee a budget for sponsorship; therefore if your proposal is successful and is able to convince the sponsoring entity that the values of your two organizations are the same, you might have a solid sponsor in your pocket. Before deciding which organization to approach, make sure you do your research – has this organization already sponsored sports event? What can you offer better than the previous sponsored event?


This is the most difficult part. A personal introduction is the best, as you meet directly with the person that is the decision maker and present the proposal. In case, the direct introduction is not possible, send an official letter requesting a meeting to present your proposal. Make sure you research the organization and know who might be the person in charge of such matters. Letters might get lost or delivery delayed if addressed to the wrong person in the organization, therefore follow up with a phone call to make sure letter has been received and reached the right person. Also make sure your first contact (be it written or personal) is interesting enough to seize organisation`s attention to hear your proposal.



Contra Sponsorship occurs when a sponsor pays for their sponsorship with products or services instead of cash. When negotiating for Contra Sponsorship, make the following considerations:

Sponsors` Beach Volleyball Tournament
  • Contra Sponsorship is only of value to you if:
    1. You have budget specific item already;
    2. It adds value to your other sponsorship packages. For example, if you have secured a sponsorship deal with a hotel, you may offer accommodation to your stakeholders.
  • If the Contra Sponsor is saving you cash, they are as valuable to you as a fully cash sponsor and they need to be treated at the same level. This will relieve your organizational budget and will decrease direct cash flow.
  • You still need money to run your event, and then try to negotiate in way that the Contra Sponsorship is only a component of the deal.


When entering into a sponsorship agreement, the hope is always that the sponsorship will go perfectly and the terms of the contract will never be called upon. Unfortunately, this is not always the case.

Always have some sort of written agreement in force. The more formal the agreement, the more likely it will be complete and legally binding.

Athlete and Sponsor party at the FIVB World Tour Open in Phuket, Thailand


Acquiring new sponsors is not the hardest part – servicing your sponsor is when the real work begins. Sponsorship is all about building and maintaining long term relationships. The main responsibility of organizations receiving sponsorship is to build positive relationships with their sponsors by ensuring that all agreed benefits are provided within the negotiated time frame and form. It is also important to supply your sponsors with information, feedback and research results that will assist the sponsor in determining their objectives have been met. Providing sponsor with only contracted benefits and a post event media report means you are doing only half of your job.

Once you have acquired your sponsorship, it comes down to three steps:

  • Develop a sponsorship plan
  • Implement a sponsorship plan
  • Evaluate a sponsorship plan.

Another important recommendation is to manage your sponsor with a few actions to keep them happy: provide a detailed information kit including key contacts, responsibilities, deadlines, sponsorship plan, logo approval process, artwork preparation procedure and/ or any other information that would streamline the sponsorship process. In order to maintain the relationship, hold regular meetings. This will ensure that you are aware of the situation and goals at all times, and will ensure that you keep on top on possible development or trouble areas. Also, make sure you keep your sponsor updated in writing as well, especially if your meeting may not take place often. And finally, make sure you put everything writing. This way you will have a resource if something does not get done, addressed or verified.



Market research has identified top five ways to promote an event: Word of mouth; Press releases; Social Networking; Community Newspapers and Websites and Sponsors.


  • Talk about your event with others;
  • Information spreads easily through people talking with each other;
  • Individuals are more likely to attend an event if their friend is going and speaks highly of it;
  • Make your event sound interesting and unique.


  • Write press releases and send them to TV, radio stations, websites, specialized magazines and newspapers;
  • Decide which Media to contact depending if your event is localized, national or international;
  • Invite journalists to the event so they can report on it.


  • Social Networking sites are one of the best ways to promote to people;
  •,, are among hundreds of other websites that you can use to generate buzz quickly;
  • Promoting your event in this outlet is generally free or low cost.


  • Listing an event in Community websites is a simple and effective way to reach your audience;
  • Many people tend to read the “events” section to quickly see what is going on in the area.


  • The relationship with your sponsors is vital to organizing a good event;
  • You can promote your event on their website in their store by displaying flyers and posters and even through newsletters and mailings.
Signing SWATCH autographs are Ingrid Torlen (left) of Norway and Spaniards Raul Mesa (center) and Inocencio Lario


Athletes may act as the greatest advocates for your Beach Volleyball event. Their participation has a crucial value. An example is also, Swatch, through the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour makes an agreement with a set of athletes that represent Swatch as Swatch Pro Team. These athletes are asked to take part to certain promotional activities for Swatch, take part to the Swatch promotional video filming, sign their autographs on Swatch created postcards at the Beach Volleyball event, etc. This has proved to be an excellent tool for Swatch to align its values with Beach Volleyball World Tour values representing: excellence, best athletes in the world, lifestyle and others.

Victoria Altomare of Canada autographs a mini-Mikasa for a fan at the 2011 FIVB Swatch Junior World Championships in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada



The Spirit of FIVB, and the companion volumes the Spirit of Beach Volleyball and Spirit of Volleyball, developed by the FIVB TV and Marketing Department, sets out the brand positioning, visual and behavioral style to encourage and inspire everyone who seeks to engage with the sport and its brands. These books supply a best practice guide to ensure that Volleyball continues to excite, grow and deliver at the highest levels in sport.

Obviously, this publication, has been based on the FIVB event structure, however may be looked at as an inspirational tool to seek best possible exposure opportunities when presenting Beach Volleyball as a Brand.

One may find ideas and seek advice when selling Beach Volleyball as a product and establishing partnerships, sponsorships, etc.

Please contact FIVB TV & Marketing Department for further details on the edition of THE SPIRIT OF FIVB.

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