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Ranko Cetkovic: “Crossbow shooting has a great chance of becoming a serious sport on a global scale”.


Sports marketing today has become an integral part of the global sports industry. This issue gives the exact answer to the main question - how to make money turning a sport into the source of treasured investments! The latest trends of sports marketing, ways and means of increasing the investment attractiveness of crossbow shooting - read all this information in an exclusive interview with our expert, assistant to Secretary General for Marketing of the National Olympic Committee of Croatia Ranko Cetkovic.

- Mr. Cetkovic, do you think it is possible to imagine the existence of a modern sports industry without marketing? What role does marketing play in the existence of a sport?

- Modern sport is unthinkable without marketing. A modern and high-quality sport cannot exist without a sufficient amount of money. Only marketing can provide the necessary amount of money. For illustration, I will use the Olympic Games. Until Juan Antonio Samaranch led the International Olympic Committee the Olympic Games had been a pretty poor competition. Samaranch introduced marketing to the Olympic Games. As the result, the Games are becoming more attractive, the results are getting better and the organization is spectacular. Marketing entered the Olympic Movement and along with it a lot of money did. A serious sport cannot exist without marketing. It's just a natural connection!

- There is an expression that sports organizations that have not yet realized how sport and entertainment relate suffer from “marketing myopia”. Do you agree with this expression? In your opinion, how to avoid "marketing myopia"?

- Sport is either a fun or a serious business. It's been a while since the Theodora Levita Marketing myopia thesis was published in the Harvard Business Review. That thesis helped greatly to understand the fact that a sport must be a business if it is to succeed. The most top executives who work in different sports make serious business of a sport. The modern organization of top companies is no different from the modern organization of sport and sports clubs. All this is possible with high-quality marketing. The one who has Marketing Myopia has NO SPACE in SPORT.

- The International Crossbow Shooting Union is always trying to develop. What positive trends could you note?

- The crossbow has two very important components which are important in the modern world. It is a historical fact that crossbow is tied to the wonderful stories of the survival of nations, states and people. These stories are noble and have a humane dimension that will persist for a long time in human memory. The crossbow is closely related to nature and its conservation. Conservation of nature is very high on the priority list of all responsible people in the world. Attractive promotions and competitions in the nature of a crossbow can significantly contribute to its popularity. These two dimensions must be kept in mind by IAU leaders when strategically planning a developed crossbow sport.

- And which components still need active completion?

- There is one essential component that IAU must take care of. This is the spread of the sport on all continents. Currently, the crossbow is present in Europe and somewhat small in Asia, other spaces are negligible. This fact limits the crossbow as a sport in its development. If you want to be a popular and high-quality sport with top performance competition you must be present on all continents. Without distribution there is no popularity and seriousness.

- You are a close and caring person for International Crossbow Shooting Union. How did you get to know this sport?

- I met the crossbow sport through William Tell. Movies on this subject impressed me especially with the way William Tell fought with a crossbow for his people. Later I learned that crossbow shooting had become a sporting discipline. Today it is a serious sport that has a historical dimension but also a sport that needs help to become a top sport.

- Now, let's talk about the problems! I mean sponsors. During the World Championship in Ulyanovsk and the IAU World Cup Final in crossbow shooting in Dubrava we had a positive experience of working with the media using a barter basis, but we still can’t establish relations with business partners. Why do you think crossbow shooting is not yet an attractive sport for investment?

- Working with the media and sponsors is very serious and long-term. Nothing can be done quickly in these two areas. It takes persistent, professional and long-term work. If you want to be interesting to the media you have to meet several criteria: you have to be spread on all continents, competitions must be attractive and watchable. If it`s not published by media, it never happened - that is the legality dictated by the media today. The media has some rules of its own that sport must follow otherwise they will not be interesting. Sport needs to adapt to the media and be persistent in tying them with them. Once the media enters the sport, then sponsors will appear. The story with the sponsors is also long-term and has its own peculiarities. It is important to the sponsors that the sport is in the media (visibility) and is widespread (high coverage - potential clients). These three entities: sports - media - sponsors are naturally connected and must be in the perfect relationship in order to be successful.

- As far as we know, each sport is associated with a certain way in the minds of consumers (for example, football is a team play, golf is the elite, etc.), which should coincide with the brand image. What associations do you have with crossbow shooting?

- Crossbows should be linked and associated with history (the handy stories in crossbow history) and nature (similar to golf). For me, Crossbow shooting is more attractive than golf, but golf makes better use of the story of connecting with nature. This association with nature could interest the sports industry as well as nature-related companies to invest in crossbow marketing. Today marketing is reduced to selling illusions (fine stories). Crossbow and its connection to nature can be a fine marketing story. Of course, with the fulfillment of some of the conditions I was talking about.

- To summarize, what are our chances to take a worthy place in the sports industry and become an exciting sport for sponsors?

- Crossbow shooting has a great chance of becoming a serious sport on a global scale. For this, a number of prerequisites I have spoken about must be fulfilled. IAU has to hire as many young managers as possible (those among active and former crossbow competitors) who know how to connect crossbows with the media, how to interest the sports industry for crossbows, how to attract marketing partners ...... The crossbow has to hire as many expert young managers as possible to help it become a respectable sport in world dimensions.