Sporting Moments

How can brands score big at sporting events

With EURO 2024 underway, we’re seeing a wealth of brands step up to the plate to capture the attention of the nation in a relevant and inspiring way. There’s no doubt that football is incredibly emotive and passionate - but how do brands find connection with these fans that’s different, relevant and memorable? For marketeers delivering experiential and media – the end goal is almost always the same – what value can they offer to consumers that only their brand can do? How do they drive brand love via major sporting moments that feels special to the consumer?

Watching sports, playing it, preparing for it, talking about it… it’s a unique category where every element shows fans want richer experiences. They know sports is highly commercialised, but it’s a category where its actively welcomed for brands to add to their experience.

84% wanted more from brands, saying that if brands were to invest more in creating engaging experiences for fans, it would enhance their perception and preference for the brand.₁

Here are a few of our tips on how to best plan with Westfield Rise…

Giving fans the space to be fans – the evolution of the fan zone experience

Experience trumps ‘stuff’ – we know the boom of the experience economy and shift for what people want in the real world is changing. People expect more than a screen showing results of the sport, a free teddy, and a generic line of support from a brand. Fan zones have evolved to lever technology where it matters – to give supporters something unique that aligns with the brand positioning, whether that’s live streaming, capturing the highs and lows in real time, tapping into a local culture or local team quirk… brands need to show understanding of how fans prepare, support and share their love of the game to others. Understanding the end-to-end experience of the whole sport or event is important – how can a fan zone become the crucial touchpoint in the full omnichannel experience? Could it be as unique as a time portal immersive theatre experience such as Stella Artois and Wimbledon? Or even creating a fan festival and new way to experience a new sport entirely – like what Imagination agency so cleverly created at Trafalgar square for Major League Baseball. Don’t be restricted to a tent, screen and some deck chairs…

Screenshot 2024-07-03 100903
Imagination agency: Major League Baseball, Trafalgar square

The big wow moments: be agile, reactive and surprising

One of the unique reasons why brands come to Westfield Rise is that we have the control and the private spaces to do (almost) anything a brand can think of. We’re not limited by city restrictions, rate card spaces and rules from third parties we can’t influence. One thing we can never be sure of, is the turnout of a match – but we can surprise fans by reactive media and spaces that celebrate the big moments. One of our favourites was back in 2017, Mo Farah had his final major track race at the Stratford Olympic Stadium. We worked with Nike and multiple agencies to deliver a unique, custom-made reactive 25m x 10m billboard to spectators leaving the event. The message spoke to all the fans, in not only celebrating Mo’s event that night, but brought a sense of pride to be a Londoner and recognise Mo’s contribution to the sport, with, of course, the support of Nike.

Reactive doesn’t always mean switching on a digital campaign – there’s a surprising amount of quick turnarounds and impact sites that showcases creativity from brands at the right time and place.

Mo Farah Banner
For months, we had been working on a statement around this athlete and moment and we were looking to find the right media channel to help deliver the statement at the right place and at the right time. Where we landed with this team was not merely an OOH site, but an execution that added so much to the delivery of statement that won the hearts and minds of many fellow Londoners. Around sporting moments, we are always tasked by our leadership team to deliver executions that “only Nike can do” and this one was just that.
Kate SchmudeBrand Media Director, Nike

Be there for the long-term: Grassroots and authenticity

Large scale, brand building sponsorships of elite athletes and professional sports is one thing. Using that passion to truly engage and inspire fans, on a grassroots level, is another. The ability for brands to reach communities and give them opportunities to participate beyond watching a screen is powerful. We love giving brands the space to activate and inspire a new generation of athletes in creative ways. Giving girls the tools and inspiration to play football, or local communities to find a fun space that gives them social clout and new experiences (think Rooftop football at Westfield Stratford) is just a starting point of what we’ve helped create with brands in the past.


Major sporting events are one of the few remaining major collective moments for live tv, and brands typically want to tap into a rare instance when tv audiences aren’t drastically fragmented. The same goes for live experiences, but there’s even more opportunity for brands to have a lasting effect for genuine connection. 2024 seems like a jam packed year of sporting events for brands to make their mark.

1The Power of Fandom – Leveraging experiences for authentic fan engagement, Imagination, 2024