The Unpredictable Battle of Americas – A ‘Lottery’ for Sports Marketers


The Copa America finals between the archrivals Argentina and Brazil is going to be a real feast for football lovers across the globe during the pandemic Covid19. The football world will join behind these two powerhouses of world football. For the new generation, it is the face-off between Messi and Neymar. For the old generation, it is a war between Pele’s Brazil and Maradona’s Argentina. In many countries like India, these two teams possess more fans than their national teams and the other top teams of the world. Whatever is our reason to love or hate Argentina or Brazil, it is going to be a lottery for the sports marketers associated with Copa America such as organizers, broadcasters and sponsors.

The world is waiting to watch the finals. Definitely more number of people will be interested to watch the final between Argentina and Brazil than a final without one of these teams. The logos of the sponsoring brands displayed in the different areas of the stadium and in the apparel of the players all conquer the heads and hearts of more people.

This is a golden moment in sports marketing because all the four unique Ps of sports marketing blend perfectly to give the best results for sports marketers. Eleven Ps of Sports Marketing is developed by sports management guru Sijin B T and sports management researcher Dr Indulekha R by combining the four Ps of product marketing, three Ps of service marketing and the unique four Ps of sports marketing. Performance, Players, Politics and Predictability are the four unique Ps of the Sports Marketing Mix developed by Sijin and Dr Indulekha.

These elements included in the marketing mix are important in deciding the efficiency of product / Service / Sports marketing. Compared to product marketing and service marketing, sports marketing is very complex, especially at the professional sports level. The four Ps of sports marketing gives clarity to the elements which make sports marketing complex.

The 4 Ps of sports marketing

1. Performance

Past and present performance of the team will be an important element in deciding the marketability of the team, it’s game and the products (Example: Club merchandise) and services (Example: Coaching Programmes) associated with the team. A match between two top-performing teams will attract more people than a match between one top performer and an average performer or a match between two average teams. A tourist visiting England will prefer to visit top performing team’s sports museums compared to the museums of trailing teams.

In the case of the Copa America final, Argentina and Brazil are traditional football powerhouses. Their past and present performances signify their crowns in the football kingdom.

2. Players

Imagine Argentina team without Lionel Messi in the Copa America final. The world will lose its interest to watch the final. The value of El Clasico between Spanish football giants Real Madrid and FC Barcelona declined globally when Cristiano Ronaldo left Real Madrid. Reason, for the majority of new generation football lovers, El Clasico is not a faceoff between Real Madrid and FC Barcelona, but the faceoff between Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.

The presence of certain players has a great influence in enhancing the value of the marketability of teams. Even today, American professional soccer club New York Cosmos known as ‘Pele’s Club’ and Argentine club Boca Juniors as ‘Maradona’s Club’. That’s the value of super players.

3. Politics

Political, diplomatic and controversial elements always play a great role in enhancing the value of a match between two teams. For example a cricket match between India and Pakistan. Every Indo-Pak encounter in Cricket World Cups attracts more spectators than the finals. A world cup final between India and Pakistan is on the bucket list of every cricket fan and cricket promoter.

Normally, Indo-Pak faceoffs in other games do not get the attention cricket and hockey (especially in the past) get. But imagine a faceoff between India and Pakistan boxers. Indian boxer declares, “I will kill him for my country and for our soldiers.” Suddenly that jingoistic statement will increase the attention of that match.

The relationship between Argentina and Brazil is complex which revolved from war and rivalry to friendship and alliance. Even though they have inherited a series of unresolved territorial disputes from their colonial rulers like India and Pakistan, it will not have much influence in the Copa America final.

But the “Battle of the Americas,” the rivalry between Argentina and Brazil, is ranked top in the list of rivalries between national sides by ESPN FC, a U.S. television studio programme covering soccer. The geographical proximity and the history of controversies such as arguments between Pele and Diego Maradona over who was the greatest of them all are enough to make this Copa America final a sure super hit.

4. Predictability

Unpredictability makes sports beautiful and attractive. The high predictability of a match decreases its spectator interest significantly. If the result is unpredictable, it will increase the spectator’s interest. Even most of the hardcore Indian cricket fans will not be interested in an India vs Zimbabwe match, because the probability of India’s win is high always. But if Zimbabwe wins the first match, the second match between these teams will become unpredictable. It will increase the spectator interest of the second match.

The unpredictability of the Argentina and Brazil faceoff is too high and that is evident from the statistics. Argentina and Brazil met head-to-head 107 times and Brazil won 43 times and Argentina 39 times. In Copa America, they met 33 times, Argentina won 15 times and Brazil won 10 times. What a thrilling statistic!!

Every time we watch an Argentina-Brazil game, it is different. The next Copa America 2021 Final – It will certainly be different and its unpredictability.. it is at its peak!!

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